Earlier today, Brendan Saur shared a picture of some of the cars on his street when he was but a tot. Which made me think, do we car-crazed people who hang around here ever forget the cars on the streets where we grew up? I know I haven’t.
The cars in the neighborhood where I was raised were somewhat older than those around the home of five-year-old Brendan. But I remember them vividly. I was born in 1959 and lived in a middle class subdivision that was about my age. Most neighbors bought their cars new, and an Oldsmobile or Buick was mostly as extravagant as anyone got. I won’t go into a house-by-house list (although I could) but will share a few of the most interesting. First was the red 1964 Studebaker Avanti that my best friend Tim’s dad bought new and kept until long after I had moved away. The hot one with the supercharged R-2 engine and the four speed stick, it is a car I have never forgotten.
Tim’s mom later got a hot red ’72 AMC Javelin AMX with gold hood stripes, bucket seats and a 360. The ’72 Javelin was not all that common as it was, but the tricked-out AMX was much more of a rarity than I understood at the time.
I also had Pontiac GTOs coming at me from both sides of my house, and can count a 1965, ’66, ’68 and ’71 models, all of which I rode in. The navy blue ’65 was owned by an indulged kid, but the others were owned by a buddy’s mother. Of the four, the ’71 was the only automatic.
Finally, there was the elderly couple a block behind us who liked their Imperials, which they always bought used. At different times, they had a 1964, a ’67 and a ’72, any one of which I would love today.
So, howabout you? What were the most interesting cars on the street where you grew up?
I had a neighbor with a Porsche 944. It seemed everyone else drove gaudy Brougham-ized Fords and Lincolns… a casualty of growing up during the Malaise Era.
I know what you mean. These that I mentioned stood out because they were surrounded by Impalas, Olds 88s and other big ordinary 4 doors.
We lived in an apartment until I was 10, so our mostly working-class neighbors didn’t have much that was expensive or exotic. A few were memorable, though. One lady in the building had a mid 80’s LeBaron convertible, one of the angular ones from before the hidden-lamp restyle. Burgundy with white leather. A friend’s father had a black Vega Kammback, which even in the 80’s was something of a rarity. Someone in the same building owned a first-series Valiant, with what seemed like a massive grille to a kid plus those wacky fins. It lived under a car cover most of the time, but “escaped” occasionally. Another fellow a building or two away had an older Peugeot 504–I always liked the big chrome lion mascot. And one of the most interesting to me was a ’65 Bonneville coupe owned by someone in the upper part of the complex. Like the Valiant, it lived under a cover the majority of the time; unlike the Valiant, it didn’t seem mobile. Beat up but tons of character with faded baby blue paint.
I do remember a Peugeot on our street… because as a kid I couldn’t figure out the name. I asked dad what was this “Puke-gut” car.
Being born in ’77, any cool cars to me came from the ’60s or early ’70s, and rusty Michigan did most of them in. With that being said, my parents’ own driveway had my (at the time, very rusty) ’65 Mustang and my mom’s ’88 Mustang GT convertible, which was the coolest car on the street by a long shot.
A neighbor kid who was probably five years older than me had a ’66 Chevelle two-door sedan that he had painted “Heart Breaker” on the back of. The car itself was cool, even if the graffiti wasn’t. Some older neighbor girls had a beat-up, rusty framed ’66 Galaxie hardtop that they painted pink. It didn’t last long, and even as a 12-year-old, I noticed a completely missing passenger frame rail. Yikes! I remember that it had 352 badges.
An older guy in the neighborhood had a mint ’66 Galaxie hardtop in aqua and an even minter ’72 Mach 1 with a 351-2V three-speed. It was bright yellow and I lusted after that thing whenever I saw it. He had it up for sale for the princely sum of $8500, but I couldn’t afford it! It’s strange we lived in such a Ford neighborhood in a GM town.
I grew up in a working class neighborhood in the fifties and sixties and that meant Fords, and Chevies, and Plymouths, oh my. There was a Hudson Hornet at the other end of our block for a couple of years. The youthful me was always impressed with how roomy this beast seemed, and by all of the chrome on the dash. One of our next door neighbors had a Mercury with the breezeway roof and I thought that was cool. Other than that there was little of automotive interest on my street, with the exception of a couple of older guys with hot rods. One guy about four years older than me had a ’50 Chevy fastback with a 327/4 speed combo inserted in place of the stovebolt. Another guy had a ’53 Ford into which he had transplanted a 390 out of a Thunderbird. It was quick in a straight line but I’m sure it handled like a pig.
In the late 80’s/early 90’s the most interesting cars I remember seeing on our street are a 1971 Chevy Impala 4 door hardtop, a 1973-76 Ford Gran Torino Wagon and a 1975-78 Mercury Bobcat.
The two most interesting cars where I grew up were my cousin’s 1946 Plymouth that he stuffed a 354 Hemi into. I was just a snot nosed brat when he had it.
Then there was the state troopers 62 Ford that everyone but him claimed had a SOHC engine in it. I know the thing ran like a bat out of H… with it’s butt on fire. He hauled me down at 95 MPH with in 2 miles from a dead stop
A Range Rover Mk1, definitely. In exactly this color. Owned by a contractor who also had several horses; he and his family lived a few houses down the road. About 40 years ago.
Nice body roll!
Unfortunately I never had the pleasure to see the man cornering like that…
Although I’ve never seen one in person, I’ve always liked the early Range Rover Mk1.
I was born in 1957 in a working class part of Eastern England’s fen country.A few neighbours had cars I remember besides my parents.There was a battleship grey Rover with Lincoln style suicide rear doors,a 2 tone Mk1 Zephyr still in good condition for over 10 year”s old.My parents had Ford’s usually British 6 cylinder Zephyrs,a Mk1 Consul and Cortina and a pair of Falcons from the USAF base near my Grandparents.
Tony was a young rocker who was always fixing and selling bikes and cars at the end of our cul de sac,he had an American 55 Ford wagon, Pilot,various British Fords,Vauxhalls and Hillmans and a few cars from the USAF base passed through his hands.I remember seeing a turquoise flat top Impala with a 6 and 3 on a tree at his parents house.He also fixed and sold bikes usually Triumphs and BSAs.
It would be a tossup between a B5.5 VW Passat wagon formerly owned by a neighbor 2 houses down (replaced by a MK6 Jetta SW TDI after an accident), a Jaguar XJ6 (recently sold, but cataloged for a future CC article. The owner lived on a different street than me, but in the same subdivision, which is size of a block), a mint 1998 Pontiac Grand Prix GT coupé owned by a next door neighbor, a 1964 Dodge Polara max wedge owned by a chain smoking GM retiree and his wife, and a 1971-72 Chevy Chevelle/Malibu SS 454 owned by a house on a different street, but same subdivision.
Our next-door neighbours (the area was then countryside, now the outer suburbs of Vancouver) had a Gullwing Mercedes.
I think I need say no more.
Well, maybe I can say more.
At the other extreme, Mr Rose down at the corner had a yellow and white BMW Isetta.
My best friend’s father drove a Mercedes 200 Fintail and had a NSU Prinz in the garage.
Another friend’s mother drove a 1951 Ford sedan, later replaced by a 1957 Chevy sedan. Just old beaters in the early 1970s…
Here goes …
Across the street the man had a Borgward, then a Beetle, and finally a Fintail until he passed away long after I’d moved out.
Up the street our next-door neighbor sold Lloyds out of his tiny one car garage, before I can remember, but there was a decaying new LLoyd in there until I was in high school. By the mid-60’s he drove some kind of ’50’s Mopar wagon that was not memorable, but replaced that with a 2nd gen Ford van that he converted into a camper by cutting out the floor and lowering it.. He was very proud of the fact that he didn’t raise the roof like other van conversions.
Up the street from him the family had a ’53 or ’54 Chevy that always seemed dowdy to me compared to the already legendary tri-5’s, though nobody called them that then. In the early ’60’s they added a Valiant and then replaced the Chevy with a ’64 Impala, or maybe a Biscayne. That in turn got replaced by a ’72 LTD which was their first car with whitewalls, and a vinyl roof. The first brougham in our hood … Sometime in my adulthood the Valiant disappeared, though I drove it a few times, and then the LTD was replaced by a 2nd or 3rd gen Escort. None of those cars were in themselves interesting to me, but the lack of brand loyalty and then moving to 4-cylinder subcompact after decades of larger car ownership was interesting in hindsight.
