Mmmm, Ramblers and Corvairs…
When I was 13 and car crazy, I was lucky enough to be left at the family farm for the summer of '68. How great that summer was, my Aunt and Uncle had no kids at home, and being the sole kid was a welcome change from competing with 4 other siblings.
My Aunt had a 63 Rambler Classic, straight six and three on the tree. Between that and the 54 Chevy farm truck, I must have clocked hundreds of miles driving the dirt roads around the farm that summer. Hand pumped a lot of gas from the tank by the barn. Ended up buying the Chevy truck decades later, and recently reluctantly sold due to health. But it ended up on the farm next door, so I still have visiting rights! The Rambler, well, it met it’s demise a few years later, when my Aunt turned left in front of traffic, ooof! They replaced it with a 62 Classic, a real step down to my youthful eyes. I can still vividly remember every detail of that 63, indeed it was quite a pretty design, and also the neat names, like the “weather eye” heater and the odd pushbuttons on the radio. Curiously, the 15" wheelcovers from the Rambler ended up on the 54 Chevy pickup. When I bought the Chevy, two remained, and I found another set at Carlisle (back before the internet). Used to refer to them as the original unoriginal hubcaps. But what a summer! Between driving and eating home made strawberry-rhubarb pies, what more could kid want. Another memory from that summer was going to the Farmer’s market. There was a used book store and I’d buy old Popular Science magazines for a nickel just for the great stories about Gus, the mechanic, and how he puzzled through the different mechanical mysteries each month.
WRT to Corvairs, when I met my wife in '74, she was driving a 66 Corsa 140 with factory air. Being a Mustang boy ('67 'vert w/AC + '72 Mach1) at the time, that 'Vair was a different experience. Ended up having a series of late Corvairs as daily drivers. Kept that Corsa for decades, finally selling it in the 90’s as part of a fleet rationalization. Still sort of regret selling it, but the Mercedes bug had bit and my dear wife had shifted her love to a Mercedes diesel wagon, which was a much better fit with three daughters. She still thinks that 87 300TD she got as a Christmas present in '93 was the best car she ever owned. Eventually replaced it with a '95 E320 wagon, which was visually identical to to the '87, even down to the silver color. Most people didn’t even notice that we had a “new” car. A few years ago, I had an opportunity to buy an '85 300TD from a good friend, and once again surprised my wife with a Benz wagon for Christmas. She absolutely loves it, its loaded with, errr, patina but I’ve been told in no uncertain terms to leave the paint alone. I think part of it is having a car you don’t freak out over every time you park it.