On my 14th birthday my father said get in the car, I want to take you to your birthday present! We arrived at a local landscaper/garden center and went in. My dad saiid to the owner, “Hi Frank, you got a job for my boy?” and I’ve been working ever since. That was my first day (at 14 remember) and I was told to load the '57 Dodge flatbed pickup with flats of flowers, peat moss, cow manure, bone meal, limestone and fertilizer and drive it over to to owner’s house and plant all his beds. It was three on the tree. I drove that every work day for the next two years. Fast forward 2 years, passed my written test on my birthday, got my road test 2 weeks later in my parents year old 1965 Rambler Ambassador hardly ever driven by me with a brake pedal about a foot wide. I aced my road test but on the way home from it with my mother accompanying me I came to a stop sign and naturally my left foot went to put the clutch in and we made a rather sudden panic stop. Luckily we were in our first car with seat belts! My mom totally understood, she learned on standard too!
The year was 1973, the month of June, and I lived a block away from Woodward Avenue, in downtown Royal Oak Michigan. It was Friday night, and I was supposed to take my driving test the following morning…so I prepared for my test, as I had many, many times during the previous year: by pushing/stealing my dad’s 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner down the driveway, at 1:00am in the morning, with my best friend “Ricky”. We proceeded to race up and down Woodward (Me without a license) till the wee hours of the morning. Mind you, I had been doing this for over a year, and never got caught…until that night. I was at a stop light, and next to me was a car full of High School Prom goers; gals and guys all dressed up for the big night. As I said, the light was red, and looking in my rear view mirror, I saw a shape of a man, that I throughly, and instantly recognized, get out of his car, and hastily approach my drivers side window…“GULP,” it was my dad!! Needless to say, words were exchanged, groundings were issued, but eventually (forever in teenager time) I was allowed to take my driving test, in that same 1968 Roadrunner, without incident. 46 years later, I am still driving that same car, and with very little effort, can still hear, smell, and feel the adrenaline rush from that night, every time I start my Roadrunner !!
I learned to drive in my dad’s 1960 Rambler with a standard transmission and a “three on the tree”. He taught me how not to roll backwards by using the parking brake and to this day I’ve never had a problem. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to take me to my road test so my Uncle Bert (pronounced “Boit’) showed-up in his place along with his 1963 Cadillac DeVille - all 222” of it! I begged him to let me practice and all he said was ”fuggedaboutit" and off we went. When we arrived at the test area the examiner got in the car and said “Let’s go”. I had never driven automatic before, let alone a Caddy, so when I reached under the dash to release the parking brake I couldn’t find it. The examiner must have noticed how flustered I was and said “C’mon kid, just put the car in D and let’s go”. I did what he said, the rest of test was a blur and, I don’t know how, but I passed. To this day I don’t know if Uncle Bert gave him a “tip”…
I drove my sisters 1962 Sprite - no windows, no top as it was home in the garage - the kind you had to build not raise - I fit in nicely being about 5-4 and 120# - the cop was about 6-4 and built like a tight end - and it started to rain just as we started - enough said…he asked if I had another car to use if I had to come back and I said no - passed easily!!!
I was a pretty competent driver, at least in my opinion, well before I turned 16. However I had to complete driver education in order to qualify for a reduction in insurance rates. One of our neighbors owned a driving school and agreed to an abbreviated version of the program- two hours of driving and no classroom. The catch was that I couldn’t use the '56 Ford Sunliner I’d been itching to drive legally for months but rather. one of his fleet of new 1961 4-door Studebaker Larks which my peer group considered beneath contempt. Although mortified to be seen in the car, I passed the test with flying colors about 10 days after my birthday.
Mine was a mid-'60s Ford LTD with the 428 engine (my father never looked under the hood when he bought it). I think I’d only parallel-parked a few times in practice, and it didn’t go well on the test. Sort of half in, half out on my first try. The examiner grumpily gave me a second chance and I managed an acceptable result. Passed the test. I think I was 17 at the time. It was much easier to get my pilot’s license at age 18–no parallel parking!
I learnt to drive in a Triumph Herald and a Sunbeam Rapier. I passed my test in 1964 in England in the Triumph Herald, which belonged to my driving instructor who incidentally was also a Police driving instructor. When I was young I liked driving because it gave me a sense of freedom but as I got older I did not need my freedom any more so my love of driving dissolved. It strange because people find it hard to believe that I don’t care for driving, especially long distances because I have a few classic cars and always have. I do however prefer a very comfortable and not a sports feeling car for driving long distances when I have to. It’s a shame because many cars today don’t cater for the comfort of long driving, and most people especially young people today, have never experienced the luxurious cars of the past which offered comfort and luxury over the common sports driving machines of today. What’s even more interesting today with the modern sports saloon concept ride, over the traditional comfort ride is that the fast family cars today are never used to even drive fast on our roads. The car makers certainly cater for the juvenile mentality, simply because there must be lots of them out there.
mid 70s. idaho daytime lisence at 15.passed easily in my 1959 chevy brookwood wagon. 283 with 3 on tree manual overdrive.
the car was mine I had paid 150 for it ,ran great 0-60 in two minutes;
once at speed put into o.d. and I was flying.the car was huge I could bring the party supplies and all the friends in one trip,high school was a blast.
Haha, mine was in my mother’s '73 Sedan deVille!!
Ours was gold with a white vinyl roof and it was so wide that even though I’m 6’6" tall I could lay down in the back seat!
I took my drivers test in our family wagon…a 63 Pontiac Catalina 9 pass safari with a 4bbl 421 V8 in Tenn. I had a 10 question multiple choice test and drove around the block with a cop that looked like Boss Hog. I was 15 years old. I think back about this with amusement. Thanks for the memory.
In 1964 I took the test in the driving school’s 1962 Plymouth Valiant: standard 3 on the column, no power anything. During the parallel parking on a hill with a complete engine shutdown and re-start, the shifting lever came off in my hand! Luckily, my instructor was in the back and some how provided a cotter pin to reattach the shift lever. Passed the test.
At the time in Massachusetts, if you took your driving test with an automatic, you were limited to driving only automatic transmissions, but if you took the test with a manual, you had no restrictions–you could legally drive a motorcycle!
67 Mustang.Loved that car.
I took my road test in my mother’s '73 Plymouth Satellite. I could have used my dad’s Dodge 024 but it was stick and I wasn’t confident with that yet.
1973 Cutlass Supreme - 350 Rocket, black lacquer paint on black vinyl bucket interior. Raised white letter Firestone’s on Olds rallye’s. Pioneer 6X9’s in the back deck, of course. Beautiful looking car that looked much, much faster than it was
1955 Ford Station wagon - my dad’s. In 1956 driver’s test was run out of a local service station - tester said" drive off lot - turn right - turn right- turn right - turn right - back onto lot - here’s your licence - turn the radio down!
1962 Cadillac Convertible. Top up…Tail fins…Parallel Parking…nailed it
You didn’t say if you passed but you deserve a lot of credit just for taking the test!
August of 1965 in our family’s 1963 Oldsmobile F-85. Passed the first time. In 2001 I obtained an identical car in a different color and restored it. Still enjoying it.
A 1960 Beetle. I started driving when I was 12 on the dirt roads in the country outside of Toronto back in 1960. When we got to the pavement my Dad would take over as we were getting close to the village of Wildfield. I failed my test the first time for doing 30mph. in a 20 zone but went to another town the next day & passed. That began a crazy time of lots of cars (about 80 VW’s & a long list of others. My summer driver is now a '28 old-school open-wheeled Ford hot rod. I’m 71 years young now & still wrenching on cars…