Down the street, our next door neighbor usually had big flashy Chryslers, culminating in a Córdoba which ended up sitting curbside a lot in his final years.
Below him was another import family; at various times, a TR3, a Volvo 544 and an Austin America. The Austin replaced the Volvo but the TR3 outlasted them both until the late ’80’s.
Finally, before this gets too dragged out, a large family with kids my age, who had a mid ’50’s Ford wagon when they moved in, almost immediately replaced by a brand new 1st gen Tempest wagon. 4 cylinder, rope drive. They drove until they moved, replaced by a young couple with a bright orange Honda 600Z coupe. Pretty soon they had kids and bought a Datsun 510 wagon, 4 speed. My mom taught their mother-in-law who lived with them, to drive a stick … I think the younger generation had no patience.
Most memorable? Probably the Borgward, and the Fintail, followed by the 600Z. All of this in California, starting in the early ’60’s (I was born in 1956).
Growing up in the 1960s as a small boy, I always saw the same ’58 Plymouth drive by, and was always impressed with the tailfins. The neighbors on one side had a 55 or 56 black Ford which they were always working on, but I thought it was a macho car! Eneighbors on the other side kept a brown and white ’57 Chevy Belair sedan for years, and every now and then a guy in the neighborhood had an old Auburn boat tailed speedster that he drove by in, and I remember it being loud! Later in the early 70s, after we had moved, two other neighbors always had some kind of muscle car…a 65 customized Ford Falcon, a 64 Corvette ( I got to ride in that one), 68 Camaro, 65 GTO, and a 72 AMC Javelin. Where are all of those cars now???
In Florida in the 80s, a neighbor and father of a playmate had a yellow Datsun, probably the 300ZX. This was notable because on the Treasure Coast at the time, most people (all retired and born between 1900-1930) were driving Panthers, Cadillac Broughams, FWD and RWD GM C-Bodies, or Chrysler Fifth Avenues. The entire place was a mess of hood ornaments and whitewalls. Except that Datsun. It stood out.
Later on, in Connecticut in the early 90s, I remember older cars standing out; two old ladies (sisters or perhaps in hindsight they were a couple/”friends”, I never knew) lived in a house down the street and had an oxblood mid 70s Ford Gran Torino coupe. Seemed an unlikely choice, but it was their car. They never drove alone.
Another older lady with a lead foot would roar by in the morning in a grey ’79-’85 Olds Toronado with bad exhaust. My dad nicknamed her the “Little Old Lady From Pasadena” such that for a while I referred to Toronados as “Pasadenas”.
Around the corner was a small strip of commercial stores, and there, on a day to day basis, would be parked a dark green mid-70s Ford LTD sedan, of the hide-a-way headlight era.
Finally, as the 90s progressed and we moved to a nicer town and nicer neighborhood, I remember 80s cars as the new standouts; two elderly neighbors’ two Plymouth Reliants (one the original box, one the mildly facelifted ’86+), and our next door neighbors’ Dodge Colt wagon and Toyota Cressida. Also the showy neighbor who always had to have the the hottest/trendiest new car and would lease; thus his driveway contained the revamped MB in the late 90s, the PT Cruiser, the Saab convertible, the Hummer, the new Beetle, and pretty much everything else that was different and new between 1997-2003, for 6-12 months at a time. I think he has kicked the habit since.
the guy across the street had a gorgeous ’67 Eldorado in a deep metallic brown..
up the street was a ’63 Impala SS. White w/red interior. Auto. A few doors down was a ’67 GTO. And us? ’54 DeSoto with glasspacks, ’65 Corvair Spyder coupe and our ’68 GTO convertible (still have that one). We rocked a pretty cool cul de sac.
Next door one side was a Jaguar 420G and on the other side an Austin 2200 Landcrab and a Hillman Imp, and later a Mini Clubman.
Mum and Dad had a Triumph Toledo and a Chrysler 2 Litre at the same time
Some of the most interesting cars were in my own family. My oldest brother drove a ’46 De Soto when he was in high school. It had Fluid Drive and an amazing amount of chrome on the dashboard. My next older brother had three Fords at various times, a ’39 Deluxe Coupe, a ’49 standard sedan (the ex-bootlegger car) and a very nice ’59 Mainline two door. The topper was owned by one of my teachers, who lived a block away. She had a gorgeous ’59 (I think) Studebaker Hawk, deep burgundy with black leather. Sometimes she’d give me a lift to school in that Stude – fast!
I grew up in the 90s-early 00s so there were only so many memorable cars. The cars I most remember were the first next door neighbors at our second house who had a mustard yellow C3 Corvette, which I got a ride in, the house across the street which had a white 70s rubber bumper MGB and initially a white 89 Lebaron convertible(they actually traded up and up until the final Sebring Verts), a few blocks away there was a house that had two Jaguar XJSs, one ratty one and one really clean one with gold spoke BBS wheels(sadly they’re now gone and the house is badly deteriorating).
Kind of funny thinking about it now, those all seemed so cool and exotic to me at the time but it turns out I was salivating over a K car, 3 very undesirable British Leyland sports cars, and disco Vette.
We moved around a lot, but two neighborhoods in particular had more old cars than the rest. The first was in north Seattle, around 1991 – 94. Our neighbor was a great old lady from Germany who had lived on the block since the late 60’s. She was like a grandmother to me. She always had a teal green ’68 Buick Wildcat 4-dr hardtop that I think she handed down to her son, even though he lived elsewhere and the car was always parked at her house when he wasn’t driving it. For a short period of time, he tried to buy her a 1975 Chevy Impala to drive, but she didn’t like it and the Wildcat ultimately stayed for years to come. Down the street, another neighbor had a 1976 Lincoln Continental Mark IV, light gray inside and out. . .my dad almost bought that car but decided it wasn’t so practical for our family. Around the corner from that house was a light blue ’73 Impala Custom coupe with a black vinyl top. I remember riding my bike past that car on a regular basis, and being fascinated by it to the point that I briefly attempted to build a life sized replica soap box car out of wood. That quickly proved to be too big, heavy, and expensive to bother- never mind it would have required real brakes and a decent engine to move the thing down the street!
After that we moved to Edmonds for a year, and once again, there were lots of old cars in the neighborhood. One couple had a pair of brown 1975 Monte Carlos. A widower had a black 1959 Lincoln Continental sedan with the backwards slanted rear window. It was just parked in her carport, but even under a patina of dust, it was gorgeous. Yet another neighbor had a 1965 Chrysler 300, and that car was a daily driver. But I was most smitten with a dark brown 1972 Buick Electra Limited, with a tan vinyl top and interior. It was ratty from sitting outside under a cedar tree for many years, but I soooo wanted to buy that car. The parents did not approve, and it was probably for the best given the rust issues it had! Ah, good memories. . .being a kid was great when it came to cars.
Northern Virginia in the ’70s: Next-door neighbor had a Porsche 356 under a cover that he was going to fix up one day. He never did. Probably the most interesting daily driver was a Fiat X1/9 that an empty-nester couple had in their driveway. We weren’t too impressed with it as kids, since our taste in sporty cars ran more in the direction of Firebirds and Trans Ams. Another neighbor had one of the ungainly four-door Thunderbirds with the laundau irons on the roof. It was white with a black top, which didn’t flatter the already, ahem, controversial styling.
It was an older neighborhood with big lots — some were an acre or more. One of the neighbors ran a Mustang restoration business out of his home garage, and his yard was always littered with at least a half-dozen Mustangs in various states of disassembly. Another one of the bigger lots had a couple of old Jaguar Mark 2s sitting side-by-side in a yard full of unmown grass, rotting away. They disappeared when that family moved out. I remember hoping at the time that they didn’t go to the crusher.
Northern Virginia is great for car shopping. Not only is the area affluent but there a lot of genuinely intelligent, worldly, educated people around. That makes for interesting taste because there’s more to aspire to than mere status (though there’s plenty of that as well). Mid-Atlantic region remains a great place to find classic imports for sale today.
Anything on the block that was 40s era and a coupe. There were a batch of them. We had a 41 chevy coupe and I have no idea why. Possibly because my sister fell half way out of the passenger door of the sedan we had before. My favorites tended to be Fords with flathead v8s. I remember a bunch of them but one 1940 and one 49 coupe were my favorites. I have no desire for exotic machinery but you can light me up with one of these.
