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What Were Youre Neighbors Driving?


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I read a blip in the not mine cars 4 sale that got me thinking.. What were the cars in your 'hood when you were a kid.

I was born in '64, my roaming the neighborhood days were early 1970's. It was a middle class street, a couple of auto workers, power company guy, teacher, and a few to this day I have no idea what they did. 

Dad had Pontiacs, usually a wagon since he had 5 kids. There was a big Chrysler (300?)2 door, dodge dart, Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Skylark, Buick station wagon, Nova, Chevy Luv, Dodge truck, my aunt drove a Buick electra and we had one 'old timer' that had a 54 Chevy. All of the other cars mentioned were contemporary for the time.

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Grest post idea.  I am of the same vintage as Kerry, well late 63 so close enough.  We had a lot of full sized ford wagons, and some chevy Kingswoods that moms trucked us around in.  No minivan or SUV then.  I had pals down the street whose father was a car guy, collecting slab side Lincolns and a Continental Mark II as early as the mid 70s.  He was king of the hill one year, 74 or 75, buying a new silver Mark IV.  We had a lot of few year old cars also, 69, 70 Caddys seemed common enough.  One adult in the neighborhood had a 66 chevelle ss with stripes, a cool car.  Little or no foreign stuff as I recall.

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When I was just a little kid, Bill Chilcote next door had an orange 1970-ish Corvette that was pretty cool to my young eyes. I got a ride in it once but I don't remember much. I was probably only 4 or 5 years old.

 

There was a 1970-ish GTO across the street at some point, but I never knew the owner or saw much of the car. I only recall that it had four exhaust tips and I thought that was the coolest thing ever.

 

Then there was Mrs. Weston across the street who drove a triple black Mercedes-Benz 450SL convertible. My mom always envied that car so I bought her a 450SL a few years ago as a birthday present. Sadly, at just over 5-feet tall, my frail little mom couldn't really see over the steering wheel and found it very uncomfortable to drive, so we sold it. So much for dreams coming true, eh?

 

Everyone else on the street drove lame stuff that I don't even remember.

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Def nothing exotic in my area. My grandmother that lived one street over always drove a new Cadillac Brougham and my grandfather had LTD wagon for his work car. Dads work car was a 64 ford wagon, company car (hand me down from my grandfather).  My best friends older brother bought a new Nova, red white and blue edition. I remembered it as a bicentennial car, but I think they were actually a bit earlier, maybe 75?

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The only notable ones I remember was a Henry J a school teacher drove that lived not far from us.Another lady drove a huge Mercury,'60-'64 maybe;our next door neighbor drove an early '50s Studebaker 1/2 ton p/u and he had two more for parts.That truck was solid rust,not a speck of paint on it,but it ran well.

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When I was a little kid in the late fifties a teenager across the street drove a modified 1950 Chevrolet 2 door fastback. It was blue and white with fender skirts and white rubber mud flaps with glass jewels. It caught my attention because it had no muffler or maybe a "hollywood" muffler, you could hear it roar as he drove down the street.

Next door in the driveway for a while was a non running 1936 Chev sedan we kids used to play in. Later on my dad bought a Triumph Mayflower that looked like a dwarf Rolls Royce. It ended up broken down, used as a back yard play house before it got hauled off for scrap.

My aunt Dorel had a butterscotch 1956 Pontiac station wagon. She used to take us to the beach and on picnics.

A neighbor bought a new black Plymouth Fury hardtop in 1959, that caused a bit of a sensation. The rest of the neighbors ran to used Ford sedans. My mom's best friends ran a black 1949 Ford sedan, until they replaced it with a black 1962 Falcon sedan, which was replaced by a green 1968 Falcon sedan. The only thing unusual was that he bought them all new. I'm surprised his wife allowed him to buy new cars, she was about the tightest person with a buck I ever saw.

 

 

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About 1963 in the suburbs of Detroit my across the street neighbor was an air force vet who flew for GM and he drove a 61 Maroon Corvette. Most every year on his birthday he would buzz his house (and ours) with a P 51 Mustang or the company Convair. Different times. The builder next to him, also a decorated veteran, always drove Cadillac convertibles.

The neighbor next to him had several vintage Cadillacs along with the usual. Most everyone worked or supplied the booming car industry.

 

Dave

Edited by Dave39MD (see edit history)
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Circa 1967 ,the folks across the street ,  Mr. Cretella ,was running a 1953 Buick Roadmaster up to 1969/70.

 

 

The next door( up )from our house , the wife, Mrs,Erwin's car was a 55/56 Ford Crestliner/Sunliner ,2 tone white-red with tinted glass over the front roof and lots of stainless trim.

Ran it till  1972ish.

 

 

2 houses up, Lou and Marilyn Astorino's (surrogate uncle and aunt) second and better car was a 1965/66 Cream White Ford Thunderbird.

I recall installing a new master cylinder in it with a buddy in 1980.

The swing away steering post was a trip.

