Most of you know how I like to bring up my grandfather and his Oldsmobiles, but you may notice how I rarely mention my grandmother when discussing cars. There’s a good reason. My grandmother never owned a car because she never had a driver’s license.
(Their street in Southie, early 1950s)
When my grandparents were first married and living in South Boston, he was teaching her to drive. Unfortunately, one day when my grandfather’s car was parked at the bottom of a hill, a parked truck’s brakes gave out, and it rolled down the hill into my grandfather’s car, severely damaging it. Nana was spooked by the incident and never got behind the wheel of a car again. For the rest of their 53 years of marriage, they were a one-car couple. In addition to raising five children, my grandmother was often working multiple jobs for many of those years. She had to rely on walking, public transportation, and rides from friends and family until she retired from her final job as my great uncle’s secretary in her early sixties.
That didn’t stop Nana from liking cars and having some opinions regarding them. She was not a huge fan of small cars, as she felt that they weren’t as safe or comfortable. She also preferred vehicles that weren’t particularly high or low, as ease of entry was important after her hip replacement. Despite this, there was a yellow Mazda Protege5 we would frequently spot over at Castle Island (a popular walking spot in South Boston) that Nana would always joking say would be her first car. Yellow was her favorite color.
(My grandfather’s actual ’97 Eighty-Eight, in its final years)
Had my grandmother driven, I picture her driving a Buick or Oldsmobile like my grandfather. He and her brother were both GM people, so I assume she would’ve followed. Nana also required cars with lots of storage for her trademark white visor, oversized sunglasses, Family Circle magazines, and the ever accumulating stash of Dunkin’ Donuts napkins (she never had to buy Kleenex!).
I also recall one specific memory in her final years when she was enamored over a car we saw in a parking lot. It happened to be a new Jaguar XF. Nana had expensive tastes!
My grandmother passed away four years ago at the age of 86. Her 90th birthday would’ve been today. Although she never drove during my lifetime, I have a lifetime of cherished memories and stories of her, many that took place in cars. So, even though my grandmother didn’t drive, I’m sure most of yours did and I’m curious to know what they drove. Did they like big comfortable cars like mine, or smaller, more economical cars? Or, did they drive something surprising like the little old lady I saw climb up into a ice blue Tahoe the other day?
LeSabre, LeSabre, LeSabre
My paternal grandmother had one of these in blue with the snazzy road wheels. I’ll remember that car forever as I shut one of my fingers in the door as a small boy. Good thing the panel gaps were pretty big back then! It was replaced by an early 80’s Chevy Malibu 4 door and then a Chevy Corsica as her last car. Grandfather kept driving C body Buick’s but grandmother got Chevy’s after he retired.
My other grandmother never learned to drive, which was a big problem when my other grandfather had to stop driving due to his vision. He was an Oldmobile man.
Yes, Buick after Buick after Buick. The last was a ’55 Century, preceded by a ’50 Super, the rest came before I was born.
Same here. The one I remember distinctly was the rusted-out ’78 she bequeathed us when she upgraded to an ’87 Century. It was a horrible, horrible car, and it permanently soured me on Buicks. I can’t look at one without having flashbacks to that peach-colored monstrosity with its beige-ish vinyl roof and the broken grill and the missing hubcaps and the hole rusted into the front passenger floor where the carpet would get soaked right through in a rainstorm and the roof that leaked everywhere, even places that a solid automotive roof has no place leaking and- you know what? That thing was a complete nightmare of a car, and I really wish that it hadn’t been because now that I have a better appreciation for these things I know that it should not have been the way it was.
Okay, the last car she had was a mid-90s Regal in powder blue with a classy blue interior. That one was MUCH nicer. But anyways, Buicks until she stopped driving.
Sorry I can’t help – like yours, both of my grandmas never learned how to drive (even though women drivers in Israel were not such a rare sight even back then (30s – 40s)).
My grandmother had the typical “grandma car” when I was younger (A 1979 Impala), but that was replaced with a Jetta Mk1 Coupe (inherited from my mother, this Jetta was also the first car I went to school in) with a 5 speed she drove until over 200k miles. The Jetta was eventually replaced with a new 2002 Civic sedan (an automatic is easier on her knees), still going strong with just over 30k miles on it after almost 14 years.
… but they graciously accepted being driven: Grandma 1 (on my father’s side) is just visible behind dad’s Plodge
An LT-1 powered Caprice for over 20 years. Always garage kept and dealer maintained.
… and Grandma 2 tolerated grandpa’s torture of a number of Simcas (and then a Subaru)…
Is that a Simca 1000?
Yep, he had 2 or 3, then one of the FWD 1100s.
I just noticed the visor over the windshield. Adds a little flair. I’ll bet your grandpa loved it. I sure would like to putt around in one today.
My only grandma died 3 years ago (she would have been 99 in April). In my 37 years with her, she only had 3 cars. The first was an Olds Cutlass Supreme. I can’t recall exactly, but I want to say it was a ’71 (could have been any of those ’68-’72). I was VERY young when she had this car and really don’t remember it other than the color was Sherwood Green. Next was a ’76 Cordoba – beautiful car. Dark green with green vinyl top and green plush velour (nope, no Corinthian Leather). 360/4bbl – Gram always said the car really enjoyed being driven about 80mph. The giant coupe doors got to be too heavy for her, so she bought her final car in 1988 – an Olds Cutlass Cierra. It was a fine, reliable vehicle for her that only had 40 some thousand miles on it when she smashed it into the hospital after confusing the brake and gas thus ending her driving career.
My Nana Tina drove a BIG ole Blue ’72 Dodge Polara. Little old red headed Italian lady driving this barge. My Uncle Danny lost the car in the Mississippi river in the mid ’80s when it came out of park and rolled down the cobblestones into the water. He worked on a riverboat (The Tom Sawyer Maybe?) as a bar tender. She was pissed! My Nana bought an ’81 T-bird to replace it.
Gramma drove a succession of little imports – they didn’t need a second car til they moved to Philly in the early 60s (lifelong New Yorkers). First was a 63 or so Bug, then a Peugeot which she always talked about as her favorite car, both were stick. I’d like to imagine it was a 404. When they moved back to the city Gramma didn’t really need a car anymore, and Grampa had a succession of Lincolns, starting with a ’63 and I’m told another in the 70s, then the one I remember most, an ’83 Town Car (I loved sitting in it and playing with the gadgets). At the insistence of Gramma, he traded it on whatever the last year of Volvo 740 had quad headlamps (’90?) – at that point his driving skills got questionable and Gramma started driving again. They sold it in 2000 after Grampa had a bad fall and became bedridden, and neither ever drove again.
Zenith blue 1968 Volkswagen Beetle with Automatic Stickshift.
(not the actual car)
My grandmother never learned to drive an automatic car. My grandfather was always a nash/rambler/amc man.Nana drove a 57 metropolitan hardtop in my early years, a mid 60’s rambler American, and her final car was a 70 amc hornet 2 door. I was given the hornet in 1985. Drove it from Fl to Nj. What a challenge.
What’s to learn on an automatic?
not to push the clutch.
In my RamCharger I often find myself reaching for the 4wd transfer case lever when I want to shift!
I can remember my dad teaching my grandma how to drive an automatic when she traded her ’59 Biscayne 6 stick shift for a 283 four barrel Turboglide Impala. It took her a time to get used to it.
Remembering that the car will creep forward in drive. Parallel parking requires a bit of care if you’re accustomed to a manual gearbox and conventional clutch.
My paternal grandmother died at the age of 99 in 2012. She only learned to drive in the late 1940s, and even then she never really liked driving. The first family car she really talked about was their 1951 Studebaker Champion four-door sedan. They purchased it from my father when he bought a slightly used 1953 Champion Starlight coupe in 1954.
My grandmother never drove the Studebaker much, as it had a manual transmission. When my grandfather died in late 1964, she immediately traded the Studebaker on a 1962 Ford Falcon sedan. Her main motivation was that the Falcon had an automatic transmission.
The Falcon was totaled after being hit from behind in early 1969. She then bought a 1966 Dodge Dart 270, which she had until the summer of 1977. She traded that car on a 1973 Maverick sedan, which she did not like, as it used too much gas. The Maverick was wrecked in 1981 by my aunt. In addition to the gas mileage issue, I remember it as having a really good radio, and a level of interior fit-and-finish that was a cut above other American compacts of that era.
My grandmother then purchased a used 1973 Dodge Dart Custom, which she really liked, and drove until she gave up driving in the early 1990s. She really liked the Mopar compacts, as they were roomy, easy to enter and exit and easy to park. They also didn’t require many repairs with the Slant Six engine and Torqueflight transmission. She regularly commented on how smooth the engine was.
Because of her, I always think of 1960s and 1970s American compacts with six-cylinder engines and automatic transmissions as “grandma” cars.
My grandmothers, born 1884 and 1890, didn’t drive during my lifetime. It didn’t occur to me to ask if they’d ever driven, much less what kind of car.
Same for me….neither of my Grandmothers (born in 1910 and 1912) ever drove, though both my Grandfathers had cars….maybe partly because they lived in a city…I’m not sure how my one grandmother got to work (guessing someone drove her), the other one ran a mom and pop (or rather grandma and grandpa) store on the ground floor of their house, so she only had to go down the stairs to get to work. What I remember most is that one of my grandmothers thought I drove a sports car (I think because it was an import…maybe she thought all imports were sports cars…though I knew my Datsun 710 was decidedly never close to being a sports car)
My paternal grandmother never drove. She was born in India, where they had drivers to do that.
My maternal grandmother, however, drove for most of her life. She was born in 1907 in the UK, and before she was married she drove a Morris Cowley “Bullnose”. After an accident, she’d had it repaired and resprayed red, which was rare at the time – so the car was known locally as the “Red Peril”.
Between that and when my memory begins, I don’t know much except that she had back problems which had been caused by an accident when crank-starting a car (perhaps the Morris). I imagine she drove various of my grandfather’s cars, which I’m told included a Ford Pilot V8, a Jaguar Mark V, and a Messerschmitt bubblecar.
The earliest car I can remember her driving was a Renault 10 (1100cc) which was later replaced by a 1300cc version. Her last car was a bright blue mid-1970s Mini Clubman which she drove at what seemed like terrifying speeds around the country lanes of Kent.
My grandmother always had either Mopars or Volkswagens – she went from a ’60 Beetle to a ’70 Squareback to a ’78 Horizon to an ’86 Horizon, all purchased new, as she believed that buying used was asking for trouble. All were what you’d call “’80s-equipped” – cloth seats, an automatic, a radio and very little else. In November of ’93 she replaced her beloved ’86 Horizon with a brand-new ’94 Plymouth Sundance; the car in which I was brought home from the hospital as an infant was replaced with the car in which I’d learn to drive. In 2004, my then-80-year-old grandmother replaced the Sundance, which was rusting badly, with the last of the Escorts – a 2002 4-door ex-rental. It was the first used car she’d bought in fifty years and the first ever with air conditioning, though it still had crank windows; she kept the Escort until 2012 when she decided she’d had enough and hung up the car keys for the last time. As it turned out, she had a few more good years left behind the wheel – after crawling up the walls for a month, I was able to get her into a Subaru Forester, which she liked because of the ease of ingress and egress. She decided not to renew her license this past December and voluntarily gave up the keys (for the second time) – but at 91 years young she’s still very much alive and alert. I’m grateful for the many years of good memories I have of her (and if I ever find a two-tone gray Horizon with the corduroy upholstery, I’ve already told my wife not to be surprised when it shows up).