Where I grew up in Toronto in the 60’s and early 70s, there was the standard mix of large American cars and a few imports, many of which we’d probably love today but not remarkable at the time. Sprinkled in this mix, however, were some cars I did notice. I remember across the road a young family’s only car was a blue MGB GT. A neighbour two doors down had a Citroen DS, post-69 with the swivel lights. Three blocks away was a BRG Jensen CV8. And the piece de resistance was, in 1972, a then-new and stunning Ferrari Daytona Spider in silver. One of the Scaglietti originals, because no one was as yet chopping Daytona coupes. Driven by a darkly mysterious guy who I was told later had gone to jail for fraud…
Since my parents lived in the same house on the same street in a solidly middle class Los Angeles neighborhood, from 1948 until dad passed away in 1980 and mom in 2003, I saw a LOT of interesting neighborhood cars come and go through the decades. Of course my greatest memories are from the 50’s and 60’s, when our little 15-house cul-de-sac seemed to radiate new cars on a regular basis. At various times there was a ’58 Thunderbird, a ’67 Thunderbird, a ’60 Ford Fairlane 500, a ’53 Kaiser Manhattan, a ’54 Ford Skyliner, a ’68 Pontiac Grand Prix, a ’49 or ’50 Lincoln Cosmopolitan, a ’62 Thunderbird, a ’53 Mercury Monterey, a ’54 Plymouth Savoy, a ’62 Ford Galaxie 500 XL, a ’57 Dodge Coronet, a ’51 or ’52 Packard, a ’57 Chevrolet station wagon, a ’57 Plymouth Belvedere, and our own family’s stable of cars, early ’50’s Fords, a ’55 Oldsmobile 88, a ’58 Chevrolet Bel Air, a ’59 Ford Galaxie, a ’63 Mercury Monterey, a ’65 Lincoln Continental, and my own ’64 Pontiac LeMans and ’70 Cougar XR-7. I could go on, but you get the idea. It was a fairly close-knit neighborhood, and families stayed put for a long time, so every time a new car appeared at a neighbor’s house, seemingly everyone in the ‘hood would come out to ooh and aah, and I would be leading the pack, investigating every square inch of the new arrival. Neighbors were always out washing their cars in the front driveways on weekends, which led to much interaction and car kibitizing. A lot of fun memories of a bygone era. As the years wore on, even though I was back visiting mom frequently, I gradually lost interest in who was driving what, and as cars evolved into so much sameness through the 80’s and 90’s, it seemed as if there was nothing remarkable on the street anymore.
I almost forgot, of all the interesting 50’s and 60’s cars that inhabited our street, one in particular ALWAYS caught my attention, and it didn’t live there, but visited our next door neighbor frequently. I’ve mentioned this story before, I believe, but the sister of our neighbor often came swooping up our hill in her ’62 Eldorado Biarritz convertible, black with red leather interior. She would park it in front of our house because the cul-de-sac straightened out there (much to my everlasting delight), and it sang a siren song to me. It mesmerized me, it was a stunning vehicle, it represented the pinnacle of motordom to me, and I would always be out there looking it over. Never got to ride in it, but if I could conjure up a classic Cadillac in my own driveway now, it would be that one.
I never had that opportunity, but I could see myself in your shoes drooling over that ’62 in much the same way. One of my favorites, I’ve put together a good mental picture of your scenario.
The closest I came was my first ride in a Cadillac. The neighbors behind us had a ’62 Sedan DeVille, cream or pale yellow if you prefer, with a red interior. I was about 6 and the lady owner took my mom, sister and I ice skating Along with her kids.
My earlies memories are from about 1985. The cars in our cul de sac seemed quite mundane, but I’d like to get my hands on just about any of them now.
We had a Fiat 126, next door had a RWD Opel Ascona (it was an automatic, which was enough to make you stare in those days) and two doors along had a Vauxhall Viva HC. On the other side of us, his ‘n hers Mk2 Escorts. A Renault 4 next along. The guy across the road was obviously a Rootes man, had a newish Talbot Solara and a Hillman Imp.
Next to him was a rubber bumper MG Midget, probably quite new but even at 4 yrs old it seemed special to me, and of another era. A teacher at the end of the road had an Audi 100 which seemed very glamorous and was always shiny. My strongest memories of these cars are when the neighbourhood housewives would go out in the snow and help to push a car, shoving their doormats under the driven wheels. Our 126 never had any bother.
The people around the neighborhood I grew up in had the most boring, nothing cars imaginable. The Reeds had a 64 Fairlane sedan, the Ryans a series of Ford and Merc wagons. The Marshs, Chevy wagons. The family next to my grandparents had a white 65 Chevy Biscane, before they got radical and bought an AMC Hornet sedan.
My tribe must have been the local radicals: Studebakers, Ramblers, a 59 Plymouth with huge tailfins.
The Ryans did better in the early 70s: the father had a Mark III Continental and one of his daughters had an MGB for a bit. Sort of made up for the other daughter’s ratty Pinto.
A neighbor had a vega or monza wagon that never moved until they moved away in the mid 90s, that was probably the most interesting one I can think of.
My neighbour ( across the road from my house )restored cars..as a hobby.
he had an Austin Cambridge
A model T Ford
and a Fiat Topolino or little mouse in Wine over black.
None of these cars were ot on the road a lot..but you saw them regular.
His daily driver for the most part was a Nissan Bluebird 910 series
One of my neighbours had a Chrsyler Alpine..which he had for years and the got an Alfa 33 in burgandy colour.
I think the “poshest” car as a daily driver was an Audi 80..That was in metallic gold..Always remember that car..From 1987 the hatchback shape.
Somebody had a Renault 12 estate..which seemed to last forever..IIRC correctly he was a carpenter.
There was a policeman with a VW Beetle..Had it for years.
My best friends dad had a series of Mazda 323’s From the 3rd , Fourth and fifth generations..And they all seemed to have been sky blue.
In my day, the neighbours kept their cars a long time.
Only my next door neighbour changed his car every 3 years or so.
And always for an Opel Kadett ..saloon models only.
How did I forget???
One of the residents on the street much further down the street worked as a DJ in the National Radio station he had a Ford Capri..MK 3..It was in a sort of Rose/pink(ish) sort of colour.
Was only the 2.0 Litre model…but still.
A few streets away there was another estate and they had ALL the interesting cars.
A Mark 1 Honda Civic.. (Very rare car..Only ever saw one.in the country until my brother arrived with one and I got to drive it a bit )
Somebody had a metallic blue/greeny Audi 100 , the C1 4 door saloon.
Audis were as rare as hen’s teeth then.
A nissan Paririe MPV/people mover ( this was the 1980’s- so this was a glimpse of the future back then )
A Honda Aerodeck..with the flip up lights.( I never knew what that car was..until I read the back- And I thought I knew cars)
An unrestored Jaguar Mk 2 ( in Battleship Grey)and several Riley Elfs ( same address )
And a Fiat x/19..
Awhh..heady days..that’s a good mix of cars..I think.
I was spoiled !!!!!!!!
Our next-door neighbor in ’60s Palo Alto was an architect and car buff who always had eclectic choices in front of his house (whose old single-car garage was too full of other stuff to hold a car). The first one I can remember was the 1953-ish Morris Minor Convertible he’d had from new; this was later joined by a 1955 Buick Roadmaster that he obtained when his mom decided to give up driving.
After the Minor died or was sold, he purchased an early (’71 or ’72) Dodge Sportsman Van with the windows all ’round, useful for carrying his three kids on trips but still an unusual choice in place of a station wagon at the time. But, they had wagons too, and there they were loyal to Opel: first, a 1966 Kadett, and later two Ascona/1900 wagons (the first of these was destroyed by their teenage son in a single-car accident).
Our neighbors across the street had an early 50s Plymouth wagon, and my ever-cheap parents purchased it from them for around $100 when they put it up for sale. Sadly, it was on its last legs mechanically then — though no rust, and still nice-looking, this being California — and was soon replaced by an equally decrepit 1964 Chevelle wagon …
Given that my childhood was spent in rural Indiana in the 50’s, almost anything in our local community would be of interest today, whether it be a Henry J, a Studebaker pick-up, or the next door neighbor’s 57 Chevrolet 210. Lots of pick-ups and and garden variety Chevies and Fords.
Five cars especially stand out in my memory:
A secretary down the road from us had inherited wealth and in 55 bought an all white New Yorker two-door hardtop with A/C and power windows. She had platinum blonde hair and made for quite a sight driving down our road on a hot summer day with the windows rolled up and the Airtemp turned on.