 

2 houses down,my best friend from 4 to 25 years old ,Freddy, his mom ,"Dot",drove a 1939 Chevrolet 4 door till 1968.

(Dotty, could cook hambergers till there was not one registerable amount of fat or mosture left!)

They were Jewish..LOL.

 

Across the steet and down  several houses (i forget the families name) Mr.what's his name, ran 1953 Pontiacs from my first memories well into the early 90's.

 

He had 3 of the them and rotated them with the same license plates.All 2 doors and 2 tones .One green/white,one blue/white,one pinkish and white.

 

4 Houses down and across the street ,the Sweeney's has a jet black 1964 Ford Falcon 4 door till the late 70's

At about 11 ,I was playing with my dad's golf clubs in the back yard late one

summer morning .Judy Sweeney came over to play with me.At one point she was behind me when I was swinging the club back and I didn't see her(she moved) and I clocked her in the side of her head with some # iron?.

It was a major summer event!

 

The" Parents" across the street and 3 houses up and the largest house in the hood,had 6 kids and a huge in ground pool and cabana house.

 

Mr.Parent (a nice, huge and robust in the mid section ,jolly man and every kids dad) drove  one of those big long 62-66 era Lincoln convertables in blue to about 1973.

Andria Parent..was my age and we had this faux love hate thing going on from 6 years old till our later teens.It was a big game we played of brawls , insults and patch ups and we poured it on for the teachers and our parents to our wonderfull enjoyment.

Adults can be pretty dumb!👹

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

Then there was Mrs. Weston across the street who drove a triple black Mercedes-Benz 450SL convertible. My mom always envied that car so I bought her a 450SL a few years ago as a birthday present. Sadly, at just over 5-feet tall, my frail little mom couldn't really see over the steering wheel and found it very uncomfortable to drive, so we sold it. So much for dreams coming true, eh?

 

That's a reality check. For decades, I wanted to get my father a Morgan, because he always talked about them. Then, I actually thought about it … the realities had nothing to do with the expense.

By the way, Matt, you are a good person for even attempting.

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Long list of cars since I was a car nut at a very young age but three that stand out, off the top of my head. Neigbor (close family friend) across the alley was very fussy about his cars and had his garage plumbed with hot and cold water with a drain in the floor and washed his 1959 Ford every time he got home. It was as nice as the day he bought it when he traded it in. Another neighbor and a 1949 Crosley Sedan he drove to work, which I added to my stable of Crosleys for a short time till my Mother though owning 6 cars when I was only 18 and getting ready to go off to college. Was down to two when I left. I later sold him my 62 Metropolitan to him for a go to work car when I upgraded to a 66 Mustang. Another memorable one was a 1959 Buick owned my a volunteer fireman, between the other two neighbors. His was memorable because he didn't think there was anything wrong with letting his son and I ride along when the siren went off. I remember looking over the seat and seeing the speedometer nudging 100mph on one call.

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When I was 12 or 13, 1958 & 59, in Princeton NJ my father had a black 1947 Cadillac Conv. that

I simonized.  The neighbor said "i'm next".   A great gig for me to make $10.00 and get to drive his 

yellow & black 1955 Sunliner Conv.   Then a white 1957 Oldsmobile 2DHTP down the street who also

had a 1949 Ford Conv.  I was the go to kid for a Simonize job.  

I remember an old lady driving past in a real nice Model A Coupe, but that and a 1950 XK 150 Jaguar

are two that I never got to Simonize. 

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Seems like most everyone had one of the big three in the sixties, with an occasional Jeepster or Studebaker.  Exceptions were one neighbor who had a Fiat (a 600 I think) and the Avon lady who drove a beat up Volvo 544.  Somebody down the road had a Morris Minor.  My brothers and I in our early teens thought those cars to be very unusual.

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We lived in a rural area, on a main highway. Our only neighbours were three generations who lived in two houses. Old Aub Scarce drove a dark blue model A Ford, which he had bought new. I scored a ride to town in it once, which was memorable. His son bought an FE or FC Holden, but sadly was T boned and killed trying to get out of his driveway. So Aub drove the grand kids to school in the model A every day, and was still driving it in the early 1970's.

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  I also grew up in a rural community. I was born in '63 so the earliest I remember taking an interest in cars was about the time I entered grade school in '69. Dad bought a new '68 Chevy Nova the year prior to replace the '64 Malibu we had previously. In '73 Dad bought a new Chevelle Malibu station wagon that we took across country on a family vacation to California. It was the first V8 we had ever owned (Dad loved Chevy sixes) and the first car we had with A/C. The salesman talked him into the 350 since we planned to pull a small camper.

  Our neighbor across the street had a mid sixties Pontiac Catalina and an Advance Design Chevy pickup. Their son had a '68 Vette. Our neighbor up the road had a '57 Chevy Nomad. 

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I remember, as a 12year old, that my neighbor across the back alley got a new, black 1956 Continental.  They came in cloth bags and had a special engraved plaque on the dash with the owner's name.  I drooled over that car, would still like to have one.

