Yes, I was a “car crazy cutie'. Actually, not sure how cute I was, but I was car crazy. My daddy gave me a 1974 Mercury Capri. This is when they were made in Germany, before they were just stamped copies of the Ford Mustang. That little car could skit! But it started before then. It started in our yard on Cooks Road as a 7 year old girl, beside the hood of Daddy's baby blue F150 pickup. Daddy was setting the tappets (lifters) and he had me listening for him...for them to sound like a sewing machine.
I always loved the smell of gasoline, grease, oil. So, I had the Capri and Daddy was dead and gone. I read Motor Trend and Hot Rod Magazine faithfully. I changed my own oil. Changed my own sparkplugs. Cleaned my battery posts and did other maintenance on that little car.
I seriously thought (wanted) to go to mechanics school after high school. But I knew I didn't want to live in a big city. And I was pretty sure that in a small town, the young girl mechanic would be nothing more than a local joke. So, I tucked those dreams aside and tried going to SFA for accounting.
As as senior in high school I was working for my uncle's local Ford dealership. I had my eye on the new 79 Mustangs. While the turbo charged version was a joke in the magazines, the 302 5.0 with the four speed manual transmission was getting rave reviews. Mom and I approached Uncle Lenox and he let me order one at $200 over dealer cost. I paid FMCO $95.00 a month for three years for the privilege of driving and owning one of the best mustangs ever made.
Uncle Lenox had told mama he just hoped I didn't kill myself in it. That baby saved my life on numerous occasions! It had the most responsive steering system made that year. That awesome four speed could go up to 90mph in 3rd gear without sweating the red line OR you could shift down from 4th gear at 45-60 and the torch would stick you to the road no matter the rain or the water.
It was the highlight of my teens and twenties. It suffered a blow that bent the frame when bubba was a baby and he was crying and I was half sick. It stayed parked for years. Pete, bubba and the nephews drug it out of the woods and played with it here on the hill. Skippy's big foot finally threw a rod. It's still here, tucked back out of sight. Probably finally headed for scrap metal soon. But only Alzheimers can take those memories from me.
So, it's fitting I married an oil field hand who was so into mechanics and cars. That smelt of oil and grease and gasoline. Some of my happiest times with my man have been sitting outside with him as he breathed life into an engine. Handing him tools. (Because I actually know which one is which.) And sometimes surprising him with an idea or a diagnosis that is right on the money.
Don't tell me I'm the only girl/woman out there that has this passion? How do you feel about cars? Share your favorite “car” memory with me!