My mother’s good friend had a new 60 Lincoln Continental four door hardtop in metallic green, also with A/C and every option. A huge car and a rare sight in that area at the time.
And there was my third grade teacher’s mint green @57 or 58 MG Magnette sedan, purchased by her late husband at SH “Wacky” Arnolt’s dealership in Warsaw, IN. You have to know the unique history of this man to understand why so many exotic cars, including his own Arnolt-Bristol sports cars, ended up in northeastern IN at the time.
Another neighbor had two Mercedes-Benz cars, a 58 190SL roadster, white with a black removable hard top and red leather upholstery and a red 61 W110 diesel sedan. Not sure where these two were serviced; I think the Studebaker dealerships in South Bend and Indianapolis that sold M-B cars also serviced them, IIRC.
Although the picture I shared earlier may lead you to believe that all cars on my street weren’t that interesting, there were some cool ones. Among those I found interesting was: a Nissan 300ZX (which I never saw leave the driveway), early-80s Saab 900, Saab 9000, 2nd-gen Acura Legend, Jaguar XJS, Audi Allroad, Toyota Corolla All-Track wagon, Land Rover Discovery, Saab 9-5 wagon. Two separate neighbors also owned vintage Triumph and Alfa convertibles.
Those All-Trac wagons were everywhere when I was a kid in upstate NY. They were quite popular in central, Ohio too, come to think of it, so I guess it’s safe to say they didn’t live as long as their FWD counterparts.
Those 2nd-gen Legends seemed quite slick, too, as were the Saab 9000s. There were so many interesting “second-tier” luxury options back then; these days, Audi’s moved into the first tier and all the others are gone or simply unremarkable.
Two cars immediately come to mind.
A black Studebaker Hawk, 1958 or so, a few doors down the street. Always kept impeccably clean, until it started rusting rather badly.
And a 1968-ish Pontiac GTO purchased new by our neighbour’s son, who was a few years older than me. I remember getting a ride in his arrest-me red GTO one morning, when he drove me to my high school.
He made sure I got there on time – what a ride!
When I lived in Enola, PA I had a neighbor with a BMW 2002 and another neighbor with an Avanti II. The guy across the street had a 1974 Charger.
When I moved to Boiling Springs, PA the car landscape became very boring. The only car of interest near me was a Chevrolet Concours, the predecessor to the Cimarron and contemporary of the Ford Versailles in that it was a tarted-up Nova that sold for a lot more money than it really warranted.
Eastern Ontario in the late ’60s – early ’70s, mostly the standard assortment of North American compacts to full sizers like pretty much everywhere else. Ones that do stand out were a very early Triumph Spitfire up on blocks – functional as I recall, just being kept off the tires while the owner was away. Next door had a black ’67 Pontiac Parisienne 2+2 convertible with red interior – very sharp. There was a Peugeot 404 owned by a family that had come from France – not sure if it was brought with them or purchased locally. A few Minis, a reverse slant window Anglia, a Fiat 850 spider, an Audax Minx – probably a later one badged as a Sunbeam. A couple of fair weather ones I got to ride in were an MG TD owned by the aunt of a first grade friend, and a ’38 Chrysler Royal rumble seat couple.
Born in 1974, first street I lived on had nothing that stuck in my memory other than dad’s ’66 Chevelle 4 door and his business partner’s BMW 2002 (in colors the reverse of each other – the Chevelle was Madeira Maroon with Fawn interior, the BMW was “diaper white” with red gut).
After an in-town move there was a neighbor who had an early ’50s one-ton Dodge truck and a Fiat 124 coupe at different times. Walk to school passed a late ’70s Lincoln Town Coupe too large for the driveway that overhung the sidewalk, a lime green Buick-Opel and a rust-free ’71-73 Chevy Vega (must’ve belonged to an out-of-state college student). Another neighbor had a big-bumper Maverick sedan, bright blue inside and out, that went from nice oldish car to rusty junker before its’ elderly owner gave up driving.
Changed schools, walk in the other direction (shorter but partly uphill so an even swap), a W124 Benz diesel that made such an incredible clatter and plume of smoke in its’ endlessly long warm-up cycle that it etched into my brain that Mercedes-Benzes were terrible junk no sane person would inflict on themselves and a firstgen Toyota Tercel sedan in bright red that had a certain modest rightness to it.
In our own driveway 🙂 ! Lessee… during the Sixties and early Seventies we had a couple of Checkers, a ’67 Saab 93 wagon with the Monte Carlo engine, a Sonnet II, an Ami6, a ’63 DS19 cabriolet, a Suzuki pickup and a Mini Brute, and a ’35 Packard. Then things started to get strange when my dad brought home a “normal” car, a ’72 Pinto… home life was never the same after that. No one else in our little part of Brook Park, Ohio could measure up to us when it came to odd cars 🙂 .
They may be “interesting” to some people. They were interesting to me because they were, uhm, they were cars!
Fiat 600, Fiat 850 Coupe, Renault Dauphine, VW Beetle, Ford Taunus 12 M, Ford Taunus 17 M, Simca 1201 Rally, Renault R 4, Opel Kadett A, NSU 1200, DKW 250 (sorry, that’s a motorcycle),
I grew up all over the Northeastern US, from Calumet City, IL to Brattleboro, VT. But I was born in Butler, PA – 36 miles north of Pittsburgh – and for much of my life, family on my dad’s side lived in and around there.
So there’s the qualifier. And anything around Pittsburgh is, and always will be, home to me.
Grandpa and Grandma built their house on Route 38 about three miles north of Butler. We lived with them for a few months in 1966. Next door at the Hartles, a family member would come to visit in a black ’64 Impala SS. He’d back down the short driveway onto PA 38 put it in first and nail the gas pedal. Across the road, the Revellis had a ’60 Dart – the full size one. Next door to the Revellis, the Hilliards’ son Lenny owned a brand new, black (not vinyl but painted black) over yellow ’66 Plymouth Belvedere II.
And yes, it had a Hemi in it.
Lenny’s theatrics, backing from his driveway onto 38, obviously dwarfed anything of which a 283-equipped Impala was capable. And LOUD…I think he’d Cherry Bombed the thing but I don’t remember.
We moved about five miles away that June, to Pine Hurst Road in another part of Center Township…next door to cousins Dick & Pat and son Ron, who was exactly one day younger than me.
His thing was ’57 Chevies, but was starting to dig ‘Vettes – who wouldn’t back in the C2 years! I’ve written elsewhere on CC about his parents’ 57 Plymouth HT, ’58 Plymouth wagon on blocks, and black ’59 Rambler. Oh, there was a ’56 Chevy 210 2-door sedan in there as a winter rat. I remember their saying they paid $30 for it. The rear quarters below the side stainless were covered in a scintillating shade of corrugated tin.
One day someone came to visit the cousins in a gorgeous Dusk Pearl ’57 BA Sport Coupe. I went outside in the February snow, sat down in front of the car and drew a picture of it.
My obsession with all things Tri-Five has continued to this day.
But the house we were renting needed major structural repair. Dad had tried to bargain with the landlord to buy the place and fix it up himself but when the deal fell thru, we moved into the trailer just vacated by Uncle Ken and Aunt Donna, who’d taken up residence in a John Mellencamp “Pink Houses” style place across the township in the then-upwardly-mobile Northvue development.
Said trailer was located next to Grandpa’s and Grandma’s place on PA 38.
It was the Spring of 1968, and while the rest of the world was going to hell in a handbasket, Lenny was now on his THIRD engine – a 383 – in that Belvedere, which was now starting to look a little shabby. Can’t imagine how much $$$ he had in the car, but I know he’d killed the Hemi AND a 440 prior to the 383, not to mention a number of various and sundry drivetrain parts. He’d put on his obligatory screeching tires show backing onto 38, and then return a little while later on foot.
“What happened Lenny?”
“Aw I blew the rear end out of it.”
The Hartles’ son next door still had the black ’64 SS Impala but as I recall, now had a young child…so he was much more careful than he’d used to be. The front of his parents’ house was no longer the starting line at Raceway Park.
There were a couple rides I’d left out of this narrative…the Johnsons on the other side of my grandparents owned a light-colored metallic ’66 BelAir wagon.