 

The father of one of my buddies had a Cisitalia roadster.  I hardly knew what it was, too weird in the 1950s.

 

On my newspaper delivery route, there was a woman who owned an original 1935 Ford convertible.  She wouldn't sell it, still had it when I moved on.

 

As I got into college, a girl I knew lived in a very nice area.  Her father had a 1930's Isotta Fraschini.   What a huge, grand car it was!  I never got a ride in it though I wanted one.  I think he was Grover Cleveland's grandson, and she was called Grover by all of her friends.

 

One day in 1958, I rode my bike down our street, noticed a very short, compact car.  It was a 1959 Studebaker Lark, the first I had seen.  They don't look so strange anymore.

 

My parents were driving a 1955 Plymouth Plaza V-8 station wagon that I learned to drive on.  It had the shift lever in the dash. 

 

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Me, my sister, and my brother with the 1955 Plymouth wagon.

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Let's see, what was up and down the dirt road we lived on in the seventies? Dad had owned a '66 Impala SS with a built 396/4 spd. that he drag raced. He pledged that if he lost a race he'd trade it in; the next owner totaled it within a week. Dad, growing up, traded into a '68 C-10 with a six. When I came along he'd traded into a new '72 El Camino, butternut yellow with a black vinyl top. Mom had a white Torino that Dad painted baby blue as a surprise; the joke was on him as she hated that color. He noticed that they didn't hold up well in bad wrecks so he jumped at a deal to buy a nearly new '73 Grand Marquis Brougham, probably the best family car we owned. It was burnt orange but he couldn't help himself and eventually painted it white. Later there would be a mid-70s Country Squire and a Ford Courier in the driveway, along with a '66 Impala SS convertible that looked nice but Dad would never drive because the transmission was on its last legs.

 

My grandfather, just down the road, had a 67 or so C-10 stepside with a six/3 spd. Fond memories of me standing on the seat between him and my father as they drove around. Later he traded up to another six/3 spd Chevy, c.1976. After my grandmother died he remarried; she had a '72 Impala 2dr that was as pretty as you've seen. When she likewise passed away he didn't want to fool around getting a title so sold it for scrap.

 

The neighbors to the south tended to have an eclectic mix, ranging from a 70s Chevy van to a 70s Wagoneer, an IH pickup and a '66 F-100 4wd. The plumber across the street had a fleet of late model Chevy trucks and always a late model Monte Carlo. When the kids got their licenses the oldest nearly ran me over in his primer-red Camaro; the girl had a Mustang II as I recall.

 

There was an old man up the road with a mint green Hornet. One day he failed at making a U-turn and backed into the deep ditch in our front yard. Fun to watch. The farmer on the other side of us had an F-100 identical to the one Uncle Jess drove on the Dukes of Hazzard. There was a guy down at the end of the road who died before I got to know him; he had 3 2-door garages, all full of something special but I don't know what! I only remember his first generation Bronco. An older lady had a 75ish Impala; another old farmer had a 69 Delta 88 that was his pride and joy, but so rusted out when he died that the family junked it. My aunt around the bend had a Monte Carlo while my uncle had an El Camino. 

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Starting in my own backyard, my dad's car was a Viking Blue 1962 Falcon station wagon company car, while my mom owned a 1950 Studebaker Champion four door sedan.  Next cookie-cutter over was a brand new '63 Chevrolet Biscayne wagon, refrigerator white with blackwall tires.  The car on the other side of us was a ho-hum 1954 yellow Ford Mainline 2-door sedan.  The nicest car on my block in 1963 was a brand new Regal Red G.T. Hawk.  I just loved those red/white/blue emblems on both doors, the grille and on top of the trunklid.

 

Those are my first recollections.  I will add more as I moved a few times between 1963 and 1967.

 

Craig

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My neighbors usually drove me to school as a kid, and they had a 1966 VW Beetle.  Sometime around 1982 it was replaced by a BMW 528e, which seemed like an impossibly expensive high-end car.  

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A lot of 70s and 80s cars. My next door neighbor had a Monte Carlo and replaced it with a Lumina. Other side neighbor drove a big black 70s Chevrolet pickup when not on a Harley. I remember there was an AMC Eagle that I don't think lived in my neighborhood because it wasn't common to see, but must have been friends or family because I saw it at least 8 or 9 times. I'll see if I can dig up some pictures. 

 

I don't really remember because at that time I was stupid and didn't think anything after 1972 mattered. 

