With the depths of a dreary winter being firmly in place, being in the midst of a prolonged creation of a laundry room, and several bizarre events, my time at CC has been scant. This time of year isn’t exactly ripe for finding CC’s either, and my stash of stored pictures is getting thin.
Yet each of these factors has prompted some reminisces about all those unlicensed cars in the basement. So sit back; each has a story unto itself.
This delightful red VW is my very first car of all time. Had I not had to have surgery at the age of three, I can’t help but wonder if it may have remained on the shelf of the Osco Store – or wherever my mother found it.
It’s a honey of a VW, and nearly as robust as the real thing, providing a great salute to flower power, circa 1975. The front bumper is indeed drooping – I ran it off the end of the coffee table one too many times. Even before it was prevalent on television, I loved seeing airborne cars.
Tractors can fly, also. This Ford 4000 took the coffee table plunge exactly once, leading it to lose an eye and its exhaust. My uncle bought this for me when he was working as a mechanic at a Ford-New Holland store in the mid-1970s.
It’s regretful to say these aren’t the Alps or even the Giesen Hills in the background.
The red Bug managed to imprint Fahrvergnügen into an impressionable brain before Fahrvergnügen was cool. It’s hard to have just one VW.
It seems that is a common sentiment; a while back a conversation with the father of one my daughter’s friends revealed he is the owner of the most awesome 1968 Chrysler Newport I wrote up a few years ago. Visiting their house one day, we walked through his downstairs garage to take a look at the Chrysler. Upon entering the garage, there was an ’80s era Rabbit convertible with the engine dangling from a chain hoist.
Going outside there were two more VWs. His observation was pointed: “That second boy of mine has all these damn Volkswagens in my garage while my Chrysler sits outside.”
For the bulk of the 1980s, my father’s best friend Gary was a civilian teacher at a United States Air Force base near Brindisi, Apulia, in Italy; while I don’t know the name, I’m speculating it was the San Vito dei Normanni Air Station. As he taught fifth grade to children of Air Force personnel, he knew the positive way in which car crazy boys responded to exotic fare. So every Christmas was a treat as something not found on these shores was shipped across the Atlantic. This Mercedes was but the first of the batch.
Up until a year ago, the very fragile hood ornament was still attached. Having been moved entirely too many times in its 35 or so years, the hood ornament had a good run with the rest of the car remaining pristine. It’s one of my favorites of this bunch; I was seven or eight when I received it.
Another Christmas this silver gullwing arrived in the mail. The front wheels turn with the steering wheel. I’m not sure if Gary created or simply fed the huge Mercedes infatuation I had for a number of years.
When Mrs. Jason was pregnant, she would not even entertain the thought of naming a girl Mercedes. I still blame her profound reaction on those powerful pregnancy hormones.
This Ferrari Testarossa also came along during Gary’s 1980s Christmas wave. The door says it is copyright 1986.
Come to think of it, one of the first things he sent me, around 1981, was a just-right sized Swiss Army knife. While nothing unique, other than his having bought it in Switzerland, it is something I still carry to this day. It’s one of the most useful tools I’ve ever had.
It’s hard to remember the story on these two E 320s; I think my parents bought these on a trip to Europe in the mid- to late-nineties as Gary passed away around 1993 or 1994. These two came along during that time when one grows up, starts a career, gets married, and things are a general blur.
These are the only two here that feature a wind-up spring and can be self-propelled.
This poor, beaten Checker can tell its share of stories. But what Checker doesn’t have a story to tell?
Where I obtained it is long forgotten, but this Checker played an important role in my daughter’s life. Since even before she was born, my daughter has been a nocturnal creature and her mind is quite often too active for her to fall asleep easily; so
sometimes frequently we have to get creative.
One of her stories was about “the sleepy-time taxi”. The book had an illustrated car that had obviously used a Checker as inspiration. One night at about 1 am, when my daughter was five, both she and my wife were squalling like babies – my wife from exhaustion and our daughter from her inability to even be drowsy. In a fit of inspiration, I went downstairs and dug out this model Checker. Placing it on the dresser opposite my daughter’s bed, I read the sleepy-time taxi story again then told her to look at this taxi and imagine all the adventures she could have with it.
She was asleep within five minutes.
Sadly, the bulk of the old Checker’s adventures have involved falling onto the floor. The roof has a groovy dent in it that the camera didn’t quite capture. For the good it brought, this old Checker has been worth its considerable weight in gold.
That following Christmas, my daughter and Mrs. Jason gave me this Impala taxi; it certainly felt like a thank-you of sorts. Even though this Impala came along nearly a decade ago, it was just removed from its packaging a few months ago.
It is presumably in a Chicago livery with its Illinois plates and the detail on it is quite accurate for that vintage of Impala.
This 1995 Chevrolet Caprice makes two of my maintenance free cars that are based upon service in Chicago.
Incidentally, while Paul will vehemently deny it, all of us at CC North America® are contractually obligated to show GM B-bodies with some degree of frequency. Those outside North America are exempt.
Despite his affinity for the B-body, I still prefer Panthers.
This 1969 Dodge Charger (yes, it’s blurry) and the following 1969 Dodge Daytona were bought the same day.
I remember it vividly; it was at the annual automotive swap meet at Arena Park in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, in early 2001. I had just accepted a job nearly 400 miles away in St. Joseph, Missouri, and was having a few second thoughts about having done so. My wife told me to go to the swap meet as it might help clear my mind; it most certainly did.
Walking around I see a very attractive and distinguished looking woman of about 40 with a bunch of these models, all still in the package. They were $5 each and I knew there had to be a story. When looking them over, she offered to cut me an even cheaper price if I bought multiples. Telling her I was about to move and didn’t want any excess she smiled knowingly and ever so sweetly.
“Honey, these are indeed excess. My house is full of these model cars, my husband is out of town for the week, and I’m here to sell every f–king one of them.”
My face and stomach hurt from trying to contain my laughter as I quickly forked over a $10 bill.
Irony of ironies, Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” came on as I typed this. Gary Numan will likely be signing about Cars here in a minute. iTunes shuffle is a tremendous thing.
On the flip-side, (the future) Mrs. Jason gave me this Mustang GT350 shortly after we started dating. I have yet to even begin paralleling her amazing gift buying ability.
The last car Mrs. Jason gave me (she deserves to have a first name some day) has the most relevance to my life, despite it being shortchanged in access points. But the color is quite correct.
I hope you enjoyed this little excursion into my basement. Maybe we’ll have to do it again.