Beside Grandpa’s garage was a non-running “48” Dodge 1/2-ton pickup that I’d learned years later was actually a ’47 titled after the model year changeover. I loved to play in that thing…
And Uncle Ken had what some of you might consider the most interesting car of the bunch: a ’64 Tempest 2-door sedan with a 326-stick. As I recall, it spent a lot of time in Grandpa’s freshly-built garage that summer, rebuilding the engine. While Ken didn’t resort to peelouts like Lenny – Aunt Donna wouldn’t put up with that, he still had a lead foot.
And sometime that summer, our mailman bought a brand new red ’68 Impala Convertible with a white interior. Always got a kick out of him driving from the middle of the bench seat so he could reach the mailboxes at right. And yeah, he put the top down when he could, which was pretty often that summer.
Late that fall my dad was transferred to Niagara Falls, Canada. I’d soon immerse myself in a world of Parisiennes, Meteors and Mercury pickups. Uncle Ken’s Tempest would give way to a stick-shift ’64 Nova wagon that my parents would come to own when we moved to Vermont in 1970.
After I posted my comment, the site reloaded and I saw yours. DUDE- the street I described below was in Butler, PA, on Institute Hill. Wow- small world.
Chas 108, don’t know what the next comments may bring but I think you win the internet.
Western PA, circa 1974- ’70 Pontiac Catalina Sedan (green); 1968 Buick Skylark Custom 2-door Hardtop (brown with black vinyl roof); 1970 Challenger R/T SE (burnt orange); 1969 Dodge Charger SE (brown); 1973 Vega Hatchback (yellow); 1973 Delta 88 Royale Convertible (maroon w/white interior). 1973 Impala 4 door hardtop (brown).
Seeing the occasional Model T Ford being used by a rural family was a big deal when I was a little kid. It wasn’t usually a show car either, just an incredibly dilapidated pickup. Early covered headlight E-type Jaguars or XK-Es, as they were known at the time, were cool sightings even though most of them were just sitting around waiting for rust to finish them off. Porsche 356s were all over UVA’s campus, also soon to be claimed by rust, but actually in use during the ’70s. My dentist had an Avanti II and an early-’60s T-bird. A neighbor had the most amazing 911-based replica of the Alfa-Romeo Carabo. GTOs were around, and most were pretty nice. Kennedy Lincolns were still in use by some, or laid up in driveways and yards by others. One neighbor had a ’58 Corvette, and another had a ’65. Willys Jeeps were cool. Anything from the ’50s would have gotten me excited, but rust had wiped them all out in Virginia.
Hi Jim, I saw just the title on my aggregator page and immediately thought “Avanti!”. Clicked through to the article and bang there it is!
I was in grade school when it came out, and somebody in our neighborhood got one. I can still see it parked there, all radical curves and no grille! Nothing else could touch it. Still a vivid childhood memory.
A neighbor across the street had a Bugeye Sprite. He sold that and got a ’61-’62 Corvette. His next door neighbor had a E04A Anglia that didn’t come out of the garage much. My dad raced HO slot cars and some of the guys in the group would come over with interesting cars. One had a 63 Avanti exactly like the one pictured in the article. Another had a 63 1/2 Galaxie 500 that was white with a red interior. Another had a 66 Imperial Crown Coupe with a built 440. This was all in the late 80’s – early 90’s.
We moved into my long term childhood home in fall 1969 and I had just turned 5. Imprinted in my mind somewhere over the next several months or so is the starting line up of 83rd Street:
1966 Oldsmobile 88
1970 Plymouth Fury
1965 Mercury Monterey Breezeway Sedan
1962 Buick LeSabre Sedan, 1964 Buick LeSabre Wagon
1968 Chevrolet Impala (my family)
1957 Chevy Bel-Air, 1961 Chevy Impala, 1967 Chevy Impala, 1970 Camaro Z-28
1964 Mecury Comet Wagon
1965 Ford Country Squire
1966 Oldsmobile 98, 1970 Oldsmobile 98
1967 Pontiac Bonneville Coupe, VW Bug
1968 Buick LeSabre
1962 Studebaker Lark, 1968 Chevy Impala Custom Coupe
1964 Chevrolet Impala, VW Bug
1964 Chevrolet Impala
1962 Ford Galaxie 500
Most of the pre 1966 cars on this list turned over within the next 12-24 months. But, it’s an interesting snapshot of a middle class street in Omaha approximately January 1, 1970.
Most interesting? Probably the big coupes, the Breezeway, the Camaro and the Comet which was a red woody wagon. The ’57 Bel-Air was a non op sedan, soon sold to make way for a 1970 Impala hardtop.
How sick is it that I can remember this 44 years later?
Not sick at all… look what I just posted beneath you–I can remember all my neighbor’s cars from ~1988ish. When you love cars, it starts young. And because of all the exposure you get, it’s possibly one of the most easily cultivated hobbies; I’d say cycling and a love of computers start just as young. All the other stuff, you have to put more effort into learning (musical virtuosity, genuine athletic skill or political savvy, for instance), but you can passively observe cars and just fall in love.
what part of 83rd street? I grew up in the part between the crossroads and the westroads, near peony park and the little league baseball diamonds
Keystone area, just a bit North of you.
My favorite places back then were “Happy Joe’s” in Harold’s square and “WC Fields” a little further north. There was a Putt-Putt on maple street, the YMCA, and a Skateland skating rink nearby. Back then there was a lot of vacant land near the little league baseball diamonds where everyone went to ride minibikes and dirtbikes. Corkies VW salvage was on the corner of 72nd and Maple. A Goodrich Dairy was on Cass near Peony Park, and the drive-in movie theater was right there between Cass and Dodge, plus a regular movie theater in the basement of the Westroads(or was it the Crossroads, I forget, the two blur together for me). Youngtown and Polly’s shoe store were in the Crossroads.
And of course there was “cruising Dodge” on friday and saturday nights between 90th and 72nd and in the hottest part of the summer time they did it every night of the week. My dad actually used to ask to go with me to cruise Dodge when I was in highschool. Sometimes I agreed. Once I got in a drag race with him in my car! My uncle lived in the fancy high-rise apartments on 90th and Dodge…called Lion’s Head…or Embassy Towers…or something. He kept his Jag in our garage and his T-bird in his own garage.
I’m thinking about moving back soon.
I was the kid who went around asking all his neighbors about their cars, and Brendan’s post earlier today is bringing back soooo many memories (thank you, Brendan!).
With ~25 years’ hindsight, the coolest car on the block might almost have been my dad’s ’84 5000S turbo. What we sorta saw as a highly depreciated lemon full of electronic gadgets has become one of the coolest cars I’ve had the pleasure of becoming familiar with. It had that distinctive shape, with very nice details like the pin-guide glass, along with a very stark functional interior design and it sounded like nothing else on the road.
A neighbor had a Subaru XT, which was rare, but more kitschy than interesting. And with the unrefined mechanicals of pre-Legacy Subarus, I can comfortably call it awful. Still, it was distinctive.
Another neighbor has a ’65-ish LeSabre two-door hardtop in sea foam metallic. At the time, it just struck me as a dated antique and I viewed my neighbor’s ’85 Somerset Regal with more interest. I was a foolish kid of about 5-ish years of age; that car had a lot of presence and was in simply unbelievable shape for Plattsburgh, New York, with zero rust (cars up there, at that time, had holes by 5 years of age if they weren’t galvanized). I’d say the big Buick was possibly the coolest car parked nearby. It’s definitely cooler than the C3 ‘Vette another neighbor had.
The car I loved the most was my neighbor’s daughter’s ’86 Prelude Si; it was like my mom’s Accord but with more of everything. It replaced her prior car, a ’79 RX7, which is in running with my dad’s Audi for the coolest contemporary car.
Her parents drove E30s, one black 325e two-door and one red 325i four door (which replaced a 190E 2.3 that I found cooler at the time; I’d rather take the Bimmer these days).
Down the way, another neighbor had a pair of Saab 900s; one n/a four-door in red, another turbo three-door in black. Those neighbors had no kids and spoke to no one, so for the longest time I associated Saabs with cold people. The neighbors in Xmas Vacation didn’t help that image.
A car which struck me as cool also was a neighbor’s ’86 Maxima wagon, complete with Bitching Betty and push-button entry. Compared to the RX7, Audi 5000 turbo and ’65 LeSabre, I’d have to rank it a bit lower on the cool meter, but it has a certain charm.