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Great topic idea, thanks !  When I was born and until 5 years old, my aunt had a 51 Buick and her hubby had a 49 or 50 Chevy, and my Grandad had a 48 fastback (Styleline ?) Chevy, then a 54 Chevy. My parents: nothing, but I had a Champ pedal car and a Railway Express tractor trailer I could ride on. We moved 36 miles away and my folks finally got their 1st car, a 48 Studebaker...well used.  The only two neighbor homes, nothing.  We then moved into "The Projects" got a 50 or 51 Studebaker (my dad was the Parts Dept. manager at a Stude dealer), and one neighbor lady had a new looking 55 Plymouth 4 door black and white sedan. Other neighbors ?  No idea, but lots of cheap or run-down Fords and Chevys parked on the street.  Moved again, no close neighbors, just still had our 50 or 51 Stude.  Moved again, got a 55 Studebaker Champion 4 door, the neighbors in the trailer court that surrounded our house had the following:  a 58 VW, a 59 DeSoto, a 57 Dodge, a 64 Plymouth, a 62 Fairlane, a 64 Galaxie, a 55 Chevy, a 64 Fairlane, a "mid 60s" Corvette, a huge Ford flatbed truck with a welder and other equipment, a  Triumph motorcycle, a Renault Dauphine we pushed around a lot, a 50 DeSoto, a Sunbeam Alpine convertible, an MGB with the twin cam engine (lasted him about  2 weeks and he also got an old Triumph bike) and a 63, 64, or 65 Riviera.  There was also a black 49 to 52 Chevy that set out in front of our house a lot, but we never did see who owned it, ha !  Also, the 55 Stude got traded for a 60 Lark, then a 63 Bel Air wagon, and I had my 1st three cars there...all in a 2 1/2 month span, (escorting wide loads at the 60s speed limits was death on my two Chevys, but dad's 63 was great!) a 56 Chevy wagon, then a 64 Bel Air 2 door post, then my dearly loved 63 1/2 Falcon Futura with a 260 4 speed !!!  Too much moving, too many neighbors after that place ! Fun memories, thanks again TAKerry !!!

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My first exposure to old cars was one of the Flynn kids up the street, at age 8 or 9.  He had what I now know was a 48 or 49 Cadillac, black, it looked like new.  So different from the sea of 60s, very early 70s sedans and wagons on the street.  No one was allowed to mess around with it or near it.  I was allowed to go hang around a little when they let me.  Those guys were real hippies, long hair, guitars and cool cars.  Like no one in our house in the early 70s. 😁

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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We didn't move around much, from the age of two to after high school, only two places. 

I was born in 1952, and as I have said before, I was a strange kid. I have clear memories going way back, and was interested in antique automobiles (and old stuff!) as far back as I can remember.

Since the subject is neighbor's cars, I won't go much into family's cars, except to mention my grandparent's 1952 Cadillac. And I remember a lot of antique automobiles I saw various places when I was fairly little, but won't go into those much either. I never did pay much attention to 'modern' cars in the neighborhood, not even when our next-door neighbor in the mid to late 1960s was a salesman for the local Dodge dealer and often drove home in Chargers and other performance and muscle cars (he loved showing them off to the whole neighborhood).

In the second place, where we lived from about 1960 until the early '70s, there were a few antique automobile hobbyists. One fellow had a 1927 Franklin touring car, very nice, and an even nicer 1915 model T touring car. He had a substantial three car carport alongside the house, with a garage behind it. Most of the time, one car or the other would be parked in the carport, where it could be seen. The other would be hidden back in the garage. I would ride by on my bicycle and sometimes talk with a member of the family. They were not very friendly. Another fellow two blocks farther over was trying to restore his 1930 model A Ford cabriolet. After his wife died of a mostly forgotten flu pandemic, he sold the project and bought a nice model A fordor sedan so he could spend more time with his young children. He was very nice, like most hobbyists I have known over the years.

About two blocks South of there (still about five blocks from my home), was a 1927 Hupmobile four door sedan. A father and son, father's house, son's car. The Hupmobile was very original, and very nice, yet it sat outside for years, with a for sale sign in the window. For several years, the price on the car was $400. I was too young, couldn't afford it, but rode my bicycle by the car often. As I got a bit older, and made a few dollars on various little jobs, I began to get interested. Then one day, I rode my bicycle by the car, and the price was $800. I saw the father out, so I asked about it. He told me that his son had been trying to sell the car for several years, and needed some money. So 'dad' bought it and doubled the price! In those days, it didn't sell for $400, and much better cars could be had for the $800. I have no idea whatever became of it.

 

In the earlier neighborhood, in my younger days, there didn't seem to be many real antique cars in that area. Oh, there was a mid 1930s bustle-back trunk sedan parked in a driveway across the street. I never saw it move. A couple houses down from it was an earlier 1930s sedan, I don't think it ran either, but it disappeared when I was still quite young. There was a 'junk man' that drove around a lot, no idea where he lived. He drove a model T pickup. I saw it often, and even watched him crank it several times! One day, I was about four, he picked up some scrap from a neighbor. He was parked right in front of our house. I stood at the living room window and watched as he cranked it to start it.

Even at that age, I was mostly interested in really old cars! But one car became an exception. Right next door. The neighborhood was somewhat eclectic, with some very nice modest homes, intermixed with others that were old nearly mansions. On one side of our rented old house, was one of those near mansions, hiding behind tall thick hedges. My mother told me often to stay away from that place. Don't talk to them, etc. But, sometimes, I would hide inside the hedge between our house and theirs, and just look. I would also see the lady drive her car in and/or out of their circular driveway. I can remember the car from when I was two, and they kept it for a few years. It was a Studebaker, probably about a 1950 to '52, a bullet-nose convertible, bright red!