My grandmother (b. 1888 Minsk-Pinsk area, d. 1974 Philadelphia) not only never learned to drive, I can’t even remember or imagine her discussing a car. My mother, (b 1920) who would likely be grandmother to many of the readers here, learned to drive at 16 on Uncle Yankle’s Model ‘A’, first bought a ’33 Chevrolet on her own after the war (no heater). After marriage, she didn’t have her ‘own’ car again ’til the family ’65 Valiant became hers, then a used ’65 Rambler, a used ’67 Beetle, a new ’75 Pinto, and a new ’82 Subaru. Then she and my father again shared the car, ’til we took his keys away two years ago. She’d already stopped driving in her mid-eighties.
I recently corresponded with my uncle about my grandparents cars and here’s what he said about his mother’s (my grandmother’s) cars:
Dad and mother were married in April 1936. Prior to their marriage, she had never driven. She alleged that she was too nervous to drive. Dad taught her to drive and bought her a new 1937 Oldsmobile two door sedan.
At the very end of 1941, Dad traded mother’s Oldsmobile for a 1941 Chrysler Windsor Club Coupe which had Chrysler’s semi automatic transmission.
In 1948, Dad traded mother’s 1941 Chrysler Windsor for a 1948 Chrysler Windsor four door sedan.
Then in 1955 the 1948 Chrysler Windsor was replaced by a new Buick Century four door hardtop.
In 1958 the Buick Century was replaced with the first four passenger Thunderbird for mother.
Mother’s 1958 Thunderbird was traded for a 1964 Thunderbird. Subsequently for several years her cars were leased, 1966, 1968, and 1970 Ford LTD four door sedans.
Her final car was a 1977 Ford Granada Ghia.
1981 Renault 5 – 850cc and 4 speed. Her first car since she used to drive her dad’s Sunbeam in the 30s.
Growing up in a working class town in Scotland in the 80s, grandparents who drove were relatively unusual. My grandpa got his first car in the late 70s.
Neither of my grandmothers drove a car nor had a license. Not surprising since one was born in 1907 and the other in 1910. My mother didn’t get her driving license until she was 21 years old in 1954.
My Grandma started driving in 1923. During the 20s she had two Overlands and four Franklins (I wish I knew more about her Franklins — all I know is their colors — red, green, blue, grey). She was very involved in the Eastern Star in New Jersey during that period and she drove all over the state attending meetings. After the depression hit, she switched to Pontiacs. By this time my grandfather had also learned to drive, but neither my mother nor my aunt did (Mom learned to drive at age 58 and was a dedicated Plymouth driver to the end — my brother still runs her 88 Reliant) The first car of Grandma’s that I remember was a 41 Pontiac C bodied coupe with no back seat. After that there was a 42 DeSoto, a 47 Nash 600 and a 51 Plymouth Concord two-door sedan (the short wheelbase fastback). She totalled that one and her mechanic got her a red 51 Dodge Coronet that she drove until 1961 when she felt that driiving conditions were not to her liking — too much traffic and she was leery of driving at night.
I’m another one where my Grandmothers never learned to drive, they were both born in the Netherlands around 1910, and their families never had cars until they emigrated in the early 1950’s.
My paternal Grandmother kept the 1980 Concord for a few years after Grandpa passed away, she liked to be driven in it on her errands.
Mrs DougD’s Grandmother was from Missaukee County MI, and although she has been gone over 10 years I can still hear her say “The best car I had was my 1950 Ford. Goodness that little car had a lot of pep..”
On this page I posted a photo of the 1936 Chevy she had during the war years (apparently not her favourite 🙂
Some thirties cars on Long Island, a Motorcycle in England, and a 1937 Dodge round trip from Long Island to the Navajo Nation in 1957. Gramps did not know how to drive and some issue with the Dodge meant it could only get up to 40 MPH on the return trip.
Land Rovers in Kenya including a grey one which the locals mistook for the police and would run away which makes Anthropologic work difficult. Dunno if that one was repainted or sold off. Also had a Crew Cab Toyota Hilux while over there.
In the states she drove Saab’s for 30 years or so until she bought a 2000 Volvo V40 1.8T and now her dementia is terrible so she has not driven in nearly 10 years.
I’ll join in here. My grandmothers were born in 1899 and 1902. From the shtetl to New York City, neither had a reason to learn to drive, as it was the “man’s job”, and one could get along fine in NYC without a car. My paternal grandfather was a Teamster, so he was happy to drive until a stroke debilitated him. My maternal grandfather died long before I was born.
Living in NYC, though, neither commuted by car. Cars were for pleasure use only.
I can name all of the cars my maternal grandmother had during my lifetime, she traded so seldom:
A probably ’74 Ford LTD, a deep green color, then..
A 1975 dark blue Mercury Marquis sedan, the car she and my grandpa bought right before he died–she kept that car for years, and then…
A late-80s B-body Buick Century, that she kept until she died in 2005 at 94.
They had a Torino before that, I think, probably a ’71 or so. My mother’s family were Ford people for years.
I’m a little hazy on my paternal grandmother’s cars, probably because she and my grandfather lived out of state, I didn’t see them as often, and he tended to dominate the car-purchasing process (and she didn’t survive him by as much). He had Fords in the ’70s, then had a couple of Cadillacs in the ’80s and ’90s, and that’s what I saw them driving, when I saw them (and it was always him driving).
My maternal grandmother never drove, my grandfather was an itinerant preacher and was constantly going from place to place. My paternal grandmother did most of the driving for her and my grandfather as he had suffered a stroke about the time I was born and he was not comfortable behind the wheel. When I was growing up they had a 1952 Dodge sedan (grandma was born in 1903). After my grandfather died my grandmother moved in with my uncle’s family for some years and didn’t own a car. When she came back to our hometown she purchased a 1959 Pontiac Star Chief; she had this when I first got my driver’s license and it was much nicer than my Ford. When the Chief got too rusty to keep on the road it was replaced with another Pontiac, a 1963 Catalina. Eventually this gave way to a (full size) 1972 Ford sedan. As you can tell, my grandmother was partial to big, solid Detroit iron.
My paternal grandmother had quit driving by the time I came along. My maternal grandmother drove Buicks. Her last car was a 1968 Buick LeSabre that neither my brother nor I took upon her death. I wish I had!
The one Grandmother that drove had a charming little blue Mini for many years.
My paternal grandmother never drove she was born prior to the motoring age and never learned, My maternal grandmother OTOH learned at age 60 when widowed and drove a pink 1956 Morris Minor untill it died then a blue 1968 Vauxhall Viva HB two door until she could no longer pass her test in her late 80s.
One grandmother never drove since she lived in Brooklyn until my grandfather retired and they moved to New Jersey. She took one driving lesson after he died and gave it up as too scary.
My other grandmother drove Oldsmobiles, a late 60s Cutlass Supreme and a Colonnade Cutlass sedan are what I remember although there may have been another car after the Cutlass.
My Grandmother on my Mom’s side from her first husband that died in his early 30’s due to radiation from being a WW2 radar operator drove a 68 Camero convertible (Green with green interior, white top, 350 auto with buckets, floor shift and AC). She died around 1970. Can’t remember what she drove before that. I don’t think my Grandmother on my fathers side drove. My Grandmother from my Mom’s step parent’s (it’s complicated) may have driven my Grandfathers 65 Bonneville convertible, she was ill in the hospital for many years and died there around 1969. (Beige w/white leather interior, white top, bench seat 389 auto w/AC). He only put the top down once, and that was so he could take a picture of it to show people what it looked like with the top down. After he passed in 1972 (broke his hip after hitting a softball I pitched to him) I drove it a few times with the top down before Mom sold it to a used car dealer. Beautiful car. The car before the Pontiac was I believe a 61 Tempest hardtop with the aluminum V8 and auto trans, it always used coolent and he was told it had a cracked block. Typical of the 215 engine. He was an engineer and said he always drove Pontiac’s because they had a stronger frame
Neither one of my grandmothers, born in 1882 and 1887 respectively, ever learned to drive, and had no interest in cars. For that matter, I think my grandfathers drove very little. I know that one of them briefly owned an Oakland, and I’d love to find a photo of it.
Paternal grandma – never drove. Ever.
73 Impala(may have been a Caprice)
When grandpa passed:
78 280Z(manual!) I kid you not.
No memories here either. Dad was an orphan, and the Nana I knew (b.1882) never drove. Papa (b.1872) had a couple of mid-’20s Chev Fours on the farm, but by the time I knew him he was past driving.
Grandma had a 1970 Olds Delta 88 Holiday Coupe, Rocket 455 and all. Other grandma had a ’66 Chevelle 4 door sedan. Think that one had a 283 in it.
On the one side of my family, my grandparents were a one-car family since I was a kid, but my grandmother did drive and after my grandfather passed she continued to drive up until around age 92 when a motorcyclist T-boned her (not her fault). It was a malaise-era LTD if I remember correctly. The motorcyclist was OK and felt so bad that he came around and did odd chores for her after the crash (she lived alone until age 96 and survived to 104).
On the other side, my grandparents always had a “nice” car and a pickup (grandpa was a geologist/prospector). The cars Grandma drove since my birth I can remember well: a ’66 Chrysler New Yorker (which I now own), then a ’79 Cadillac Eldorado, and after my grandfather passed she surprised us all by ‘downgrading’ to a ’89 Buick Regal when the Eldo’s rear frame rusted out (shows who pushed the ‘luxury’ car purchases, huh?). She stopped driving in the mid 1990’s at around age 84.
Well my grandmother never drove as she and my grandfather lived in Taiwan, where he was a government minister – so he always had a car with a driver, and mostly American ones. First time I remember visiting them he had a 1958 Chevy Bel-Air, then a 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu (in 1970). In the early 1980s he was driven around in a locally-assembled Nissan Cedric 330 (called a Yue Loong), and then a Chevrolet Caprice Classic B-Body.
He also tooled around in Buick Park Avenues, both the RWD version and the C-body FWD one, a 1988 model.
Mama (Maw-maw in southern Louisiana) owned only two cars in her entire life (1913-1984) and probably drove only one other. My grandfather courted her in a 1933 Chevrolet Master coupe. That car lasted through WW II until it was replaced with a 1948 Buick Special. My grandparents lived behind the drug store they owned and operated and my grandfather spent much of the war years in Australia so the Chevy probably didn’t see too many miles in its 15 years with the family. I think it is a given though that she drove it sometime during the war. She lived in Houston and most of her family was in Louisiana.
The Buick was HER CAR and she was rightly proud of it. In fact, she was a bit disappointed when, in 1957, her sons (my father and uncle) with their father’s permission, traded it for a new Pontiac Super Chief two-door hardtop; white over coral pink with a gray an white interior. It had the 347 V8, naturally, and 4-speed Hydramatic.