A perpetually drunk neighbor had a series of GM personal luxury coupes, starting with a tomato soup-colored ’83-ish Toronado which was replaced by a “deadly sin” ’86 Eldorado in white. I actually found it rather tasteful and contemporary compared to the other big Detroit boats in the neighborhood, which included two Olds 98s from the early ’80s and an already-mothballed Dodge St. Regis (whose clear headlight doors and sheer-look-with-frameless-glass style intrigued me).
Another neighbor had an ’82 Sentra wagon which I really liked–I could always distinguish it by its gear whine–and which he kept forever, while his wife replaced her ’85 Golf (which seemed so much more boring than another neighbor’s diesel Rabbit) with a stripper ’88-ish Camry (back when those cars were less common). Neither of these three cars could be called distinctive or interesting, but as a lowest-common denominator for what passed as an average car, they–along with that Maxima wagon–really show how much diversity is missing from today’s mainstream car market.
I never even realized the sheer extent of the diversity on the block where I lived as a kid. These days, most of these would be replaced by C and D segment sedans and compact crossovers. There’s definitely less variety in today’s marketplace. So let’s see: a ’79 RX7, an ’84 5000S turbo, a ’65 LeSabre, a C3 ‘Vette, an ’83 Toronado, an ’86 Maxima wagon, a Dodge St. Regis, two Olds Ninety-Eights, two Saab 900s, an Eagle Premier, two E30 Bimmers, a W201 Benz, a Subaru XT, a ’86 Prelude Si, and I’m not even done. That’s some variety!! Which would you guys rank as the coolest?
I’d have to agree with you and say its a tossup between the Rx-7 and your dad’s 5000 Turbo.
I like the Subaru XT, but I have bad taste, so…
The rich kid up the street had a new Plymouth Superbird in High School. It could have been the Dodge version–I was pretty young at the time.
His daddy loved him, I guess.
Not a Superbird but I went to community college with a guy whose father was the local Plymouth dealer, at least for awhile. Jimbo had a Roadrunner with the 383 and a 4 speed. One day as several us were leaving campus he pulled out on the highway leading back to town. I could hear the 383 wind up and shift to 2nd gear. Jimbo kept his foot in it but, when he went for 3rd he found 1st instead. The 383 screamed for a second or two and then blew up in a huge way; he was fortunate that he didn’t end up in the ditch or hit someone else. I’m sure that Chrysler’s warranty paid for a new motor but when next seen Jimbo was driving a different Roadrunner, one with an automatic.
In the early 70s I lived in future CC land. Our next door neighbor had a 69 Grand Prix, the two across the street neighbors had a VW Squareback I rode in and a 50s Pontiac 2 door wagon that I never rode in although I did ride in the Torino wagon that replaced it. A neighbor up the street had a Corvair Monza convertible I also rode in and our own driveway housed a Mercedes 250S and a BMW 2000 plus a nearby neighbor had a Rover 3500s. There was also a Datsun 240Z and a Datsun 2000 Fairlady way up the street. Our next house was less interesting, although our neighbors had a friend with a Citroen DS21 Chapron convertible and there was a Bradley GT kit car a few blocks away.
One car that stands out in mid-60s Levittown NY was a blue late 50’s Citroën DS. Everyone in the neighborhood called the owner “the communist” because, well, he drove a Citroën.
Our neighborhood in the ’50’s and ’60’s had the usual assortment of Fords, Chevys, Olds, and Dodge sedans and wagons. Nothing too exciting. A lady in a club my mom belonged to used to pick her up in a bright red ’40 Chevy street rod, although they didn’t call them in those days. Well, that car disappeared decades ago and then about 5 years ago, there it was at our local car show. I don’t live in the old town anymore but where I live now is not that far. I spoke with the owner and his wife. They were the same folks who had owned it back then. As a retirement project he had restored it to it’s former hot rod glory. I didn’t know them when I was a kid but now have them for friends. I told them that their car was the first hot rod I had ever seen except in magazines.
The rarest car in our neighborhood was a 1960 Edsel Ranger two door from down the street. I have always liked those.
I’m trying to take my mind’s eye back to my neighborhood in the early 1990’s. I turned 5 in 1990.
Certainly interesting to my VW fanatic self was the pristine silver 4-door Rabbit across the street. I remember riding in it once and it had perfect blue interior. Of course, thinking back it was an 81-84 and it was the early 90’s so I guess that wasn’t super uncommon. There was the orange 1974 Beetle three houses down that of course caught my eye every day. The house beside the Rabbit had a ’63 split rear window Corvette that would come out of the garage from time to time. Next door had a ’66 Rambler out back that would be driven every so often. Toward the end of the street was a light blue ’67 Mustang coupe with a white vinyl top. It was later in my high school parking lot, driven by a kid two years older than me.
Other than that it was mostly cars that were ubiquitous at the time but would be CC material today. flip up headight Accords, late 80s-early 90s GM stuff, a red Grand Am comes to mind, 1st gen Tauruses or Taurui?
Even our household only had one car that would have been considered interesting back then, my dad’s ’66 Galaxie. My mom’s ’84 Escort and my dad’s fox body Stang were commonplace as was his ’78 F150. By the late 90s our yard was a mix of vintage Ford and VW iron.
From the mid-seventies to the mid-eighties, I grew up in a small 40-house neighborhood. The car that stands out the most was a 51 Jag XK-120. It sat in a carport covered in dust with flat tires for many years. The man who owned it traveled constantly and wouldn’t sell it. He had two identical giant yellow 60’s Plymouth Furys blocking it in. They were also non-running.
I also remember my father’s 65 Austin-Healey 3000, my brother’s MGB, my 73 Bronco, and the neighbors cars, some of which were a TR6, a Citroen DS, a 74 Challenger, a 240Z, a VW Beetle converted to a pickup, a Bradley GT VW kit car, a Scout, a Travelall, a corvair, a 79 RX-7, a giant 76 Lincoln Continental, a 59 turquoise Impala named “Ol’ Becky,” a 63 Ford Falcoln that was washed religiously, a new 79 Accord hatchback with a 5-speed, a VW Bus camper, 2 front wheel drive GM motor homes parked in the same junky front yard, a BMW 2002, a BMW 320i, and many huge malaise era American wagons and sedans.
Maybe it was just me, but back then cars seemed to be more important to people. When a neighbor bought a new car, it was an event. I haven’t noticed a neighbor buying a new car in at least 20 years. I just don’t pay attention any more, but neither does anyone else.
Actually, my family had some of the more interesting cars…(in my neighborhood)
1974 Mazda RX4 wagon
1975 AMC Matador
1938 Dodge panel truck
Various Triumph TR4s
1971 International Travelall, and MANY others.
But my grandpa took the prize for interesting wrecks in his Oregon field:
1959 Ford Anglia
1964 Riley 1.5
1965 Mercedes 190
and some other stuff I can’t remember. Exposure to these cars was very educational!
I grew up in a middle- to upper-middle-class neighborhood in the ’70s and ’80s, and there wasn’t anything all that unique on my street (it’s all BMW and Mercedes country now). I remember that an older couple always had big Chryslers (fuselage New Yorkers. probably–I wasn’t a big Chrysler fan at the time), and our next door neighbors had a big 390-powered mid-’60s Ford wagon in the early-mid ’80s–a hand me down from one or the other set of the couple’s parents. A “confirmed bachelor” (in the parlance of the time) down the street had a Bunkie-beak T-Bird for a few years, and then moved on to one of its gigantic successors, and a guy across the street had an AMC Hornet wagon in immaculate shape up into the mid-’80s. And then there was the retired guy up the street who had a whole garage full of Fiat 850s in various stages of repair and disrepair…I can’t remember ever seeing one run!
Not one but TWO Bradley GTs mentioned! I remember those, but never in my neighborhoods.
Would you believe 3? In the list I wrote in this thread, the family with the 1965 Country Squire had their ship come in during the 1970s. A new Country Squire and a well quipped LTD company car were their core vehicles. A Mercedes sedan, and a Porsche 914 came along for the ride. And, they built their own Bradley GT.
I also forgot to mention a full sized ’65 Pontiac (can’t remember the model) 2 door.
When I was a teenager, the neighbors across the street had a 1951 Bentley, complete with semaphore turn signals. Otherwise, virtually all the cool cars I saw were owned by our neighbor Avie Cohen, who by turns had an Avanti; a BMW Bavaria; a Jaguar XK-E; a Jensen Interceptor; and several Lincoln Marks.
Mid Michigan in the mid-late ’70s
We had an Avanti in the neighborhood as well, but it was about 3 blocks away. There was also a ’65-66 Barracuda there, might have been the same house?