At my very young age, that Studebaker and my grandparent's Cadillac are the only 'modern' cars I can remember being impressed by.

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Most interesting stuff around us growing up was HSV clubsports and things like FPV utes with the odd Monaro thrown in.

 

Last 10 years the types of cars around here has changed very significantly - a lot more euro’s, M cars, AMG, RS are very common around here. Italian exotics you see every couple of days as well.
 

Mustangs were popular when they were reintroduced but demand has dropped off. Not much American around these days with the exception of Tesla’s

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3 hours ago, Billy Kingsley said:

I don't really remember because at that time I was stupid and didn't think anything after 1972 mattered. 

It's still the same; there's not much after 1972 that matters, up until around 1982 or so.  With few exceptions, nearly anything produced in those ten years is considered 'throwaway'.  Even lately, I've seen a few low-mileage later seventies cars purchased by someone only to get 'used up' as daily driver, summer and winter, with no element of collectability.

 

Craig

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The ones I remember well, were a 68 biscayne 6 cylinder that the neighbor would rev up and down many times after starting it. You always knew it was his by listening.

Across the street a 73 buick 4 door and a few vw bugs. Next door had a olds cutlass about a 71. The one I really remember admiring was a 66 coronet 4 door, that was garaged kept by an older widowed lady. She truly was a take it out once a week go to church person. She drove that car probably for 25-30 years before she passed, and it always looked new. I wish I had the sense then to try to buy it....

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Great thread! On our street we had a 56 Nomad for the family car, down the street a 48 Anglia for work transportation to the steel mill, BMW Isetta, around the corner was a 61 Impala Super Sport and a couple of streets over was a 289 Cobra. 

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In late '63, I moved to a different city, in a house in a typical suburban neighborhood, with late 1950's houses, all with Pierson 'Sashless' windows of frameless sliding glass.  By then, my dad 'graduated' to a full size 1964 Plymouth station wagon, with a 'running light', a popular accessory at the time.  My mom still had her Studebaker.  The house to the north of me was a two-car family.  Mr G. drove a 1962 Rambler Classic station wagon when we first moved in, but in the fall of 1964, he traded it in on a brand new 1965 Ambassador 990 wagon.  Mrs. G. drove a 1953 VW convertible, where even the semaphore turn indicators still worked.  To the south, Mr. McC. drove a 1962 Chrysler Newport four door sedan.  Despite being only two years old, I recall the metallic red paint was already starting to fade on the hood and trunklid.  Across the street was a crescent, the house on the south owned a very nice silver 1958 Impala two door hardtop, with baby moons.  Across from him was a 1959 Plymouth station wagon that pulled a travel trailer, complete fridge & stove; well equipped for its day.  Other cars in the neighborhood were a 1949 Ford, 1963 Pontiac Acadian four door, 1955 Plymouth Plaza sedan, 1963 Mercury Meteor.  It was probably the first time I also got to see how effective a Corvair Rampside truck was for a lawn mowing business.  I was rather impressed how he was able to lower the side 'gate' and immediately drive down the ramp and start cutting the neighbor's lawn; and no curb to hop with the mower!!  

 

I will have another installment with yet another move I made at a young age with neighbors' cars I recall from 1965-67.    As far as neighbors who owned antique vehicles back then, I will have a separate post for that.

 

Craig

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 With all the responses above, I am starting to feel old. My father drove a 38 Buick and our neighbor had a 24? 4 door open top car that they regularly drove to Florida. It had the attachments on the running boards for luggage.

 That must have been quite a trip!

 On the street, a painter had a 30's open side pickup with a roof over the bed with side curtains. The mason across the street had a similar one.

 Later there was a 3 door Henry J  down the street.

 My first car was a 39 Dodge that I paid $35 for.

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Born in 1953, I lived in a lower middle-class neighborhood.  Some of the cars I recall on the streets around my home:

 

1960 Oldsmobile 88 sedan

1952 Chevrolet sedan

1952 Cadillac sedan

1953 Plymouth sedan

Early ‘50s Rambler Convertible

1956 Buick sedan

1950 Olds fastback

1960 Chevy hardtop

 

Upon my arrival to this world, my folks had a ’48 Ford convertible and a ’49 Plymouth Suburban.  Across the street where my grandparents lived, my twin uncles – still living at home – had a ’36 Ford Sedan and a ’36 Ford Std 5W coupe.  In their garage up on blocks was a ’51 Mercury Monterey.  Directly outside the garage was a creamy yellowish ’46 Plymouth convertible, and a ’51 Studebaker pickup.  The pickup didn’t stick around long – it was replaced by a ’52 Chrysler Saratoga station wagon that became the vehicle to haul my uncle’s equipment for his dance band.  My grandparents had a ’53 Olds 88 sedan.

