More Car stories

Did I mention that I supported a girl friend and a car through High School?  Man I loved that Chevy and those big front seats.  You could roll around on them....  Wait, I will clean this back up and ask you to forget what I just wrote.  No, I won't remove it because I get paid by the word.  

My girl friends car was a Renault Dauphine.  As much as we tried to wrestle in that car, it was almost impossible. You notice I didn't say totally impossible, just almost.  Somewhere in all this time, my parents had a Volvo 544.  It looked like a 47 ford in about 3/2rd scale.   I loved that car and thank god that dad was there to work on it.  Keeping those twin SU Carbs synchronized was a trip.  One of the biggest problems was that everyone drove it and few if anyone spent any time checking the fluid levels.  One of the simplest things was to make sure the oil dampers in the carb had oil.  It took about a tablespoon or 20 weight oil about once a month.   My dad just laughed each morning when Mom would go out to start that car and pump the linkage.  You could actually hear her working that linkage and it had no effect on how the car started.  On most American cars there was a built in pump to throw a little gas into the engine when you worked the linkage.  Not so much on the Volvo.  There was one kind of neat feature I liked also.  There was what looked like a roll up blind in front of the radiator.  You would pull that chain and raise it up.  As soon as the engine warmed up, you lowered it down.  In really cold weather you could pull it up a little way and it would let the heater keep the car toasty.  

Somewhere in my years between High School and the Army, my dad bought a Renault to try to rebuild.  It would go 46 miles per hour in third and 45 in 4th.  What a piece of crap that car was.  Someone had broken off the little stick that was on the steering wheel.  It controlled the lights, the horn and the turn signals. Dad went over to the Oklahoma Tire and Supply store and bought about 10 switches.  He put everything on little throw switches and somehow made it all work.  The problem was that it was pretty easy to honk the horn or turn off the lights instead of the turn signal.  Dad read in the paper that one of the car dealers had a deal where they would give you $200 for anything that rolled if you bought a used car from them.  I'm pretty sure that they offerefd to give Dad the money if  he wouldn't leave the car there.  Something about the tag transfer and insurance so we drove home a 1963 Volvo 4 door sedan.  That was a great car.   

After we brought that car home, I got drafted and for the better part of 6 months, I was at the Army's mercy for transportation.  It wasn't until about half way through Officer Candidate School that I got to bring the Volvo on Fort Sill.  The one thing they required of me was to put seat belts in the car.  Thankfully there was a foreign used car part salvage and I got the front belts for little of nothing.

When I was ready to go to Vietnam, Dad asked for the Volvo back and Barb and I bought an MG.  Never will I buy anything with a British electrical system in it.   Why doe the Brits drink warm beer?  They all have Lucas refrigerators.   

While I was in Vietnam, dad drove that Volvo to Arkansas about every weekend. The good thing about what fort Sill made me do is that it probably saved my dad's life.  He was driving to Arkansas one weekend and a car pulled out in front of him as he drove through one of those little towns in SE Kansas.  Dad had slowed down to about 50 but hitting a full sized car broadside just was more than that Volvo could bear

As you can see, it mashed the front end big time.

In spite of the damage to the front, you could open and close all the side doors.   Dad managed to tear the steering wheel off and broke his nose with his knee. The wreck also separated some ribs from his sternum and he spent a few days in a hospital.  The car stayed in a salvage and  I never saw it  again.




  1. Why do the Brits drink warm beer? They all have Lucas refrigerators.


    Excellent post, MUD!

    Man...don't get me started about cars with seats big enough to...well, don't get me started.

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