My block had a Crosley station wagon for a couple of years that never left its spot in the garage.
My favorite was probably the ’72 Vista Cruiser across the street. When that family moved the couple who bought the house had a ’68-’69 Lemans.
I had a neighbour when I was a boy who had a 1972-73 Opel GT. I remember because it was an ugly dark chocolate. It wasn’t bad looking overall, kind of like a German Corvette, but its colour didn’t do its looks any favours.
In Innsbruck, the most interesting was a Tatra T-600 Tatraplan.
In Iowa City, it was the usual assortment of late 50s – early 60s cars. The most interesting on the block were
A German professor, who had a 220SE and his wife had a ’64 Studebaker Daytona coupe.
A doctor who also had a 220SE and a Model A.
A family that had a Corvair Greenbrier van.
A rich old lady that had a series of Imperial coupes.
The family across the street that had a matching set of Bonneville four door hardtop and station wagon. And their boys had several hot rods and a Lloyd, for a while.
And another doctor had a white ’61 Corvette.
The rest were not really exceptional. A Lark; ’59 Ford; ’56 Olds, etc….
Another Lloyd, and in the US too.
Growing up in the ’60’s and ’70’s, there were actually a lot of cars in my neighborhood that I thought were interesting. Just a few of them…
Starting with my family which had two cars: a ’68 Olds Delta 88 (with a 455) and a ’66 Triumph TR-4A. The neighbors across the street had a series of Lincolns from the ’60’s well into the ’70’s. Not to be outdone, the neighbors next door always had Cadillacs. Another neighbor had a Model A Ford that he was restoring in his garage. And the teacher across the street (next to the Lincoln owners) had a 1960-something VW bus.
About the time I went off to college a neighbor bought a Plymouth Volare. He used to sing the Volare commercial song while in his driveway washing it. Not sure how long that pride of ownership lasted.
New cars were a big deal in our neighborhood in the ’60’s, but I saw that fade in the ’70’s.
We live in a very rural area, so there isn’t too much.
From when I was a child, I remember two vehicles that stood out to me:
A Yellow 1970s Toyota pickup (We’re a very Anti-Import area)
A Mid 1980s Mitsubishi Mighty Max
That’s pretty much it! I know, boring right!
Keep reading! There is nothing of interest here!
Probably the most interesting was my next door neighbor who had a ’59 Cadillac Eldorado convertible. Black w/black and white interior. He used to swing that mass around our cul-de-sac like it was a school bus. He said that Yogi Berra once owned the car, probably the original owner.
Around 1960 or so, our neighbour had a new Isetta, which was quite a novelty because he normally bought huge Buicks. 2 doors up my cousin always had an assortment of Morris Minors and at one time a TR3. The rest were run of the mill 4 dr sedans, usually Chevys or Fords.
One house had both a Lamborghini Espada and a Mercedes-Benz W111 cabriolet of some sort. This was an otherwise working-class neighborhood in the 1980s, but it was by a lake and they only lived there in the summer.
On our block in a Los Angeles suburb in the 1950s, there was one exotic that I didnt understand at the time, a 300SL Gullwing Mercedes. Dad drove a Pontiac, next door on one side was a DeSoto and on the other a Buick. The car on our block I drooled on as a child was a turquoise ’57 Thunderbird with the porthole hardtop.
Johnstown, PA, being both a conservative town, and a hotbed of both union steelworkers and coal miners was an incredibly boring place for cars. 98% Big Three and American Motors, a few Volkswagen Beetles, and about half that number of Renaults. And a Mercedes or two started showing up in the Jewish suburb.
I’d be in heaven if an old Packard, Studebaker, Nash or Hudson came down the street.
Anything four wheeled and interesting in my childhood was what dad would bring home from the Chevy dealership at lunchtime. Which he did deliberately, just to keep his car crazy kid happy.
Born in 1954 I gremup in a middle class western Canadian city so many of the cars around the neighbourhood with the usual domestics and a few British imports like; Austin A40, Hillman. Before starting elementary school in 1960 I recall a few pre-World War two cars around the area.
What stood out as I recall were the Desotos, big late fifties Buicks and two blocks away there was a gentleman who had a couple of Hudson sedans. In later years he had a Ferrari or what I recall as a Ferrari and even repainted it in his garage.
Down thee block a family from California moved into newer house. One of their vehicles was a Late sixties Lincoln Continental. That car always seemed to be in the garage whenever I rode by on my bike. My earliest experience with a Lincoln in a richer part of the neighbourhood was an early sixties Continental my friend’s mother bought. It seemed so big and hey, it had plastic seat covers just Like our 62 Comet.
A few blocks west of that family, Penny Clark’s father an architect, had a big Cadillac sedan. Just a few years later his wife would drive Penny and her sister to elementary school in a new Mustang notchback coupe.
Just a few of the motoring memories in my part of the world back then…
Not counting the usual Chevies and Fords and Ramblers, these are the cars that stood out: (Not exactly on the same street, but in the same neighborhood)
’54 Studie Conestoga, ’56 Lloyd station wagon, ’50 Studie LandCruiser, an Austin Healey, a Dauphine, ’36 Cord Beverly, ’55 Gullwing, ’52 Mercedes 300 limo, ’37 Chevy, ’57 Caddy Eldo Brougham, a Kaiser Darrin, and an Allstate.
Another Lloyd! Tied with the Bradley GT now.
I grew up in a middle class neighborhood in the 1970’s and ’80’s. It was full of midsize and full-size cars from the Big 3, as well as plenty of Japanese subcompacts. By far the most interesting were the two oldest ones–a 1960 Plymouth Valiant and an early ’50’s Packard. To me, the Valiant (still a daily driver) was the strangest looking car I’d ever seen, and the Packard (which wasn’t driven daily) was the coolest because it was the only one of its kind left.
The cars we had in the 80s are more interesting now than then and my parents often had the most interesting whips on the block.
That being said, I was very impressed by a neighbor’s LeCar at a young age. A younger woman had a gorgeous red Dodge Daytona I loved.
My grandma’s neighbor painted an old Dodge Dart Swinger blue using house paint and a brush. It looked bubbly and bristly.
Carlisle, PA, late 60s to early 70s, my street was near the small college; there was a mix of upper middle class homes and rental properties (professors and law students). So some cool stuff: an Avanti, Renault 16, Fiat 850 coupe, Triumph TR-4, 2nd gen. Corvair, and 2 different families had Dodge A108 Sportsman vans at the same time. But the most interesting was a ’64 Lincoln Continental 4-door convertible that had received a purple paint job, surely not at the factory. My jaw was on the sidewalk the first time I saw the choreography of that top folding into the rear-hinged trunk.
My old next door neighbour’s partner had a Triumph 2000 sedan when I was a kid. It was painted this faded grey/brown colour and reminded me of a faded, floppy hat. Down the street, one guy had a 1970s Jaguar that was always covered by a tarp except for the rear end poking out… And those chrome bumpers and menacing taillights made it look so evil!
Probably in the mid-90’s or so, the people across the street from us had, at various times, a Lincoln Mark VII, a BMW 6-series, and a Saab 9000.
The only other car that really sticks out was someone who would occasionally visit the neighbors next door to them and drove a Maserati Quattroporte.
Some of the more notable cars on my street during the mid 60s would have been my parents 1960 Sunbeam Rapier convertible One of my friends parents had the first Mustang I ever saw or rode in, they later bought a beautiful dark blue/white top and interior 66 Pontiac Bonneville convertible. A couple of the older guys had a 65 Corvette and an Austin Healy. The rest were your average early to mid 60s sedans and wagons from the Big Three. Being western New York, it didn’t take long for the tinworm to consume cars.
In the early 70’s living in suburban Delaware there are only a couple that stick out. The neighbor across the street had a 68 Shelby, his kid also had one of the first Powerwheels. Down at the end of the Cul De Sac there was a MGB that one of the dad’s used as his summer time car. I specifically remember he had the tonneau cover on it for most of the summer. He would unzip it at the middle and roll back the passenger area when he drove it and then normally parked it with it closed. The “Buick” Opel Wagon someone brought home was interesting since it certainly wasn’t like anything else I knew as a Buick since we had a 65 Sportwagon. The other vehicle that interested me was a F250. It was mainly used for hauling a camper and towing a boat. It sticks out from remembering watching him put the boat in the back yard using a ball on the front of the truck and remove the camper. The bigger thing is that was the only pickup on the block.
