Remember your very first car? Join the club!
If you ever find yourself searching for a great conversation initiator, ask the person you wish to speak with about their first car. Chances are you’ll be swapping stories in no time! My first car was a 1961 Rambler. I was not the sole owner, as my brother John could claim at least half ownership—probably more. Although I bought the car, he paid the insurance.
We had searched all over Edmonton, eagerly looking for just the right one. Our favourite was a gleaming red sports car, but alas it was much beyond the $300 we had to spend. We settled on a black 1961 Rambler sedan that had lost most of its luster. By then, nine years old, it was showing some other signs of being “experienced,” but what could you expect for $300?
We did get our money’s worth and more, as the car had lots of character. We called it the Power Punch, because on one of the small windows there was a decal displaying those words. It really was a misnomer for the car because it didn’t have an abundance of either of those qualities, but naming a car helps give it character.
Other attributes added to its unique personality. For example, the seats would recline to an almost horizontal position. My brother and I, being the young goofballs we were, would come to stoplights and almost fully recline the seats, just to see what kind of reaction we would get from other people in their cars as we stared up at them.
Something else that gave it character was the vacuum wipers. To get them going, and keep them going, we would sometimes have to roll down our windows (in the rain, of course) and manually push the wipers up and down until they would get the right idea and start working on their own.
The car proved to be reliable transportation, taking us back and forth to many destinations and events. We actually drove it from Edmonton over the mountains to Victoria and back. We put about 20,000 kilometres on it before its end came, which was an adventure in itself. I was driving along a freeway in Edmonton at close to 100 kilometres an hour, when all of a sudden, the hood flew up. I was in the outside lane and although panicstricken, I managed to safely pull over to the extreme right and come to a stop. The damaged hood along with some other problems made it prohibitive to repair.
I have had many cars since that first one, but the Power Punch holds a special place in my memory bank of cars. n
Nicknamed the Power Punch by Gordon and his brother, John, the 1961 Rambler had a number of quirks that gave it real character.