My First Car
1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 convertible
I can't believe I found this photo! Red on red with white top. Cool! Not the actual car, but amazing to find one exactly like it!
My first car was a 66 Chevelle SS 396 convertible that I paid around $300 in 1971, just before my 16th birthday. I made the money working at my uncle's Texaco station on Kendall Drive in South Miami (by K-land and Baptist Hospital). The guy I bought it from was a customer and he would hang around the station, shootin the breeze (ahh.. the pre- facebook era!). He got it from his pal, a salesman at the local Chevy dealer, who had just taken it as a trade-in.
There was another car that was slightly hopped-up and for sale, for a few less bucks. It was a blue VW bug. There was a contest between me and the other pump jockey to get the SS 396. Needless to say, I beat him out and got the car because I came up with the cash first.
At the time, I was also taking a vocational auto shop class at Southwest Miami High school, 3 periods a day for 11th and 12th grade. I learned a lot with that car, between shearing yokes (6k launches!), melted wheel bearings (while skipping class...) and just plain racing and breaking stuff. After a while, an opportunity came up and I traded it for 55 Chevy Bel Air (no post) powered by a Corvette 327 with double hump heads. That was my second car, a real tire smoker. Also, there was a '32 3 window coupe that I got from a guy at church for $600. He had a lot of hot rods, was an NHRA dragmaster and expecting his 5th kid so...
I was seriously going to be an auto mechanic for a living, but somehow wound up working 5 and 6 nights a week with a rock and roll band, playing the Fender Jazz bass. It was really steady work for years, and I was thinking, wow, I could make some real money to build out my cars, just like Jeff Beck. Alas, that didn't happen, but these cars, and others, left behind good memories of me and my friends hangin' out, racing and the occasional hot date in my cool car.
p.s. It's quite possible the car in the photo may have been mine. I haven't run the production numbers, but I can tell you I have NOT seen another since, and I've been a loyal subscriber to all the hot car mags and was a participant/spectator at hundreds of events, so... maybe!
"I miss my 66 Chevelle" song posted soon ;-)
Poppin' Wheelies Down Memory Lane
I am always amazed at the cars that my web design clients find to sell. Dennisbuyscars.com finds rare classic muscle cars and Chequered Flag in Marina Del Rey always have the the finest classic sports and performance cars.
Whenever I need a dose of "car cool", I'll stop by and see what these fine classic car dealers have in the showroom and on the lot. If you're in Los Angeles, pay these guys a visit. Who knows, you may come home with your "first car".
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