There was no air conditioning (very expensive option) and no power steering. In her son’s view those would only slow the car.
My father and uncle knew what they were getting with the Pontiac. My grandmother did not. She accumulated quite a few speeding tickets. One of my first memories as a small child was Mama getting pulled over by the local po-po with me aboard and her admonishment not to tell Papa or my daddy.
When she died in 1984 the twenty-seven year old Super Chief had only 51,000 miles showing. She really did drive it only to church and the grocery store. The car was in very good condition for its age. She kept it garaged at home (she and my grandfather moved into a house several blocks from the store after the war) and under a carport while at work. My uncle took the Pontiac as part of his portion of her estate. He had it repainted and rebuilt the transmission (he has as much to do with it needing a rebuild as anyone – he or my father would street race it when ever they could.) Uncle owns it to this day and still takes it to local shows occasionally.
The last car my grandma drove was a silver on black 1976 Olds Cutlass Supreme coupe with the anemic 260 V-8. I remember that by this time, she wasn’t supposed to drive us kids around in the car with her (my parents were worried that would not be a good idea). Nevertheless, I have memories of sitting in the back seat, no car seat of course, out of view beneath the small opera windows, which were over my head anyway. She had this habit of hitting the gas, coasting, hitting the gas, coasting. . . all the way to the grocery store and gas station. Before that, she had a blue 1970 Olds Cutlass S coupe with the much more potent 350 Rocket; had that car painted yellow, which looked sharp with the white vinyl top and interior. That ended up being passed down to my parents as their first family car to haul us around in. Before I came along, dad reports that she had a 1963 Mercury Comet, and a 1949 Nash. Not sure what preceded those two cars; she was born in 1907 so there must have been others. . .
To my knowledge, none of my grandparents on either side drove. My dad said there was always excellent bus and train service in the UK, so his parents (in Glasgow) never needed to drive. My mom’s parents in Windsor, Ontario always walked or took the bus, and used the train for longer trips. My mom learned to drive in the early Fifties from a friend who was a truck driver, and her first car was a ’38 Plymouth. She kept it until just before I was born in 1963, and it was apparently still a good car. She still drives at 86 – a 2010 Honda CRV.
A shiny new grey with red upholstery Hillman Minx Series V or VI Automatic. Nana came late to driving, being aged over 60 at the time. The story goes she drove to church where she prayed that nobody would be hit on the return journey. I guess prayer worked, the car was unscathed when she died a few years later. Why the Hillman? My mother had bought a new Series IIIc earlier. Also grey.
Both of my grandmothers died in their early 70s when I was 11 (about six months apart), so I don’t have a lot of memories of them. Dad’s mother never drove, his father always had a Buick or Oldsmobile sedan and a Dodge or Chevy pickup.
Mom’s mom was a third grade teacher and did drive. The only car I remember is her last one, a yellow over brown Mustang II (Ghia, iirc). I’m sure she had others, as she taught for many years. Her father had many different domestic cars, the ones I remember were a ’76 Gran Fury coupe, a 87 Somerset Limited, a 94 Cutlass Supreme LS sedan, and a 01 Malibu base sedan.
My grandmother never learned how to drive, she claimed that she would be “too nervous behind the wheel.” However,my grandfather-a retired detective had some interesting cars that I remember vividly.He had a `49 Pontiac sedan that my mother won in a church raffle but couldn`t drive because she had no license at the time. Next, he had `54 Olds sedan-can`t remember the model, a `59 Impala coupe with a 283,a`62 Chrysler 300 four door hardtop sedan, a `64 Dodge Polara coupe with a 383, and finally a `78 Plymouth Fury four door, an upmarket 318 version.He gave theChevy to my father when my family was between cars.I was about 14 years old, and I wanted that Chevy when I got my license, but it wasn`t to be. Engine siezed up, wasn`t worth fixing , but the body and interior were nice.
Never knew my maternal grandmother, so I haven’t a clue. My paternal grandmother never had a license, after my paternal grandfather died she lived with my spinster great aunt Marny, who liked gold Chevy II’s. The ones I remember were a ’62, a ,67, and a ’70, all four doors. The ’70 was here last car, she stopped driving sometime around 1980.
I have only one fragmentary memory of what my (paternal) grandmother probably drove. I recall as a child (in the 1970’s) a number of permanently parked cars around their house, and among these was a pair of early Falcons- the tiny ones- one red and one white. I slightly recall being told one was my grandmother’s and the other my grandfather’s. They were ancient even then- were they alive they would be 110 years old.
My maternal grandmother never learned to drive. As the story goes, on her first and only driving lesson with Grandpa, she ran the truck into a telephone pole or some other resolutely stationary object.
Dad’s Mom was totally different. She loved to drive, and had a big, beautiful 1967 Bonnevile station wagon with a rear-facing third seat. I’ve got a lot of happy memories of riding in that back seat with my brother, making faces at the people unlucky enough to be driving behind us. Memories of that car are partly why I later got myself a 1966 Catalina 4-door.
My Paternal Grandma I’m not sure, she passed away when I was only 10 or so and I vaguely recall a beige GM B body in their garage in my early years. My Maternal Grandma doesn’t drive much anymore, in the early 90s she had a first gen Acura Integra(my Grandpa had a matching Legend) and she ended up getting the Legend when My Grandpa got his Sienna and a Infinity G20 replaced the Legend thereafter. Before my time, according to my Mom, she had a Beetle and an Opel Kadett in the 60s/70s. She’s pretty short and has a hard time with visibility in larger cars, .
She couldn’t drive but was driven in something like this:
None of my grandparents drove, but my great-grandfather was a railway engine driver!
My grandmothers were born in 1887 and 1888. Neither drove but one had a Packard and driver through 1946 when she left georgia to live with my parents in Arkansas.
My maternal grandfather drove a schoolbus for a living and my maternal grandmother did not apparently drive until after his death. I guess she tired of having to call a cab when she went anywhere, so she bought a 1960 Ford Falcon new. It was robin’s egg blue on the outside and had a blue interior. Power was by the base 144 in. six. with the auto trans.
As I recall, she drove it exactly once a week to go to the grocery store, putting maybe seven miles a trip on the odometer. When she died in 1973, her car had less than 20,000 miles on the clock and still smelled new inside.
Well, in my case – its complicated. When my Grandmother was a school teacher in Gulyai-Polye (Nestor Makhno’s home town), her everyday transport looked something like this (pic) – sans the machine gun, of course (I’m not joking, the Tachanka design was actually based on the light horse drawn carriage with leaf spring suspension that was used by ethnic German colonists in Ukraine and Southern Russia, who my Grandfather descended from). It was still a very common transport in rural areas in 1960s and 70s. My Mom likes to share the memories of riding across vast steppes in such a carriage, to the local Kolkhoz threshing station to get some grain for the cattle, or to the bazaar to sell some milk and butter and buy a pig. I think my Granny could also drive Grandfather’s Harley-Davidson (lend-lease stuff) from time to time, at least that would’ve been just like her.
My grandma currently owns a 1998 Lincoln Town Car in Prairie Tan that all of my aunts, uncles and my dad chipped in to buy new for her 70th birthday. She thought it was some kind of scam when a sales person delivered it to her house. She also currently has a navy blue 1995 Mistubishi Montero that she uses for her bi-annual trips from her house in Florida to her property in the mountains of North Carolina.
Past cars of hers that I remember were:
1980 brown Mazda 626
1985 Saab 900 (she passed it down to me when I turned 16. That was the first of 3 Saabs for me, so far)
1987 white Ford Econoline high top conversion van.
I was told about several large station wagons and a Hudson Hornet in her vehicular history.
My grandmother drove a 1948 Kaiser she bought new until 1963 when she bought a 1963 Chevy Belair.
Despite being born in 1898 my maternal grandmother had no qualms about learning to drive. When I was around she went through two classic “grandma” cars: 1962 Chevy Biscayne with 3 on the Tree and manual steering (!) and a 1968 Chevy Nova in that weird cream-beige so many seemed to be ordered in. I remember we flew out to see her and rented a car to go from Buffalo to DC, a 4 door Cavalier. Grandma said “this is a nice car, maybe I’ll get one of these” (never did) They were a Chevy family thru and thru.
I recall the Biscayne must have arrived new when they traded in their ’57 Bel Air 4 dr hardtop. If only they had hung onto that one!
Maternal grandmother (b. 1903) also had a ’57 Bel-Air sedan, white & turquoise, & later got a Volare; this surprised me since Mom said they were certified Chevy people. I think the Volare had issues, don’t remember what.
Paternal grandmother (1900-2004!) hated to drive, & almost never did, despite Grandpa getting her a yellow ’66 Rambler American, nicknamed “Daffodil” by the family. It was finally handed down to one of my cousins.
This is a terrific question.
My maternal grandmother will be 88 next week and is still driving routinely. She is still as sharp mentally as when she was 48.
In my lifetime, she and my grandfather (age 90) have had:
1970 Chevrolet Impala (seen here: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-american/curbside-classic-1970-chevrolet-caprice-iris-and-albert-make-a-trip-to-houston/
1977 Chevrolet Impala with a 250 straight-six. The car was a turd.
1985 Dodge Aries, 2.2 automatic
1988 Dodge Dynasty, 3.0 with the 3 speed automatic
1992 Buick Roadmaster, 5.7 (two of those) and 4 transmissions in its life. It was another turd.
2001 Lincoln Town Car, 4.6 (what else) and flawless except for the burst drain tube in the firewall caused by leaves and ice.
2007 Chevrolet Equinox, 2wd with a 3.1 (I think).
My paternal grandmother will be 94 next month and quit driving about a year ago. She still lives alone and is doing well other than being nearly deaf. She was widowed in 1966 and drove a 1965 Dodge 1/2 ton until 1971. In my lifetime, she has had:
1971 Ford Maverick two-door, 170 I6 with a three-speed
1980 Dodge Aspen, automatic with a 225 slant six
1989 Dodge Aries, 2.2 and two transmissions
2000 Ford Taurus, 3.0 FFV, sold about six months ago with all of 24,000 miles on it.
1978 Buick LeSabre Limited 4 door with a 301 V8, it had chocolate brown exterior with a beige vinyl top and tan velour seats, God I loved riding in her car, it was the best car she has ever owned and every time I see a Buick LeSabre of this vintage I always think of my grandmother.
My grandmother lived to be 86 and drove up until the day before she died; never having an accident or becoming a timid driver. She always ordered Buick Electra’s until her last car when she ordered an 82 Cadillac Fleetwood d’Elegance, which she said was the sorriest car she ever owned.
Currently a 99 Corolla
88 Subaru hatchback
8? Subaru hatchback
My grandpa had a Dodge Dart sport at the time after that they only had one car
On my father’s side, my grandfather began them mostly being a Ford family. I’m not sure what the first car she normally drove was but I know that they had a ’59 Ford Galaxie and a 1961 Plymouth (purchased from a relative who couldn’t make the payments). She thought the Plymouth was ugly and it leaked water in the rain, filling up the floors. They had a ’65 Galaxie and a ’66 Galaxie purchased new (my father still owns the ’66). She then drove a 1970 Galaxie, 1973 Country Squire wagon with a 429 and then the first car I remember her driving, a 1978 LTD, the last of the big ones. It was green. Green paint, green vinyl top, green seats, door panels, dash, carpet. I’m surprised the damn tires weren’t green. She drove that car from 1978-1998 when she got a 1988 Olds Delta 88 then the 1996 Explorer she now drives.
