Pictures From The Past

Two very faded and somewhat blurry photos of my first car, a 1967 Pontiac GTO. These were taken outside my college dorm in my second year.

As was the style for many muscle cars of the era, my GTO was set up with a “California Rake” where the rear was higher than the front. My father and I achieved that look with the use of very stiff rear springs that were taller than stock.

I didn’t know that I still had these photos although I certainly remember taking them. During one of the occasional attempts to “trim our holdings” by my wonderful wife and me, I unearthed these pictures. Many of the other 20 or so photos have almost completely faded even though they were in an envelope that was inside another envelope. (A shout-out to my wonderful wife who helped me scan these on my new printer.)

OK, now it’s time for a less than interesting story of the “pat yourself on the back” variety. The reason I wrote “in my second year” and not “my sophomore year” is that I entered college as, basically, a sophomore. If I had written “junior year” then the inference would have been it was my third year.

At that time the senior year of the high school curriculum from which I graduated was considered the equivalent of a freshman year in college by many universities within about a 100 mile radius from the high school ONLY if the student had graduated with very good grades. I graduated very high in my large class (~530) and was able to acquire an entire year of college credits without having to take any AP exams. (Maybe some other time I’ll write about the interesting meeting with the (inexperienced) transcript evaluator who had never heard of my high school or its special curriculum.)

While, of course, I am hardly an objective observer I still think the 1967 GTO is a beautiful car. Does anyone think I can find out what happened to the car by using the license plate?


P.S. Almost every day at least one person in the US is reading this blog very early in the morning, before 6 AM Eastern/3 AM Pacific. I would very much appreciate if that person(s) would tell others about the blog and pass on the URL. ( In general, I would be grateful if everyone who reads this blog on a regular or semi-regular basis, even if they know me personally, would spread the word and the blog URL. Thanks. It would also be great if you would sign up to follow the blog; you don’t even have to have a WordPress account. You can sign up with your email address.

The Ones That Got Away

In my previous blog I posted about the cars that had gotten away. That post was inspired by a similar one in Automobile Magazine.

See the source image

From a picture of a 1967 Pontiac GTO in an admittedly non-standard color. My first car was a 1967 GTO, purchased for me by my father for the very large sum of $300. Granted, this was more than 40 years ago, but that wasn’t a lot of money even then.

My GTO had the standard engine, a 400 cubic-inch V-8 rated at 335 HP and 441 LB-FT of torque. It had a Turbo Hydra-Matic 400 automatic transmission with the Hurst “His and Hers” shift on the floor. We fitted the car with large radials (so large, in fact, that the front tires scraped the wheel wells on sharp turns) and stiffer springs in order to improve the handling, but it was never going to be a great-handling car.

My car was originally light blue with a black top, but after an accident two weeks before I was supposed to leave for college, the car was re-painted (in a repair bay in my father’s gas station) dark blue all over. As part of the restoration we purchased “mag” wheels that looked like Cragars, but didn’t cost as much.

The right exhaust manifold had been broken in the accident so we decided to add exhaust headers. I loved that car; in an incident emblematic of the many “unfortunate” things that have happened to me, the car was rear-ended one night while I was returning home from my summer job. The woman who hit me claimed that her brakes failed, but I am 100% positive she just wasn’t paying attention. (Another time the GTO was hit while parked near my house, just sayin’.)

After fighting with the insurance company over the settlement, they gave us a decent amount of money and they let us keep the car, which we then sold as is. Many people miss their first car, but I really miss my first car.

2007 Vette

This is a picture of my 2007 Corvette. I bought it new to “replace” the 2002 Corvette I had purchased used in 2004. When I decided to take the Corvette plunge, I thought I would buy a used one in the event I didn’t like it I wouldn’t have spent the money for a new one. The fact that I purchased a new one should tell you what I thought of the 2002.

In cold black and white, no comparison exists between the 2007 Corvette and the 1967 GTO. The Corvette was powered by a 364 cubic-inch V-8 that produced 400 HP and 400 LB-FT of torque. It weighed about 3,200 pounds compared to the GTO weight of about 3,600 pounds.

The Corvette had power disc brakes with ABS; the GTO had undersized drum brakes without ABS, of course. The Vette had navigation, modern suspension, modern steering and a modern automatic transmission. I managed about 20 MPG with the Corvette and about 12 MPG with the GTO, although I almost never paid for gas with the Goat as, once again, my father ran a gas station.

Not to brag, but the 2007 Corvette was not a financial stretch at all. I traded in my 2002 Vette and simply paid cash for the difference. My baseball business was doing very well at the time. A little more than three years later I lost my business and sold the car in a panic as I thought I needed to raise cash.

Although I have a nice car now and my wonderful wife has a 2015 Corvette that I can drive when I want, I miss my 2007 Corvette. I think I miss what it represents, a time when I was very satisfied with my career, as much as I miss the actual car.

Don’t take anything (or anyone) for granted as fate can often be a cruel mistress.

My first car

I don’t know what possessed me to write about this today, but below is a picture that represents my first car. I think I have some actual pictures somewhere and maybe someday I’ll find them and post them.

See the source image

From a picture of a 1967 Pontiac GTO. My car didn’t have the stock Pontiac wheels, but it had “mag” wheels with raised-letter tires and it was painted blue. My father paid $300 for the car and then proceeded to rebuild the top end of the engine: new valves, rocker arms, lifters, timing gear and chain. It had the “base” 400 cubic inch V8 rated at 335 HP. We put 60-series radial tires in the back and 70-series in the front. The change to radial tires helped the handling significantly, as did putting on more rigid springs, but it was a 1960’s muscle car and handling was never going to be its forte.

After a serious accident, the car was out of commission for five months being rebuilt and repainted and since the accident had broken the right exhaust manifold we decided to put exhaust headers on the engine. A year and a half later someone smashed into the back of the car as I was sitting a red light while driving home from my summer job. That, basically, was the end of the car.

I think many people miss their first car and, as you can imagine, I REALLY miss mine.