 

A guy up the street drove one of the most ragged-looking early Rambler convertibles that I can ever remember seeing.  My parents lived on the corner of a through city street and a small one-lane alleyway, which was used as a short-cut – it was pretty busy for a street so small.  I recall that guy with the Rambler left the top down almost all of the time.  Painted black, it was pretty beat up, and whatever was left of the muffler wasn’t helping much.  This was the model where the window frames remained upright when the top was down.  The car looked dirty inside & out, and there was a lot of stuffing exposed through the upholstery.  The driver was almost always friendly & smiling, waving as he went by in this loud, snorting rattletrap.

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Boy, you've brought back some memories. The more I think the more I remember.

 

Chula Vista, CA. A suburb south of San Diego. 

 

The first car I ever learned to drive was my Dad's '54 Ford 2-door.  6 cylinder automatic. Painted frost green by Earl Schieb.

 

The next-door neighbors to the North had a '66 Thunderbird 2-door. Nice car. The husband drove a '66 Austin Healey Sprite.

 

The neighbor's son to the South had a red '30 Model A 5-window coupe. Slightly hot-rodded.

 

Further down was a mid-20s Chandler touring. Wan't into cars so didn't pay much attention it.

 

I used to walk to the bus stop about 2 blocks away. One of the houses nearby had an Alfa Romeo 2600 convertible and a Daimler SP250. When I was buying my first car I asked him for advice; he told me to stay away from Alfas.

 

I'll always remember waiting at the bus stop and seeing a circa '64 white Porsche roadster pass by every day. Never knew who the driver was, but he always turned the corner at our bus stop a little too fast, sliding the car about one foot as he turned the corner. In beautiful southern California, he never put the top down. I loved seeing that car go by every day.

 

My best friend, Tom Chaney, introduced me to old cars. His family was strictly Chevy. Owned nothing else. They had an unrestored 490; one brother owned a '54 Corvette, the other had a black, 4-speed 409.

 

 

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Growing up in the 1950s here on Western long island the "rides" at our house were a 1949 Pontiac deluxe station wagon, 1960 Plymouth Fury III station wagon , and a 1969 Dodge Charger with a 318. My grandparents who lived next door had a 1948 Oldsmobile 98 black 4 door sedan loaded with every possible accessory ( had to buy it that way as in the post war years when new cars were scarce the dealerships could load up a car with extra cost accessories and you took it or left it if you needed a new car)  I should have saved that Olds but in 1964 when I bought my first old car it was only 16 years old and people were still driving that era of car every day!

Neighborhood cars were a fellow who was a local liquor store owner and real estate broker who had a new Buick Roadmaster every few years starting with a 1954 - all white with a black painted roof. 2nd grade teacher in the elementary school Mrs. Percivil and her husband had a dark blue  1950 Cadillac Fleetwood sedan. a few blocks away was a Henry J with a crunched up left front fender. Our elementary school Principal had a brand new 1958 Chevy Impala 4 door sedan and he lived about 5 blocks away. My art teacher always had Chevy Impala deluxe station wagons as he had a large family and lived both on long island and then would drive each summer to go back to his home state of Vermont. The local police force had mostly black and white Plymouth 4 door sedans with no accessories except a possible heater!  At the end of my lock a fellow and his wife who had no kids had a two tone 1956 Packard sedan. The local village plumber Joe Reidman had a ca. 1935 Diamond T 3/4 ton pick up truck that was loaded with accessories and had an amazing art deco steel after market grille guard. It was always garaged and that was another vehicle that I should have bought and found a place to keep .

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I only remember a few from my early days (up to 1987 in suburban Lexington, KY when we moved out to the country and didn't have neighbors).  My best friend's dad was a Mercedes guy and drove a brown early 80's Mercedes sedan forever.  

 

There was a 1980's Ford truck at one house that seemingly never moved.

 

I also recall one friend's parents having a couple 1980ish Cadillacs.  They were much older than the rest of the people on the street.  Her mom and dad adopted her when they were in their late 60's.

 

I was so consumed with my father's cool projects (1961 Vette, 1973 Vette, 1978 Vette) and big lifted Chevy trucks and Blazers that I didn't really pay attention to the daily drivers around the neighborhood. 

 

  

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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12 hours ago, Gary_Ash said:

I remember, as a 12year old, that my neighbor across the back alley got a new, black 1956 Continental.  They came in cloth bags and had a special engraved plaque on the dash with the owner's name.  I drooled over that car, would still like to have one.

 

The father of one of my buddies had a Cisitalia roadster.  I hardly knew what it was, too weird in the 1950s.

 

On my newspaper delivery route, there was a woman who owned an original 1935 Ford convertible.  She wouldn't sell it, still had it when I moved on.

 

As I got into college, a girl I knew lived in a very nice area.  Her father had a 1930's Isotta Fraschini.   What a huge, grand car it was!  I never got a ride in it though I wanted one.  I think he was Grover Cleveland's grandson, and she was called Grover by all of her friends.

