My mom drove a 1977 sky blue Pinto. The dents and scratches gave it the unfortunate shape of a worn out June Bug. Since the car had no air conditioning and we live in Houston, all four windows had to be down if we were to tolerate a drive. And heaven forbid we had to drive on a rainy day! The car ran for 20 years which meant my brother and I had to ride laying down in the backseat until high school.
Despite being present during some important milestones in my childhood, that awful car was not the most memorable car of my childhood. That honor goes to my grandfather’s 1976 wood paneled Ford Country Squire station wagon. This was the first time I had seen a car with anything other than a metal finish, which was fascinating to me at the time. The steering wheel was a molten metal ring and there was this special smell of dog, exhaust, and plasticizers breaking down in the upholstery. We had to put towels on the seats to keep your skin from sticking and if we were careful, all of us smaller grandkids could squash ourselves inside.
We used to visit the farm every other weekend. Seeing Grandpa walking to the car meant a trip to town with him, Granny, my brother, and my mom. There were only a few stores in town and they were not as big as the ones in Houston, but it did not matter. All that was important was that we were together, kicking up Sunday dust along those old gravel roads.
Although there’s been so many more cars in my life, all admittedly cooler than the station wagon, Grandpa’s car remains the most memorable.
Which car from your childhood stands out the most?
Mac, the boxer, ready for a ride.