Cars Of My Ancestors – 1960s Edition

Granny, Ed, Angie - driveway in Hapeville

I’ve been taking some time over the holidays to scan our older family photos—it’s been great to recall the pleasant memories of days gone past. The little boy being carried up the driveway? Well, that’s me, the summer before my second birthday, and the 1960 Chevrolet Biscayne in the background was “our” car. The 1962 Catalina belonged to the parents of the little girl (my cousin), and that’s my grandmother (who still looks great at 103!) holding her hand.

Ed & Angie (toddlers) at Roswell House

Here I am with my cousin again, at our home in Roswell, Georgia. Dad must have had the Biscayne at work that day, otherwise it would have been in the driveway and my Aunt and Uncle’s 1962 Catalina would have been parked at the curb.

Dad was a teacher at Atlanta Area Technical School at this point in my life, and my Uncle was a “Practicing Engineer” who did plumbing design for large office buildings and hotels. I guess that explains why we had the Chevy and they drove Pontiacs.

Stembridge Family 01 - Grandma Stembridge House 1968

For many of us, the cars we grew up in were nothing special—just something to get around in, and which would eventually be replaced with another once worn out. But in thinking this way, we’re possibly missing the making of great memories. This 1962 Impala belonged to my widowed Grandmother, who lived in Hollywood, Florida. We made numerous family vacation trips here as I was growing up, and to this day, Key Lime pie (made from real Key Limes off the tree in her back yard) is still my favorite dessert. This car would later be replaced with a mid-70s Nova, which I would own for a while (after Grandma passed) before finally selling it off.

Stembridge Family 08 - Uncle Chip

There’s not enough in the photo for me to ID the model year of this E-type Jaguar, and I honestly don’t remember it at all—it belonged to my uncle, who was a Nashville, Tennessee studio musician who later had his own recording studio (he produced the Smokey and the Bandit soundtrack, and Elvis once shot a hole in his guitar by accident when looking at a gun during a break in a recording session). I remember he had a pair of Mercedes 300SL coupes later on when I was in college.

Ed, Dave, Jim, Mike, Angie, Rhonda in front of Tempest

Well, here I am again a few years later, and joined by a full complement of three brothers and two cousins in a quick staged photo behind my grandparent’s 1966 Pontiac Tempest. Grandpa (also a Pontiac Man) had installed clear plastic seat covers in the car—a wise move, as I was very susceptible to motion sickness as a child and “christened” the back seat of that car several times. This car would end up in my hands years later when I was in college and living with “Granny,” who was widowed by then. The original Sprint Six had self-destructed by that point, and I’ll never forget the evening Granny helped me install a Chevy 350 V8 as a replacement (she operated the engine hoist while I guided everything into place).

Our family & Uncle John's Kids at Lake

Here we are again, with a different set of cousins this time, and probably down at an Uncle’s lake house in Milledgeville, Georgia after a brisk swim. Our 1968 Ford Country Squire LTD is poking its nose into the scene—this is the car I most remember from my pre-teen years, as we traveled from our home in Georgia down to Florida, up to Chicago and numerous points in between, often with a “Swinger” camper trailer in tow—not to mention frequent threats of “Don’t make me stop the car!” emanating from the front seat…

david scout trip 2

We’ll finish up my little trip down memory lane with a photo that was actually shot in the early 1970s, and which shows both our ’68 Country Squire as well as a nice-looking ’64 or ’65 Plymouth Barracuda. This was probably at the start of a Boy Scout camping trip, and I bet the Dad with the ‘Cuda was held in high regard.

As we often point out here at CC, “every car has a story,” and we sometimes don’t notice them until long after they have been written and filed away on a shelf (or in a dusty shoe box). Here’s hoping you all will write some interesting new car stories in 2013!