 

One day in 1958, I rode my bike down our street, noticed a very short, compact car.  It was a 1959 Studebaker Lark, the first I had seen.  They don't look so strange anymore.

 

My parents were driving a 1955 Plymouth Plaza V-8 station wagon that I learned to drive on.  It had the shift lever in the dash. 

 

val_gary_dale_55plym_3.jpg.b3df1551c8e47bb24253e65158a6972c.jpg 

Me, my sister, and my brother with the 1955 Plymouth wagon.

  The 1955 Plymouth Station wagon was the first car I rode in at 100 MPH on US 1., outside Princeton NJ.

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Thinking back to the late 1950s early 1960s in my Monongahela neighborhood. Mr. Bovey next door had a 60 Rambler. Other side neighbor the Prince's had a two tone green 58 Chevy. Their son had a 47 or 48 Ford stored in our garage. When he moved from home we now had the use of the other half of the small double block garage. At the time my father had a 1953 Chrysler New Yorker with Georgie Prince's Ford on the other side. A tight fit with the double wooden doors and center hinge post. At the time we had only one car. After the Ford left my father bought a 1948 Olds 2dr work car to occupy the vacated space.

 img20200430_14241438.jpg.5efef186aa127d1c8e2dbbcdc5350c87.jpg 

My first vehicle. A project 1937 International in that space 11 years in the future.

Neighbor across the street the Badzilla's had a black 1956 Chrysler. The maiden teacher lady next property over had a 1957 chevy 210 4dr (Lavender). My friend down the block Mike Smith's grandfather had a 1948 Dodge that he sat in every day, nearly all day. Only coming in for meals. Year round! We thought it quite strange. A bit further down 6th street Mr. Simonds Had a 1950 or so Nash Woodie wagon. I had never seen another. Another friend up the hill Buddy Hershey's father had early 50s Kaisers and a Harley. They had the largest lot in the neighborhood. There were always several "parts" Kaisers in the side yard in which Buddy and I drove many imaginary miles in. Across from that property Father Fadorcheck of St Mary's Church had a 1957 Buick, black of course. Across from the church Mr. Baer had a gray 1946 Plymoth coupe. The retired druggest Mr. Korn Had a 1947 or 1948 blue DeSoto sedan parked on the street. It was always parked under the flutted glass shade street light so we used it for "Base" during evening hide and seek. On the weekend it got interesting since there was a church parking lot across from our garage. Lots of cars to see. Again up the hill to St. Mary's many older cars would show up. I remember an older lady who had a 1937 Packard Coupe with side mounts. Memories......

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While stationed in Germany with the USAF (1965-1967) I had a 1951 Mercedes 17O VA & a 1957 Porsche Speedster 1600N. 

My roomate had a 1957 Mercedes 220S, Plus a BMW motorcycle that he kept in our 3rd floor room.

When we separated from the Air Force my Porsche was shipped home by uncle Sam.  My roomate went to get shipping rates

for his BMW and the german shipper asked the weight.  When Jim heard the cost he replied,  "Well I have 30 pounds of air in 

each tire that I can let out, so now what;s the cost?   The german had no sense of humor, the rate stays the same!

Edited by Paul Dobbin (see edit history)
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I was born in the early 1950s

My Dad had a 1938 Chrysler, most of the neighbors drove a rusted Buick, Chevy or Ford. 

The cars built after WWII seemed to rust in about  two years and a 4-5 year old car looked as bad as a ten year old car.

 Minnesota winters were long and cruel.