My maternal grandmother has owned an eclectic group of cars, usually whatever my grandfather came across in his deals. She didn’t learn to drive until after she married my grandfather in 1965. My mom remembers them taking taxis to buy groceries when she was very young. I know she drove two Plymouth Dusters, one blue and one brown. She has a bit of a lead foot and her father used to call her blue one “The blue streak” but he said when she got the brown one that “brown streak” just didn’t sound right, haha.
One car she owned in the 1970’s that she loved was an Olds Toronado, about a 1972 from the pics I’ve seen. My mom said she was excited because it had an 8-track player and promptly ordered a box of 8-tracks from Columbia House, haha.
From my memory there was the Dodge Diplomat and a 1983 Buick LeSabre 2-door. After she divorced my grandfather and remarried she got a 1986 Olds Cutlass Ciera, 1998 Ford Escort and the 2002 Mercury Sable she still owns.
1950 Plymouth DeLuxe fastback style the same color as the one in the photo but without the radio, the exterior sun visor, and the spotlight.
My grandparents (both my grandmother and grandfather) drove Buicks and Chevrolets.
My grandparents weren’t the type to buy new cars. For many years, they would buy the local Presbyterian minister’s used Fords. So there was a slew of Fairlanes and LTDs during the mid 60’s and 70s. My grandfather was the type to buy cheap, buy three times, so new cars weren’t on his mind. As I recall, the only new car they bought was a 1963 King Midget complete with hand controls, which were required due to my grandfather’s polio. After they bought a used Studebaker President and jury rigged it with a motorcycle-like throttle and brake set up for him, my grandma was free to drive anything from the Midget to any of the Fords. In the mid 80’s, she did actually buy herself a brand new Buick Century Limited, but I can’t recall the year. Since giving it away a few years back, she is currently driving a champagne colored 2002 Camry.
This is the only picture of the King Midget I could find. No grandmother, but behind the wheel is my grandfather.
Terry, you just brought back an old memory for me: When I was growing up in the 60s and 70s, the local jewelry store was owned by a man whose left leg was pretty much useless due to polio. He got around on crutches okay, and he drove an old Chevy truck (1947 or so). Not exactly the typical jeweler’s car, I’m guessing? Anyway, he operated the clutch with a jury-rigged broom handle. I suppose driving something with an automatic just wasn’t enough of a challenge for him!
I suppose my grandfather didn’t need anymore challenges than he already had, because his President had an automatic haha. He still did his own farm work on the family’s Ford 9N tractor, as well as driving himself to work in either the Studebaker or the Midget, which we still have alongside the tractor I might add.
As per my dad, Grand Ma drove a LaSalle just as the Great Depression began. She needed to sell it as the depression got worse, relying on the street car that ran up and down Metairie Road to get to work at the family grocery store. As I understand it, she never drove again.
A 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix in midnight Blue, that inspired my mother to get a Marimba Red one. I dislodged a rock that rolled down a hill and made a den in the fender that made her husband blow!
Like a few others who have posted, neither of my grandmothers drove; they were born in 1892 and 1910.
At that time (and possibly today), New Orleans’ size, layout and mass transit made it possible to get by without a car, or in a family where only one spouse drove. And in those days, the driving spouse would almost always be the husband.
After Hurricane Katrina, people in my suburban community would ask me, “Why didn’t those people just pack up and evacuate?” Once you get outside of old, high density cities, the idea of not owning and driving a car is unfathomable to many.
They both rode street cars.
My grandmother never liked driving the huge second hand Lincolns & Cadillacs my Grandfather favored. My Dad bought her a nice used beige 69 Buick Skylark 4dr sedan that she liked for its small (at the time) size. She called it her ‘Baby Buick’. She hauled me around often in that car when I was a car obsessed boy. It was the last car she drove and to this day when I see a 69 Skylark I`m reminded of the ‘Baby Buick’
I posted this to the “Slowest Vehicle You’ve Ever Been Behind” query from a few weeks ago, and I guess it may be timely here also….… Mid 70’s… I’m driving down the road in my old hometown in upstate NY, and got behind a long line of cars…I thought perhaps I’d gotten caught behind a funeral caravan or something. As I progress down the road, the line shortens as drivers lose their patience with the 15-20 mph or so speed and turn off onto side streets. Eventually, I work my way up to the front of the line and discover the source of the slowdown….a bluehair! Only this is not just any bluehair, ……it is my very own Grandmother, in her lime green Dodge Dart….both hands on the wheel with a white knuckled grip.
Now I loved my Grandma, but I sure disliked the color of that car, and the sound of the starter, and the 4 doors,….But it later ended up with my aunt and uncle, then my cousin, and finally…you guessed it…with me. I patched it up a bit and gave it to my wife who loved it….we called it the Green Hornet and it is pictured here. I added a green spinner to the steering wheel and the art to the trunklid. We drove what was left of it to Florida years ago, drove it for another year or so and sold it to a young fellow. Funny how the car I disliked so long ago is now the object of such good memories.
Very nearly the same thing happened to me once… I’m angrily driving along at 13 in a 40MPH zone thinking “who’s leading this parade??” – get to the front all ready to flip somebody off, and there’s grandma! Squinting over the steering wheel of her Oldsmobile without a care in the world!
My maternal grandmother was quite the opposite. My mom and her siblings referred to her as “Leadfoot” behind her back. Imagine an old lady driving a Civic sedan about 20 mph above the speed limit down the back roads (“I know the road like the back of my hand”) of New England. Somewhat harrowing as a passenger.
My dad’s dad got to be kind of a leadfoot too near the end. Since his big Mercuries were considerably less agile than a Civic, going too fast down country roads with him was genuinely worrisome, and my father eventually refused to ride with him if he was behind the wheel.
That’s not such a bad color. I’ve never owned a Chrysler product, but I liked the looks of these cars. Crisp and clean. I know what you mean about the starters. My father bought a Volare Premiere wagon in’76. It ate three of those horrible sounding starters in as many years.
My paternal grandmother never drove that I know of.
The only thing I saw my maternal grandmother drive (on the farm, of course) was a ’50 Dodge one-ton that had started out in life as a trailer house toter. It had an impossibly short wheelbase, a tiny flatbed, crashbox four speed, and granny behind the wheel smoking her pipe.
I sure wish I had a picture.
My paternal grandmother has an inconsistent taste in cars while my grandfather who passed away in 2005 always favored GM trucks and SUVS.
In my lifetime she’s owned:
’83-’84 gold Buick Riviera (my favorite)
’94 Ford Taurus
’96-’97 Nissan Pathfinder
’04 Nissan X-Terra
Her current vehicle is an immaculate ’98 Honda Accord LX V6 Coupe she got in 2011 with just a little less than 15K miles on the odometer, owned by a disabled man who bought it new but couldn’t drive anymore. Its spent most of its life in a garage. She praises the fuel economy compared to her previous cars and the power of the V6, she calls it a sleeper. It’s safe to say it’s her favorite car she’s owned.
My maternal grandmother on the other hand never drove and my grandfather died years before I came along.
My maternal Grandmother always drove Buicks. My Grandfather was a moderately successful dairy farmer in upstate South Carolina back when you could earn a decent living as a farmer. He always drove Chevy pickups but he kept my Grandma in new Buicks every few years. They were all LeSabre sedans and the earliest one I can remember was a blue 72 or 73, followed by a white 76, then a blue 84 and her last one was a blue 89. The 89 was a total downer for her as she always lamented how much smaller it was but she drove it until she passed away in 1995.
My paternal grandmother, despite living in New York City all of her life, had a drivers license; it seemed most women in NYC from that generation didn’t have (or need) one, but she lived in Queens and since I was very young when she passed away in 1980, the only car I remember her having was a silver Ford Granada.
My Maternal Grandmother is 87 years old, in my lifetime she’s owned:
1978 Olds 98 Regency 4 door in Black with Baby Blue interior
1997 Chevy Astro van Conversion in Teal, Currently has about 55k miles on it (both purchased new from the same dealership)
My Paternal Grandmother who is 70 has owned:
1984 Volkswagen Rabbit 3 door hatchback Diesel 5 speed in Dark Red (bought used)
1989 Chevy Astro van in Dark Green/Gold two tone (very used)
1998 Chevy Metro 3 door hatchback 3cyl 5 speed in Gold (used)
2001 Volkswagen Jetta Wolfsburg Edition 1.8 Turbo 5 Speed in Black with 69k on the clock (used)
One of my great-grandmothers owned a 1968 Chevy Biscayne 4 door, which my uncle still owns to this day. My Paternal Grandfather is a combination of a diesel and Volkswagen nut, he’s owned countless 80’s Rabbit diesel cars and pickups. The Rabbit pickups have been worked to death hauling firewood and farm equipment, somewhere I have a picture of him towing a trailer with an older farm tractor on it, while pulling an old Gleaner Combine all with a VW Rabbit Diesel Pickup, it’s pretty impressive. He’s also had an 80’s Pontiac Fullsize diesel (don’t remember if it was a Bonneville or Parisienne), a 1978 Chevy C10 diesel, and a diesel Chevette. My maternal Grandparents bought all their vehicles brand new, some of the highlights being a 1959 Edsel Ranger 4 door, a 1966 Chevy Bel Air wagon (totaled by my grandmother), a 1973 Chevy Impala wagon (my mom’s first car), and my grandpa’s 1990 Chevy C1500 which I still own today.
This is my Grandpa hauling with his Rabbit
Fantastic shot! I’m going to share that on the front page.
In my lifetime…
’84 Olds Toronado
’86 Buick Regal Limited
’95 Olds Cutlass Ciera
’00 Olds Intrigue
’03 Mercury Sable currently (I liked all her cars except the Sable. HATE Taurii and Sables)
’86 Ford Thunderbird
’91 & ’92 Caddy El Dorados (both were lemons)
’95ish Lincoln Town Car
’99 Chrysler Concorde
’01 Chevy Monte Carlo
’02 Buick Regal
’95 Ford conversion van
’08 Dodge Caravan currently
My maternal grandma worked at the Westmoreland Volkswagen plant..that’s the reason she had the two Jettas in her otherwise Detroit Big 3 car ownership
A Studebaker President.
I am not sure what model
My grandmother’s choice of car actually influenced me. The car she owned the longest was a 1966 Plymouth Belvedere four door sedan, although she said it was a ’66 sold as a ’67. It was baby blue and, of course it had the obligatory plastic seat covers as was popular in the day. When I saw that Richard Petty was driving the same car, I was hooked on Mopar (and Richard Petty/Nascar).
She was usually the driver (sorta wore the pants in that marriage), so she was the decision maker when it came to car purchases. I also remember a few other cars she owned after the Plymouth, such as a ’75 Pontiac Astre wagon, ’77 Dodge Aspen and a ’79 AMC Concord. My dad said she was a Nash fan when he was a kid, in the early 50’s.