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Let's see...  My grandfather was driving a 1955 Chevy Bel Air.  My great uncles had a 53 Chevy Bel Air and a 57 Dodge wagon with PB shift.  We had a 1955 Ford Skyliner with glass bubble top and my uncle had a beautiful red & white Olds 88.  The last car my dad bought before he started getting Ford lease cars was a brown and tan Ford Del Rio ranch wagon.  His experimental program at Ford was frame rail exhaust for the Lincoln.  At the time my dad was driving all kinds of 55-57 T-bird test cars home, one of which had a Lincoln 430 under the hood.  I would get him to take me for a ride in the morning before I went to grade school.  In 1960 he was supposed to have gotten an Edsel Corsair but the carline got cancelled so we wound up with a red 1960 Sunliner convertible with a 352 2bbl.  My dad, my brother and his high school buddy down the street climbed into the Sunliner one evening and we drove to Detroit Dragway down on Sibley and Dix and saw Connie Kalitta turn the first 8 second quarter mile ET in his 427 Ford powered Bouty Hunter.  My dad's Ford projects then were 100mph sedan because there were rumors the national speed limit was going up and Big Red, the gas turbine truck.  Neighbors behind were driving a 57 Plymouth Savoy.  In 1961 we got a Comet 6cyl station wagon that was, umm, a real slug.  My dad's 1962 lease car was a black T-bird hardtop, followed by a 63 Fairlane sports coupe.  My brother bought a 1963 Austin Healey Sprite and his high school buddy bought a black 1963 Dodge Polara with the 13-1 CR 426 cross ram Max Wedge and PB Torqueflite.  He worked at Dearborn Steel Tube modifying Ford Fairlanes making them into 427 Thunderbolts.  His customers were Phil Bonner and Hubert Platte. My dad's 1964 lease car was a powder blue T-bird convertible and his 65 lease was a Comet Caliente 404 wagon with chrome rocker covers and aircleaner 289 271HP HiPo my dad special ordered.  He was involved in Project Wiggly Worm- a Ford variable ratio power steering development program.  He drove a 63 T-bird home one night that had two 6inch dials on a table arrangement that steered the car.  Another, and my favorite was a 64 T-bird test car that had a fixed t-bar at the top of the column with 2 polished aluminum machine gun handles mounted on the ends to steer the car.  The triggers operated the brakes and thumb switches operated turns signals.  By that time the kid living behind us had a 63 327 4speed Stingray, then a 63 Impala 409.  The paperboy(man) had a Harley Duo Glide and this other middle aged idiot up the street had a 1963 XLCH Sportster which he kept in his living room except on the rare occasion him and his drinking buddies would carry it outside, light it up on straight pipes and blast down Second Street in Wayne blowing the stop sign at Clinton as fast as it would go, then circling around the block and whisking it back into his living room before the cops arrived.  Neighbor across the street painted houses for a living and drove a 59 Pontiac wagon.   These are just a few of my early memories but there was no end of interesting cars around when I was a kid...

Edited by Str8-8-Dave
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Str8-8-Dave, you definitely win the most interesting stories to this ole' boy !!!!   That Comet wagon must have been a hoot with the 289 Hi-Po, I had a Hi-Po engine for years (65 thru 2010) that I used in 5 different cars ! Glad you mentioned the painter, our home town painter was not a neighbor, but used one of the yellow and black Sun Valley ( ??? ) Mercuries (54 I think) with the glass top taken out for his paint car.... but boy oh boy, was his daughter beautiful !  Ha !

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Dalton was and still is a very small town of approximately 500 residents.   No major industries or sources to generate wealth so the cars were generally modest with few expectations.


My father had a 1949 Ford station wagon, the first car I remember.  I cried when it was traded for a plain-jane 1954 Ford Tudor.  Now I know why.   That was followed by a 1960 Ford Fairlane, 292 V8, manual shift with overdrive that had been the town police car for a couple seasons.  That traded for a 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 four door hardtop, I was delighted!


The geriatric couple next door still had a black 1937 Chevrolet coupe in which they 'went to town' shopping once a week.   Tony T had a blue 1958 Chevy Biscayne two door that rusted to completely brown before he quit driving.  Quentin, the garage owner, always drove the prior older Chevrolet for his work car rather than trade it in.  This after the new 'good car' Chevrolet was bought.  The 'good car' was garaged and only used by his wife and for family outings.


Tony's sister Tibby, a town icon with a wry sense of humor and a voice that sounded like Yoda, drove the wheels off a succession of $25 backlot junkers while working for the local newspaper.  One, a green 1959 Plymouth Savoy ended up in the demo derby when her husband Weiner, with his fire company drunken buddies at the county fair decided to enter her car.   She had driven separately with the kids to the fair.      You couldn't faze Tibby if you hit her with a brick.


One rusty bathtub Nash Tibby drove was particularly memorable.  Our street had a very rough railroad crossing which most drove across gingerly.  Tibby, who was always going full tilt, wheeling up the street, hit that crossing fast and hard.   Upon which the hood sides ahead of the hinges arched up, the bumper hit the pavement in a shower of sparks and she coasted to a halt.  She got out, looked at the Nash and said "Well, that one's all done" caught a ride down to Marv's garage to get it hauled to his junkyard...and look at what he had for a replacement!  Marv also sold cheap used cars.   Those Nash unibodies rusted terribly including the front suspension towers, the springs would pop-up through when they got bad enough, springing the hood up.  


Across the street, Zeke had a couple 1956 Fords then a 1959 when he commuted to the Tonawanda Ford plant which was a sixty mile trip one-way.  Longer-distance commutes were just starting to become common then in the early 1960's.  When Rochester Products where the Quadra-Jets were made was hiring masses, Zeke and half the other men in the town hired on there and commuted the 120 mile round trip five days a week for 30 years.  All the GM men drove GM cars they got through employee discount purchase.  Vern had a succession of Olds Delta 88's; Damon, Pontiacs; Zeke settled on Buick and stuck with them.


The days of brand loyalty were in force then: one fellow stands out: Charlie 'Oldsmobile' Powers.  All 88's: 1954, 1962, 1968, 1974.  By the early 1980's Charlie's time was about up, his last car was a Buick Electra!    His neighbor Hoppy swore by Plymouths, they didn't get along, too much alike!  Except for their choice of car.


More to come...

Edited by 58L-Y8 (see edit history)
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