My grandmother didn’t drive and didn’t have a clue about driving. Shortly after I got my license, I picked her up to bring her to our house. We were stuck in traffic on a two-lane road and she asked me why I didn’t drive on the other side, because there was no traffic there. My wife’s grandmother drove a 1960 Rambler with a manny tranny, but she didn’t really know how to drive a stick, so she fried clutches with alarming regularity. Actually, she didn’t really know how to drive well at all. When my wife and I were dating, I rode with her once, after which I told my wife
A: I will never do that again
B: I strongly suggest you never do that again either and
C: Please urge your father to convince her never to do it again either.
Her driving was scary!
My paternal grandmother died in 1941, so I never met her and don’t know if she drove-probably not. On the maternal side, My grandmother owned a 1954 Oldsmobile 98; it was blue and white’ I was about 7 or 8 when she first obtained it and compared with our plebian Chevrolet it was the height of luxury. My grandmother never drove, if she needed to go somewhere she was either driven by the housekeeper or one of her daughters. She owned the Olds from 1954 until 1966 when she died, then one of her daughters bought it and drove it for several years.
Neither of my grandmothers ever drove a car.
But one of them did buy a car that my mother drove. The car was purchased for a trip from Cincinnati to/from the Rocky Mountains sometime in the late 1930s. The car was a 1936 Ford coupe.
My paternal didn’t drive either. My maternal grandmother, as far as back as as i can remember, has driven the following: ford Pinto wedding, 2 Ford Tempos, 1 Nissan pickup, 1 geo prism, and 1 geo prism (current car.)
Auto correct bad. Ford Pinto Wagon. Her current car is a Chevrolet Prism.
My Fathers Mother, Grandma K, did not ever drive as far as I know. Not sure about Grandpa K as both of them were being looked after by my Uncles K. I did not know Grandpa K well as he passed on while I was quite young. Grandma K lived to her late 80’s I think.
My mother’s mother, Grandma O, did drive a 1950 Buick Special Dynaflow. Grandpa O passed on near that time, so she needed to learn. When I was in high school I drove the old buick and for a year or so to college. Grandma O was 86 when she passed on. My mother nearly made it to 99.
My fraternal grandmother drove for a few months, hit a patch of ice, totalled a ’70 Fury and broke her nose. She never drove again.
My maternal grandmother was hell on wheels. She started driving in a Model T at 10, then just drove whatever was around, ranging from old pickups to a HUGE Chrysler Imperial. Her last car was…a 1979 Pontiac LeMans with wonky trim and a bad tendency to shut off in traffic. A true lemon and the only new car she ever owned.
My maternal grandmother was a nurse and a farmer’s wife. After my grandfather passed away in his 50s, she continued to drive the blue 51 Kaiser that they owned. It was wrecked after a bee flew into the window and she lost control, and replaced by a pink and white 55 DeSoto Firedome sedan. In 1967 the bought a used beige 64 Catalina sedan, and finally her first and only new car, a silver 69 Catalina sedan.
My paternal grandmother was the wife of a manufacturer. On her honeymoon, she was presented with a new 1929 baby blue Pierce Arrow roadster. The next car she told me about was a blue 41 DeSoto convertible that she drove through the war. In my life, I remember a series of blue Oldsmobile 88 coupes, a 63, 67, and 71. Her last two cars were a white 76 Cutlass Supreme coupe and a white 84 Monte Carlo.
Great thread that brings back a lot of memories of two very, very different ladies.
My grandmothers never drove. But my grandfathers did.
My Dad’s dad:
1956 Ford Zephyr (In Scotland)
1966 Pontiac Parisienne
1972 Dodge Charger
1974 Dodge Monaco
1977 Plymouth Fury Sport Suburban Wagon
1987 Pontiac 6000LE
1986 Chrysler Fifth Avenue (After the engine blow in 6000)
1990 Chrysler New Yorker Landau
1994 Chrysler Intrepid
1999 Chrysler Concorde
2001 Dodge Caravan
My Mom’s dad:
1940 Plymouth Sedan Deluxe
1960 Dodge Polara
1969 AMC Ambassador
1977 Ford LTD
1981 Chrysler Lebaron
1987 Chevy Caprice
1993 Chevy Caprice
1998 Ford Windstar
2002 Dodge Caravan
Series of Coupe DeVilles, from a ’66 with trades every four or five years: the last was a 92. She passed in 93. A 4100 one never gave any trouble, but was slow. I think the earliest one I remember, a 71, was the best- though the 92 was good, but not a true Caddy. A very good Buick, tho.
My Granddad stuck with Olds, even a Diesel once. Oddly he liked his Fargo’esque Cierra the best. He passed in 05, aged 97. The 3100 made it a sleeper.
My maternal grandmother had a couple of nice cars that I remember as a young boy. The one I remember the most was an ’83 Buick Regal – two tone in light tan and dark caramel colour with a dark brown interior. I still remember how nice that car smelled and how the rear seat was so cushiony that it felt like sitting on stuffed animals. As my grandparents were folks who traded cars every few years, her next one was an ’87 blue Olds Cutlass ciera – it was ok but I loved the Buick so much more.
Not my grandmother but an old woman who lives across the street from me drove a 1975 Plymouth Fury Coupe when I first moved here in 1995. The first week I lived here, she bought a brand new 1995 Dodge Neon. Now she has gone for a good looking Chrysler 200.
My paternal grandmother never learned to drive.
My maternal grandmother had a Mini Metro. ’84 I believe. I think it may have been hearing-aid beige. Or was that prosthetic-limb beige?
Worth retelling: My grandmother never drove a car, but her choices significantly affected those of her children. My aunt tells the story of how, in 1954, having finished rearing all twelve of her children after Grandpa died and having moved to town, Grandma had herself driven downtown to the Ford dealer to trade her worn-out model in for a new one. The salesman gave her a hard time about being a widow, trying to do such serious business all by herself without a man to help her (never mind the fact Grandma had taken over the family farm on Grandpa’s passing, re-built all the buildings with the help of my father and uncles, paid off the mortgage in seven years, put all eight of her daughters through college or some sort of post-baccalaureate training, and placed all four of her sons successfully on farms of their own); who did she think she was? Grandma got so mad at this treatment that she picked up her purse (containing all the necessary cash for the purchase-she never used credit), walked out of there, and had my aunt drive her to the next town, where she promptly purchased the most expensive Chevrolet she could find, a beautiful, two-tone, white over emerald green 1954 Bel-Air four door with a push button radio. I’m sure she was happy to have herself driven up and down the main street of town in front of that Ford dealer thereafter until it was retired to the garage during her last years. And the rest of us? We all drove Chevy’s. Wonder how much Ford Motor Company lost off of that deal. Nobody put our Grandma in the corner.
My mother who was widowed at an early age had to put up with some of that patronizing as well, but it made her tougher. I remember a gas station mechanic on a cross-country trip trying the hard sell on a set of new tires, but she refused the purchase.
Neither of my grandmothers learned to drive, and ditto for my maternal grandfather.
Coincidentally, my paternal grandmother would have been 112 today. My maternal grandmother was only one year younger.
Both made it into their 90s.
Late to the party, as usual, but that’s one of the penalties of working nights.
Maternal Grandmother was a nurse, and drove Buicks with one Pontiac around 1960.
Paternal Grandmother has never driven.
My maternal grandmother never learned to drive. The one on my Dad’s side drove a number of vehicles over the 56 years that she and my grandfather were married…
’69 Olds Delta 88 (earliest one I remember)
’77 Buick LeSabre Custom
’89 Ford Crown Vic LX
In addition, Grandpa owned a couple of trucks, which Grandma drove occasionally…
’68 Ford F-100
’83 Ford F-150
Grandpa passed away in 1993. She held on to the F-150 for a few years but it spent most of its time rusting away in the second garage behind the house. She finally got around to selling it
Fast forward to 2002. Grandma, an avid gardener literally until the very end, missed having having a truck when she needed gardening supplies or for when she took cans to recycling. My uncle owned a 4.7-powered ’01 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab 4×4 which she borrowed a few times and had come to like. She ended up buying an ’02 model almost identical to my uncle’s, the only differences being the front seat (his had buckets and a console, she wanted the split bench) and no running boards (she thought they were ugly)
I still own that Dakota today, nearly 11 years after her passing.
Almost forgot one other tidbit about Grandma Elsie’s automotive history. Every single vehicle she and Grandpa owned, from the ’37 Plymouth to the Dakota, were insured by the same company.
Since I have three photos, I’ll do this in three comment replies:
My paternal grandmother passed from cancer when I was still in college. Her last car was a ’77 Nova, but the car I remember best was the stripper Chevy she drove when she still lived in Hollywood, Florida.
My material grandmother passed last September (2014) at age 104 (a month shy of 105). She learned to drive on a Model T. Grandpa was a Pontiac man for years until Granny’s brother-in-law talked him into buying a Mercury Grand Marquis from him (he was the head mechanic at a Merc dealer). The pic shows them in front of a Ford wagon that I don’t remember – might have been my Uncle’s car (left). Granny’s last car was an ’83 Merc G.M. (might be off a year or two), and she voluntarily gave up driving at age 90.
Final pic is of my Mom on her honeymoon trip with Dad. Mom passed in 2010 of a sudden heart attack. The car was borrowed, most likely from my Great Grandparents (on her side) – they owned a Buick dealership next door to the large boarding house they ran in Thomaston, Georgia. When Dad divorced her, Granny gave her their ’71 Pontiac Catalina 4-door (400 cu. in.!). She subsequently drove a Citation, 2nd-gen Taurus and finally a Nissan Sentra. She learned to drive on a Model A. Mom and Dad grew up next door to each other…
I see more than a bit of resemblance there! Great shot.
Great pictures Ed! Thanks for sharing!
Brendan, as you can see from many posts it is not safe to assume that all of our grandmothers drove! My maternal grandmother did not and was something of an agoraphobic who rarely left the house.
However, my paternal grandmother (1892-1978) was the opposite. She loved to “gad around,” as we used to say in the Midwest. Grandma had to have been one of the first women in Indiana to be issued a driver’s license and she enjoyed driving. She and my grandfather shared a car when I was growing up – they had 51 and 53 Nashes and a 58 Chevrolet Bel Air, all bought new, all six cylinder/three speed manuals (they never owned an automatic). In 61 my grandfather sold the Bel Air to my uncle and bought a 60 Chevrolet Kingswood station wagon, a car that was too big for Grandma when he died a few months later.
Hence, in 62 Grandma traded the station wagon for a new Chevy II, the first year for the model. It was a base 100 series in a metallic aquamarine color with the four cylinder and three speed manual. She loved that little car – the only one registered in her name only – and drove it until failing eyesight forced her to give up driving around age 80. When I got my learner’s permit in 65, she and I went driving in the Chevy II a couple of times a week or more. She was not only a superb driver but also a superb passenger: she loved me and trusted my driving. Your question brought up great memories of my wonderful paternal grandparents.
My maternal grandma learned to drive around age 40 (late 1960s) but was never very comfortable driving and rarely drove outside the western suburb of Chicago where they lived at the time. She stopped driving completely when my grandfather died in 2005 and now relies on family and friends for rides to shopping, etc. (At age 84, she’s still quite active at the local Senior Center, and serves on their Park District advisory board) She and my grandpa never had a need for two cars at the same time. I know they had a Spirit of America Impala in the ’70s, a Monte Carlo in the early ’80s, an mid ’80s Chevy Celebrity, and their last car was a ’95 Chevy Lumina.
My paternal grandmother learned to drive in the early ’60s when they came to the US from Chile. She was in her late 20s at the time. She had a ’63 Impala followed by an early ’70s LeMans wagon. My aunt totaled the LeMans in the mid-1970s as a teenager. Grandma then bought a used ’68 Catalina. After the Catalina she bought a ’78 VW Rabbit during the 1978 energy crisis, despite not knowing how to drive a stick ! She learned quickly and drove the Rabbit until the late 1980’s when the school district she taught for offered her an early retirement buyout at age 54! She bought a new ’87 Chevy Caprice at that time and kept that until 2002, when she and Grandpa bought an ’02 Camry. She wasn’t completely thrilled with the Camry (she wanted a Mercury Grand Marquis), but drove it with no problems until she had to stop driving 3 years ago due to Parkinson’s Disease.
Maternal Grandmother had a 65 Valiant 200 Coupe. Her first car when my Grandfather could not drive anymore and she did not like his 59 Plymouth Savoy. She really wanted a Buick Skylark or Special but Grandpap was a Chrysler man and I do not think she wanted to spend Buick money. She eventually gave my parents the 65 for a second car after the 59 they previously given was worn out. She replaced 65 with a 71 Valiant void of any options except an automatic. Her last car which eventually went to my sister.
Paternal Grandmother learned to drive on my Grandfathers 49 Ford or 57 Chevy Delray Coupe. The 57 was replaced in 69 for a 64 Buick LeSabre which was pretty well loaded with AC and power windows and seat. Granddad loved that car but unfortunately could not drive anymore due to a bad heart.before he got it. The Buick got sold around 1982 when they both had to go in a Nursing Home.
My maternal grandmother never drove as far as I know. Both she and my maternal grandather were gone by the mid 1960’s and I was just a kid so I don’t recall their cars. My dad’s mom though could drive although I never saw her at the wheel. I don’t know why she stopped, although probably simply by choice. My grandfather always drove for her. The most interesting car I know of was the Marmon my grandfather owned in the 1930’s. There were many family stories about it…. It was so silent that my grandfather loved to sneak up behind people and blow the horn. My dad used to wonder why the car companies stopped making alunumum cars. My aunt remembers the cut crystal flower vases and wondering why their next car didn’t have them. For my grandmother, it was arriving at the house with the rear wheels aflame. The thing had so much smooth power and torque she never noticed the parking brake was on. Later cars, were the last Ford in the family – a 49, from which the steering wheel came loose in grandfather’s hands. Then was the 58 Olds with more chrome than a Wurlitzer, and a 67 Olds. My grandfather’s last car was a VW Beetle, for reasons I could never understand. After he and my grandmother passed away, I drove it for a few years until the tinworm ate it.
Grandmother 1: 1964 Plymouth Valiant. Grandmother 2: 1970 Plymouth Fury coupe. Trying to find pictures, but I can’t. They both had the cars a LONG time.
My maternal grandmother never drove. Her husband (my step-grandfather) had a ’67 LTD coupe, and later had a ’77 Maverick that I never saw.
My paternal grandmother did drive, but I don’t know if she learned as a young lady, or something she picked up later in life. She was about 60 when I was born, and was becoming the main driver in the house, as Grandpa’s eyes were failing. They had a ’56 Plymouth and a ’65 Dart during that time. When she quit driving in the mid-seventies they gave the Dart to my younger sister. I got to drive it from where they lived in Boise, Idaho to where we lived in Anchorage, Alaska. It was a slant 6/Torqueflite with 50 some thousand miles, and made the trip over the Alcan highway without a hitch. Two other cars from their younger years I remember hearing about were a ’39 Mercury and a Henry J.
My mom’s mom didn’t learn how to drive until she was in her 50s, so she only had two cars in her life: a Plymouth Volare of unknown vintage and then an ’87 Cutlass Supreme which I inherited in 2010 with only 40k miles on it. I almost hate to even bring it up though, because the poor Olds is now a tin can or Sony Playstation somewhere… murdered by an errant BMW less than a year later. It would have cost many times what the car was worth to repair it, but I still hate myself for letting it go.
The only car I can remember my dad’s mom having was a Citation II, but I know she alternated between used Plymouths and used Chevies her whole life. The only other I can name with 100% certainty was a ’58 Biscayne sedan 6-cyl/3-speed, because that’s what I remember my dad telling me he learned to drive on.
Paternal Grandmother in reverse order: 2000 Bonneville, 1990 Bonneville, 1984 Bonneville, 1976 Volare wagon, late 60’s Fury sedan at my birth in 1970. Maternal grandmother: 1986 Celebrity, 1974 Delta 88, 1967 LeSabre at my birth.
One of my grandmothers didn’t drive. The other one always had Fords or Mercurys except for her very last car which was a J-body Olds Firenza. My favorite of her cars was a ’64 Ford Galaxie 500 XL coupe, That XL interior with the console, buckets, all that brushed aluminum and all that mylar looked to my six-year-old eyes like a spaceship.
My grandmother on my father’s side passed away 9 years ago and while she had her driver’s license since the 1950s, she never drove much. She burned the clutch in my grandfather’s Ford when she learned how to drive and after that, my grandfather always bought automatics so she could drive them.
My grandfather’s first vehicle was a ’28 Reo (see picture) which he used to sell orange juice. Then, much later he bought a well used ’39 Dodge, a few new Fords in the 1950’s and 1960s, always lower end models. Then he had a Plymouth Duster, a ’78 Cutlass Supreme, a 1984 Cutlass Ciera Brougham and 1990 and 1994 Honda Accords.
My other grandmother on my mother’s side died 17 years before I was born, in the summer of 1960 at age 36 and I can’t tell if she ever drove a car but she didn’t own one! Many of her sisters are still alive and driving but I can’t tell if she did!
My grandfather drove many Buicks from the 1940s and 1950s (he had a ’56 Special 4 door hardtop and another ’58 4 door hardtop). In 1964, he wanted to replace his ’58 that was always garaged and had only 6000 miles on it for a LeSabre but the Buick dealer couldn’t get one as there was a strike or something like that at the Canadian GM factory so he bought a ’64 Galaxie. Then he had a ’67 LeSabre hardtop coupe, a Mercury Marquis, a 1977 Continental, a 1982 Chevette and he traded both the Continental and the Chevette for a 1985 Hyundai Pony. By that time, his automotive tastes had changed to cheaper is better so he had a very basic Pony with a manual transmission. He traded it for a 1987 Stellar CXL and finally a 1992 Sonata GL which he kept until he died in 1994…
My grandparents and my uncle visiting my parents with their ’67 Ford Custom in 1973. My father’s 1970 Volvo 142L and what looks like a 1973 Canadian Chevy Biscayne.
Great shot! I love the period architecture in the background too!
Here’s another shot showing a few different details. There’s also a Vega that visible on this one.
My dad’s parents didn’t drive at all, they basically rode the streetcars or walked everywhere.
My mom’s mother was a traveling corset/underwear saleswoman from about 1923(with time off to have mom in early 1925) until about 1943 or so. She always drove Mopars, on the job and off, too. She hated slow cars, so no slant six for her, I think her last car had a 383 in it, but I don’t know what engines were available in her last car, a ’64 Polara, like this one, but missing the aluminum strip on the side. Sadly, a guy was going way too fast one morning when it was icy out, and clobbered her Polara when it was only a few weeks old. It was never the same, and she was about to trade it in when she died in 1965 on Easter Sunday, a couple of hours after we had taken her out to dinner. Today, we would be suing the docs that missed all the symptoms of congestive heart failure she was having, but back then all that happened was my parents didn’t pay her hospital bills, our neighbor, who was the main doctor who misdiagnosed her paid it himself.
Neither grandmother (1880’s vintage) drove.
Mother’s mother did not drive until her husband died. Then it was Ramblers, always a white 4 door.
Father’s mother did not drive until after her children were all married with kids, then it was:
a red 65 Mustang fastback(given to her by her daughter)
early 70s pink Thunderbird(given to her by her son)
mid/late 70s blue Granada(given to her by her husband)
My maternal grandmother had a 1927 Essex in the late twenties.
She was student teaching somewhere in the San Joaquin Valley so she drove the Grapevine twice a week — back when it was a very harrowing drive in the skinny-tired primitive cars of the time.
My paternal grandmother finished her driving career with a 78 Caprice. At age 94 she was still chauffeuring around her 70- and 80-ish friends who had already quit driving.
My grandmother loved interesting cars. She drove a BMW 2002 tii, a BMW 1600ti, a Karmann Ghia convertible and a Fiat convertible over the years. She had quite a presence in her furs and stylish sunglasses as she tooled around in her Inka Orange BMW. After she turned 70, my dad insisted she sell the BMW and get an Accord. She was never quite the same after that happened.
I think my paternal Grandmother drove a Morris Oxford, the type sold until recently as the Hindustan Ambassador.
My Nana drove a Ford Anglia Ute, then a Mazda 1300 coupe, an early Chyrsler/Mitsubishi Sigma and finally the Mitsubishi Colt she and her lover died in!
My Grandmother drove an assortment of full size Fords, Mercurys, and Buicks, nothing too unusual there.
The more interesting story is my Great-Grandmother. In 1918 or 1919 her husband bought a Model T and on the first day he ran in off the road into a ditch. Deciding that driving wasn’t for him, he suggested that she drive them home. As far as I know he never got behind the wheel again, and she continued to drive into the 1960s when she was over 90. After the T, they had a couple of Franklin’s in the ’20s-’30s. Her last car was a Chevy II.
FWIW, as far as I know, my grandmothers, only one of which I knew, never drove.
None of my grandparents -all born between circa 1900 and 1915- ever had a driver’s license.
Man-powered machinery, that’s what they drove. Batavus, Sparta and Gazelle are of few of the brands. Having a ride in a car, bus or truck was some sort of adventure to them.
Elderly people started to drive here in the fifties and sixties. In a DAF of course. By far the easiest car to drive for older people because of its Variomatic and small size. Hence DAF’s image: a car only for the elderly and disabled. The little car deserved better, as we realize now, many years later.
The first question you asked a relative, friend or acquaintance back then when he got out of a car with an automatic transmission: where are your crutches ??
Batavus and Gazelle are two brands I recognize immediately. They had very good taste in bicycles.
All these names are still around. Gazelle is owned by Pon, the Dutch Volkswagen and Caterpillar importer (among other things).
The E-bikes gave bicycle-sales an enormous boost here in the past decade. At first mostly older people bought them, but now also younger folks. (Dad has 2 bikes now, a new shiny E-bike and an old rusty “workhorse” bike.)
In the past the companies I mentioned also made mopeds and light motorcycles. Around 1970 my parents bought two identical Sparta mopeds, we didn’t have a car back then. I did some searching, but I’m pretty sure it were these “Spartamatics”. They were white and green, just like this one.
I have my dad’s old Batavus. It is a racer with very skinny high pressure tires made circa 1968. I guess he paid about $500.00 American for it brand new back then.
Dutch bikes have always been expensive, they still are. But they are built to last, high quality has its price. Remember that bikes are often used daily here, all year long. To go to school or to work.
When I was growing up, my Grandparents on my Dad’s side had several cars over the years (they lived in Arizona). They had a 1970 something Ford Pinto wagon with the fake woodgrain. They had a 1977 Chevrolet Impala, 1980 Malibu station wagon, 1985 Dodge Caravan. My Grandfather passed away in 1986 (74 years old). My grandmother also had a 1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic with AC, cruise control, remote trunk release and a V8. It also had crank windows and manual locks. It was her last car and she stopped driving in 2002. She died in 2012 (92 years old). My Grandmother on my Mother’s side (She lived in New Jersey) drove a red 1977 Chrysler LeBaron with the 318 V8 and TorqueFlite tranny for many years. It was equipped with a Landau top, power windows, A/C and it had one of the first digital clocks with LED or vacuum fluorescent display. She also had a Chevrolet Celebrity as well.
My paternal grandmother was in her early 70s when I was born. By that time, my grandfather had downsized to box Panther Grand Marquis. He would buy them every two or three years and she would take over the old one, though I’m pretty sure they would both just try to grab the new one when they went out without one another! Anyway, I know she drove but never remember seeing her drive the white ’83 MGM and sky blue ’86 MGM that were nominally hers. She predeceased him by 7 years when I was about 7. He kept his last two MGMs (the ’86 and a white ’88) for several years thereafter. Before I was born I know she owned a Thunderbird at one point, also a ’75 Maverick which they kept as a 3rd car and later lent to my mom when I was about 5, and a number of big Country Squires through the mid 70s.
My maternal grandmother was widowed 15 years before I was born. I remember her driving a Renault LeCar, Mazda GLC, and Honda Civic DX sedan. She was 10 years younger than my dad’s mother and lived until I was in my mid 20s. I am told she drove a Studebaker President and numerous Dodge Coronets before I was born.
Mine drove only Dodges, the last 2 I remember were a 1969 Dodge Charger, white with Green vinyl top with a 318 V8, she sold it in 1996 with 60K on the clock for $3500 which was $100 more than she paid for it, she was so excited about that. Next she bought a 1996 Dodge Intrepid with the 3.7 V6. She passed in 2004 but a friend of mine still has her Intrepid, which only had 27K on it when she died, I think it has about 80K on it now.
My paternal grandparents, both born in the late 1800s, were polar opposites when it came to cars. Dad told me that his father, who died long before I was born, never got used to cars and was afraid of them. I remember Dad saying that twenties cars didn’t have good brakes. Dad said, “My father, afraid the car wouldn’t stop, would push hard on the pedal, pull back on the steering wheel and yell whoa, whoa!” My grandmother, on the other hand, loved cars and loved driving them, even though she never got her license. She had a ’39 LaSalle and I seem to remember a bullet nosed Studebaker later on. She also loved to tell me about her experiences behind the wheel. She said to me,” I tried to get my license and took the test, which you took with a state police officer in those days. When I finished the test, he said, well Mrs. Robinson, you failed, and you’ll just have to go home and practice some more.” Then she said, ” We’d meet on the road the next day and wave to each other.” It was nothing for her to get into her car and drive 300 miles to Boston. She once told me, ” I was on the highway and three lanes were converging to two. I had a trailer truck on one side and a bus on the other.” When I asked her if she put on the brakes, she said, “Hell, no. I stepped on the gas and got the hell out of there!” Dad told me that all of the stories she had told me were true, and I remember him saying, ” Your grandmother had no business being behind the wheel of a car. She had no sense of speed and would take corners as fast as she went down the straights. She’s damned lucky she didn’t kill herself or someone else.” Most of these things took place before I was born, but I can see her now, behind the wheel of her LaSalle, blowing the horn while the highway crew makes for the ditches. I may have gotten my love of cars from my grandmother, but there are two differences between us. I’m a much safer driver, and I have a license.
Paternal grandma never drove but grandpa did. In my lifetime he owned the following-
1) 1963 Chevy Nova coupe with 230 L-6
2) 1976 Ford Granada coupe with 302 V8
3) 1980 Ford Fairmont wagon with sluggish 200 L-6
4) 1985 Olds Cutlass Supreme coupe with 307 4BBL V8- his last car that passed on to me in 1995.
He also had a 1950’s Buick Roadmaster but I would have to go through the archives to figure out the exact year and owned that car right up into the mid 1960’s. His favorite out all of them was the 1985 Cutlass which started so easy, ran flawlessly, had vey good response and performance, was grandmas favorite color-gold and rode like a more expensive car.
My maternal grandma only had one car- a 1971 Ford Pinto with the sluggish 1.6 liter Kent 4 banger and it was the very first one unloaded off the truck in town. According to her and her son(my uncle) it was a wretched car with zero Winter capability and many trips back to the dealer for repairs! It was the only car she ever owned and she gave it to my uncle who kept it a few years and traded it for a red Slant six Duster.
My grandma passed away at 91 last year. She learned to drive kinda late (1977-78).
I remember going with her to practice parallel parking, which was challenging for her. She drove a 77 Chevy Nova until 1981. that year she drove her daughter’s 1979 Olds Cutlass Supreme until 1984, when she went back to the Nova until 1990.
In 93 she bought a brand new Buick Regal 4 door, then replaced it with a 2002 Buick Century. Both were good cars and very comfortable.
My grandma have 75 year old and still works as lawyer and techer, she drives a 2007 Honda Fit 1.35 with CVT transmission. Her previous car was a 1994 Fiat Uno Mille with carburated 1 liter engine and 5 speed transmission, but she became too old for a armstrong steering. I’m trying to find this little Fiat
Memories of my maternal grandmother in a 1953 Hudson Jet. That’s all I got. She went to her eternal reward sometime after that.
My mother, however, had a Henry J, A Borgward Isabella Kombi, and a ’63 Tempest.
During my lifetime, I always remembered my grandfather having Fords until the early 90’s or so, but I remember seeing either a ’57 or ’58 Plymouth (just like Christine!) sitting in the driveway in old pictures. The rust issues with those are probably what turned my grandfather onto Fords. My grandmother’s last car was a ’98 Chevy Cavalier LS that she bought using my uncle’s GM employee discount. Other cars I can remember are a ’73-’74 Ford LTD, ’80-’81 Mercury Grand Marquis, and an ’86 Mercury Topez.
My favorite was the ’81 Grand Marquis that they had when I was a little kid. I fondly remember floating over bumps in the backseat against the crushed velour seats and fake wood trim everywhere. In fact, every time I open the door of a 70’s-early 90’s Ford, I am presented with the same unique smell of those cars’ interior materials and instantly remember that Grand Marquis from my childhood.
Never met my paternal grandmother. She died very young – in her early 60’s.
My maternal grandmother died in 2010 at the age of 98. She drove a dark blue ’66 Tempest coupe that I vaguely remember as I was a toddler when she had it, a gold ’72 Lemans Sedan with the 350 V-8 that I drove often when I first got my license. She would often brag how that car would easily “peel out”. So, one day with a friend of mine we tried to “peel out” in a local vacant lot and man did it ever! I left a patch that seemed like a mile long! LOL. She then inherited from her son a 1979 Sedan deVille that she drove for three years until I found her the 1987 FWD Fleetwood d’Elegance that would be her last car. She LOVED that car and found it so much easier to handle than the ’79.
Well my grandmother (mom sides) in my life time has only driven two.
89 regal gs coupe
2002(?) grand am
My other grandmother (dads side) has never gotten her liscence but my grandfather apparently was a die hard chevy guy. But I never met him as he died when my dad was 17
My grandfather (moms side) seems to only really drive pick ups. From what I hear he mostly has had f100/50’s
In my life he has had a…
Early eighties brown chevy Scottsdale
orange 86 f150 he bought at an auction in the early nighties.
His first non american vehicle a 92 mazda b200 which my grandmother despises.
My grand father is probaly why I’m more of ford guy than a chevy guy like my dad. I loved that 86 f150, the pumpkin truck
(grandma not included in photo)
Well, well, well…I mentioned it above. 🙂
A 1972-1975 DAF 66 (later sold as Volvo 66) with a 1,100 cc Renault engine.
Wow, grandma’s cars. My situation was weird: both of my grandmothers were named Mary, and then my mom named my sister Mary. Yeah.
Anyway, on my mother side, grandma was GM faithful, even after owning the notorious and terrible Chevy Chevette (which I remember as a slow go cart with doors and a roof). She owned two more vehicles: a 1988 Buick Skyhawk coupe in bright red, and finally a white 1994 Buick Skylark. She was a great woman, but her taste in cars sucked. She would often remark that her Buicks were luxurious and comfortable and my parents’ Volvos were sporty and had firm seats and stiff suspensions, lol.
On my father’s side, grandma was Chrysler faithful for about 30 years. She had the unreliable 1985 Chrysler 600 Turbo convertible, then a 1989 Dodge Dynasty, then a 1999 Concorde and a “classic” 2005 300. Out of no where, she buys a 2010 Mercedes-Benz E350 4 Matic. What an awesome ending to the story.
On my father’s side, my grandmother started driving when she was 12 after successfully wrestling her oldest (then 15) brother for the privilege on the kitchen floor. (My great grandfather apparently had a wicked sense of humor!) Cars with performance were important to both she and my grandfather — they always a nice, if somewhat, flashy, primary car, like the white/red top/white leather ’55 Lincoln, or the brown/white ’76 Grand Marquis, which was replaced by a rather sedate light gray ’88 GM. They usually had Oldsmobiles or Mercurys, always with the largest engine available. They both liked to drive in what I’ll politely call a “spirited” manner, which was very exciting to us kids and provided much humor to the rest of the extended family.
On my mother’s side, she and my stepgrandfather had a loaded all red ’65 Thunderbird, which was the most fascinating car ever to a young kid. After that, it was a succession of Lincolns, with two Mercurys at the end (I was trying to get her in smaller cars). They were more interested in a quality car with a nice ride.
It’s no wonder I’m a Lincoln-Mercury fan.
My grandmothers never drove. The maternal grandmother died in 1924, paternal grandmother in 1976 (age, around 90). Both sides of my family were Slovak, on dad’s side neither of my grandparents ever learned to speak English. Probably the same on mom’s side, as both my parents were fluent in Slovak, which they refused to teach to my sister and myself. Instead, they use the language to speak around us.
I also came from a VERY conservative family. I’m amused to see all the post WWII pictures of mothers and grandmothers wearing slacks. That NEVER happened in my family. My mom (and her sister who lived with us) wore dresses all the time, be it going out, housekeeping work, gardening, whatever. Despite annual family vacations to the shore (3 out of every 4 destinations), mom never wore a bathing suit or went near the water.
Slacks and bathing suits were immoral in her eyes. I was raised Byzantine Catholic, and its a pretty conservative sect.
My maternal grandparents had their golden wedding celebration on May 5, 1955. I don’t think Bedstemor ever drove; Bedstefar’s driver was a 1939 Chevrolet half-ton pickup.
My paternal grandfather had a reputation as a crazy driver, and I have no idea if Pop’s mother ever drove the 1940 (or 1941) Chevrolet coupe that I vaguely remember seeing when we visited their farm in New York when I was a little kid.
My paternal grandmother never drove. Grandpa said she was too nervous. He had tried to teach her once but she put the car in a ditch. My maternal grandmother was a widow from the time I was 4. We all lived in a small town . Actually, she lived about 3 miles outside of town and owned a women’s clothing store in town. The first car I remember her having was a black ’40 Stude Champion. She traded that for a gray ’52 Plymouth. After that she had a bronze ’59 Biscayne, a white ’60 Impala and a green with black vinyl top ’68 Caprice coupe. She still had the ’60 when I started driving in 1964 and I got to use it a couple time for Prom and other things. I am afraid that I was not very nice to the car, but I really liked it. It had a 283 four barrel with Turboglide. It would burn rubber taking off, but the ” Turbid Drive” trans really slowed things down. Her last car was the ’68 Caprice. It was a nice car, but a real slug with the 307. She had always been a good, and fast driver, but her driving skills slowly faded away with age and the Caprice sheet metal took the brunt of it. I like to think that somewhere Grandma is out there in a late model Chevy driving her usual 70 MPH on 2 lane county roads.
As far as I know, my paternal grandma never drove, she died when I was young. My paternal grandfather was elderly and died at 109. My maternal grandmother, on the other hand drove a 1965 Chevelle Malibu 2 door, w/ a 327, HUGE Rochester 4 bbl and a powerglide. It was replaced with a 1975 Dodge Colt 2 dr. automatic. She stated that the “Colt didn’t have the get up and go of the Malibu!” She passed away in 1991. I never knew my maternal gradfather, as he pased away before I was born.
I never met my grandmothers. The only grandparent that I remember was my mother’s father. He bought a brand new 1993 Escort, and kept it until 2007. It died at over 300k miles (COAL to come someday), and he used our 1989 New Yorker until it Ultradrive’d in 2008. He then bought a 2000 Impala (As plain as could be). That was the car that we drove in to his funeral.
My paternal grandmother (born 1911) definitely drove–in fact, she drove an ambulance in the army! This was during World War II, at one of the training camps stateside. That’s where she met my grandfather, in fact, who was serving as a Military Policeman. I guess she learned to drive back home in rural Mississippi, but I’ve no clue what kind of cars she might have driven back then. As far as I know, in her married life, they were always a one car family; by the time I knew her she was in poor health and was no longer driving (passed away in 1991). I suppose she drove the family car at times, though, which included a ’56 Plymouth Belvedere, ’62 Impala, ’69 Caprice, and an early run Dodge Aries K. I’m sure there were more but those were the ones I know of.
My maternal grandmother, born 1925, didn’t learn to drive until my mother was a child. Grandpa took the train to work so they had one car, but she drove around for errands. They had a 1950 Studebaker Champion, 1954 Ford Fairlane, 1960 Ford Galaxie, 1968 Chevy Impala, and a 1970? Ford Maverick. When they moved south in ’75 they needed two cars, so she got a 1975 Dodge Coronet. She still had that when she passed away in 1983.
I never really knew her since she died when I was 2 years old, and my grandfather remarried the following year, so my step-grandmother (born 1929) is who I’ve known as my maternal grandma. She had a 1979 Mazda GLC wagon for many years, until it was traded on a 1993 Mazda Protege LX. That was followed by a 1997 Ford Escort (a mistake, she hated it), and a 1999 Mazda 626 which she also kept for quite some time. Around 2007 or 2008 her son decided she needed a newer car and took her down to the Chevy dealership where he bought all his cars, and she came home with a new Chevy HHR. Despite her initial lack of enthusiasm as it wasn’t a Mazda, she grew to rather like it. She’s still very much alive at age 85, and still has the HHR, though she doesn’t often drive anymore and stopped driving after dark years ago.
My dad’s mom drove a 50 Ford , 62 Valiant , 64 Rambler American my dad sold her , 69 Mercury Montego. My mom’s mom never drove.
My paternal grandmothers last three cars where a 86 chevette, a 78 (iirc) Capri and the car I have a vague memory of was a green fiat 124 iirc. The fiat being when I was maybe 3 or so the Capri 4 to 8 and the chevette from 8 to 13. She passed just around my thirteenth birthday. Other grandmother drove only once smashed into a parked car and never got behind the wheel again.
Currently, my grandmother drives a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo with the inline-6 that she bought in 2006. She almost traded it for a Jeep Liberty, but ultimately she decided to keep it for the long haul. It’s been really good to her.
Before that, it was a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee (same engine) for a fairly short time, as she bought it in 2003 or thereabouts to replace her 1990(?) Chrysler New Yorker.
The New Yorker was purchased around 1992, shortly after I was born. She had this car up until I left grade school. Then she was bitten by the Jeep bug. I have fond memories of the New Yorker as I had taken some long road trips with my grandparents as a young child, and for a K-car, it was very nice and comfortable. Before the New Yorker, she had a 1984(?) Lincoln Town Car, which I would imagine would be equally nice.
I don’t know what she’s had before, at least in order. I do know she had a Dodge Dart, a Ford Galaxie and a Pontiac of some sorts, but that was way before I was born.
My grandmother on my dad’s side is a big fan of Volvo, particularly station wagons. She currently drives a candy red Volvo XC70 (2005-ish?). I’m told that she has never owned anything but a Volvo.
My grandmother in Pittsburgh drove a pristine first-generation Chevette, not a mark on it and perhaps the best preserved all-original Chevette in the world when she traded it in. Of course, it had less than 20,000 miles on it when she got a new car two decades later. That one was a stripper Dodge Shadow. And I do mean stripper, she actually paid to have the air conditioning removed (which makes no sense, but she hated air conditioning so away it went). Those were the only two cars she had from the time I was aware until the day she died.
My other grandmother’s choices were just as plain-jane. She had a Fairmont (one of a his-and-hers set with my grandfather). When that wore out she got a 1984 Aries sedan. Later my uncle kept them in vehicles, usually Accords, so she never bought another car.
The most excitement my family has ever seen in vehicles was when my uncle bought a second-gen Acura Legend. One of my other uncles had a Pacer once, but everything else was as mainstream as vanilla pudding. The fact that I drive manuals marks me as the most flamboyant vehicle owner in my family. Pathetic, no?
Brendan, much like in your case, I had a grandmother who never learned to drive, never had a license and never owned a car. I guess she never had an interest in driving. Her birthday would have been Monday, though not sure what age she would be were she still living. Now my other grandmother, the only car I remember her owning and driving was a 1956 Chevy with a manual transmission. She passed many years ago, so not sure of her birthday nor what age she would be. Actually, fairly certain both grandmothers would be over 100.
I’ll go on to mention that my mom is 87 – well, only about 7 weeks from turning 88 – and is a great-grandmother. She has been in somewhat gradually declining health this past year, and my brother has said she shouldn’t be driving anymore, to which I agree. She’s had a green, 2000 Buick Regal for at least 8 or 9 years. And her first car was a green 1950 Plymouth.
My paternal grandmother drove a Plymouth Volare. She bought it new in 1976 in Sunbury, PA. She lived in Danville, PA. I have faint memories of a blue car prior to the Volare, but I’m not sure what it was. The Volare was an ugly tan color with the vinyl roof and vinyl seats. She drove it until she stopped driving — somtime in the early 80’s. At that point, my aunt, her daughter, and my uncle, her other son, used the car. They were not good at maintenance. They also lived in Philadelphia and commuted to NJ for their jobs, round trip about 100 miles. They worked together. They seemed to shuffle the Volare between them for a few years. The Volare became mine in 1987, after I turned 16. I drove it for about a year, and then my brother drove it. Finally, it was junked.
My maternal grandmother did not drive. She walked or took the bus. My maternal grandfather did drive, and I remember 3 cars: a mid-70’s Buick, which I think was a Colonade; a 1980 Pontiac Grand Prix; and the only new car he ever owned, a 1988 Dodge Caravan. My Grandpop’s Buick was a greenish color with a white vinyl roof. The Pontiac was a bit more classy — white with a partial blue vinyl roof.
I miss all of my grandparents very much.
My Granny on one side drove a 66 Biscayne untill the middle 80’s and it was sold for a 80’s Malibu (can’t remember the year)–My other Granny died late 70’s but I do remember he having a Chrysler with the slanted headlights
My maternal grandmother drove a 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 with the lumpy 352 engine, Cruise-O-Matic, 4-wheel drum brakes. She had it repainted at Earl Scheib 3-4 times. Originally it was gorgeous in factory black, but then it was bilious metallic green, then a baby blue, and finally a dull beige. It was hit in the ass by a Volvo 264 in the late 70s while parked in front of our house and the many layers of cheap paint showed clearly. The Volvo driver suffered some pretty serious facial lacerations, and his insurer wanted to total the Ford, but we insisted they fix it, and they did.
Driving with her was an exercise in terror. She did not learn to drive until she was in her 50s. After she passed my sisters and I took turns driving that barge. Stopping it was always terrifying and took both feet on that 18″-wide pedal. Eventually it was sold and I saw it a few years later, all beat up, and I wanted to punch the driver.
I’m so old that neither of my Grandmothers drove. They both lived in smaller towns and could have benefited from driving but didn’t. Their husbands drove and were car enthusiasts. One grandfather even sold cars for a while. I even had an aunt that didn’t have a license. She also worked her whole life and depended on my Uncle for rides or the bus. Seems strange now but then it was not uncommon.
What a fun question! I loved my grandmothers both very much, and loved their cars too!
My maternal grandmother passed away in 2005. In my lifetime she had, in reverse order:
-1997 Toyota Rav4, minty green
-1993 Honda Civic EX coupe, bright red
-1981 Chevrolet Camaro, bright red (she had this one the longest and I thought it was so cool and not grandmother-like)
-1974 Buick Apollo Hatchback (red, black vinyl top, Buick road wheels and 350 V8)
-1973 Volkswagen Squareback, yellow
My paternal grandmother died young in 1983. Her last car was a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme coupe, Carmine red with a white landau top and white bucket seats, fully loaded. I loved this car! When she died it was passed to my Dad who kept it until the late 1980s. I remember the day he came home and told me he had to take it off the road because the frame had rotted and it could fall apart. It looked so good outside though! I think he couldn’t bear to part with it, and it sat by the side of our garage until the early 1990’s. I used to play with it and drive it around the driveway pre-license age. They had it towed away to the junkyard one day when I was in school because I think they knew I couldn’t stand to watch it go. I still have the center caps from the Rally wheels on it!!
a ’53 Chevy Bel Air 4-door post sedan. It was the only car she ever had, and se owned it from 1954 until she died in 1987.