Later 70’s in a small town in Kansas the big ones that stick out are the Opel GT owned by a spoiled older kid he once took me and my best friend for what seemed like a really fast ride laying in the back of it. An old lady down the street had a 50’s Buick fastback that really interested me. She let me play in it a couple of times. I specifically remember the roof mounted antenna with an inside knob to swivel it down in front of the windshield to park in the garage. A couple of streets over across from the town baseball park there was a guy who drag raced Mopars complete with super chargers sticking through the hood. He worked at the gas station down by the Quick Trip and despite the fact that he had slicks on it he would drive it to work on occasion. He also would practice launches/do burn outs in the ball park’s parking lot. One was a late 60’s Charger and the other a ‘Cuda. A little farther away an old lady had a 59 Glaxie 500 complete with the Continental kit. A neighbor of one of my Friends had a 70’s Travelall 4×4 with bigger tires that really interested me. A fire fighter at the local house had an early Bronco with the half cab. My older cousin had a 70 Cougar XR7 and then a TR7 when he got his first job out of College.
Finally I moved to the Exurbs of Seattle in the late 70’s. The ones that stick out from there are a 57? Caddy coupe and old Studebaker Hawk non runner in one of the garages that I’d see on rare occasions that door was up. Another project car was a 57 Pontiac Safari, the Nomad style version, that was pretty rough.
Others that stuck out were a Colonnade 442, 70’s Corvette, Honda Z 600 and friend who’s dad was taken by the Mazda Rotary so they had a REPU and a Cosmo. The people who lived in that house before them had a 1965 Sportwagon which they put up for sale for $600 when I was getting near 15 that I tried to get my dad to let me buy. I was able to get him to go and look at it parked out on the street but he looked at the globs of silicone around the vista windows and nixed that idea.
My first girlfriend got a nicely redone 67 LeMans with the 326, metallic blue with black buckets, when she turned 16 that her dad surprised her with. Another girlfriend from the neigborhood got a 55 F100 that had been customized. Of course that happened after we quit seeing each other. She actually picked it out and bought it with her own money that she saved up for many years and it was exactly what she had wanted for some time. Another girl I hung out with for a while had a Toyota Carina.
Another car that really caught my attention was on my first paper route in another neighborhood. It was a 50 Merc mild custom. It was another one that I tried to talk my dad into letting me see about buying. It didn’t have a for sale sign on it but it was unused. Unfortunately they were a “pay by mail” and only took the Sun paper so I never actually talked to them. By the time I decided that I wanted it and my dad was finally starting to give in and maybe go with me to take a look it was gone.
Forgot about a couple a friend’s dad had a 928 and a basket case Model T in the second garage next to their house.
The other thing I’d see daily in the Summer in the Seattle area was the Joe Ice Cream trucks. The were the pickup version of the Subaru 360.
Growing up in the ’50s in a working class neighborhood in Suburbia virtually all the automobiles I saw were Chevys, Fords and Plymouths. In the late fifties-about 1958 I did begin seeing some Volkswagen Beetles and occasionally a BMW Isetta. I do recall seeing one of those Heinkle bubble cars; but I only caught a glimpse of it from a distance. It was definitely the exception to the rule.
Carnegie Avenue, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, 1973. Across the street, the widowed Mrs. Blank (yes, that was her real name) had a pristine ’56 Sixty Special. Next door, the retired Methodist minister had a triple green ’67 LTD 4 door hardtop, while his younger successor down the street drove the first Subaru wagon I’d ever see. Our other next-door neighbor had a gold ’65 Electra 225 4 door hardtop, and their son frequently showed up in his Series II Land Rover wagon, with the spare on the hood.
Across the alley, there was a guy with a white TR-3, sandwiched between the Galusick’s ’63 Impala Sport Sedan and Joey Toth’s ’73 Riviera. At the end of the block, the Merriman’s had a 2nd gen VW Bus, a ’63 split-window Corvette, and an orange ’73 Mercedes 450SE.
That was a pretty exotic driveway in a Pittsburgh steel town, not to mention the ’73 911 in “raspberry” my uncle kept a block away, or the local pimp’s raspberry (again!) custom Eldorado, or his full-on Superfly Mark IV, both of which made frequent appearances parked in front of First Methodist Church at the end of the block.
Mid-60’s through around 1980…….mainly mundane family sedans and the ubiquitous station wagons. A few Willys wagons, Broncos and, later on, K-5 Blazers. Beetles were all over the place as well.
A 50 MGTD followed by a 59 Morris Minor Ragtop, then a 69 Fiat 124 Spyder graced our driveway over the years. My Dad seemed to like one foreign make and one from the big three at any given times.
Things got a little more interesting in the surrounding neighborhoods. A 914/6, 1970-ish XKE and a 1970’s Citroen Wagon on the cul-de-sac. A TR3, Orange Honda 600 coupe, a 29 Ford Model A, and a couple Greenbriar Vans were up the street. The folks with the brown Greenbriar were also VW devotees and had the first 411 in the ‘hood. A little further up was the family with an early ’60’s Chrysler 300 and a fine silver 68 GTO. I remember riding in it a few times. The bachelor dude a few houses up had a nice 65 ‘Vette.
Heading around the other way you could find a 1960-ish Mini, another Greenbriar (this one with a stick instead of a Powerglide) an early 50’s DeSoto, and a government surplus Dodge TownWagon. Rounding out that block were a Porsche 912 and a very rusty ’53 Lincoln Capri ragtop. A couple living a few blocks away had an XJ-6, a TR4 and her Sunbeam Tiger, medium blue, as I recall. A few blocks the other direction, on the way to my Junior High School, sat a raggedy MG Magnette (?) sedan. A buddy’s dad liked his Renaults, but added an early Capri to the fleet.
What I didn’t see around the neighborhood I saw in the various car mags my dad brought home. Who can forget pictures of the Miura, the Espada, and the Ferrari Daytona?
Thanks for the question. It prompted some great memories.
The three cars from my street were my grandfathers 56 ford pick up. A neighbors 67 teal and white ford pick up and the guy across the street had a first year faded lemon yellow Chevette. Mostly there were 5-10 year old American cars in my area. We had a lot of brougham material growing up in the 80’s in the working class neighborhood
Reading through these reminded me that we had two Model A’s within a block or two. They seemed like very old cars, but in hindsight they were the same age as the 2 door GM B body I just spotted in my own neighborhood tonight. Which looked old but not antique like those A’s.
from when I was younger not sure but there where 3 Isuzu Impulses on our short street rarely all there at the same time one dark red one dark blue and a 3rd one a lighter blue. Also not technically on our street as the garage backs onto a differing street as the house did (house is on or street on the corner) was a Oldsmobile Starfire Hatchback coupe from the late 70’s
There were a few very interesting ones that I remember…
in the early 1970s my dad bought two identical midnight blue 1958 Mercury Montereys and built one pristine mint condition car out of the two of them. He made custom clear vinyl seat covers and bought clear plastic floor mats to protect the interior. That was my mother’s car
On my paper route, a very very old man had a pink Edsel convertible in really rough condition but he still drove it. I remember the rear bumper was patched with fiberglass like you would patch a boat, and then painted silver…with a brush.
Also on my paper route was a mint condition 1950s red&white Ford Galaxie starliner(or something like that) with a retractable hardtop and every option you could think of…fender skirts, continental kit, curb feelers, white walls, spot lights, etc
My uncle stored his V12 jaguar in my parent’s garage…an early 70s vintage convertible.
More memories are coming now
not on my street but nearby there was:
Ford Pinto Sport wagon
a custom VW bug that was converted into a pickup truck with a wooden flat bed
a late 60s vintage black Cadillac limousine
a home made camper trailer out of plain wood 2×4 construction and asphalt shingle roof(looked like a garden shed on wheels)
a typical 60s era dune-buggy style VW custom
A jeep pickup truck vintage late 60s early 70s
my friend’s step dad who had an early 50’s era cadillac collection(3 cars I think)
For me growing up is was a draw between my neighbor’s 1970 Chevelle SS 454 or our family’s 49 Dodge B Series pickup or our 92 Ford C350 Centurion. Sure our neighbor across the street has an award winning 55 Ford pickup hotrod (as the trophies on his garage wall can attest to…) Currently I would venture that the most interesting vehicle is the second generation Chevy C10 flatbed that is still seeing daily use.
Setting: Midwestern booming 1960s suburb (mixed blue/white collar, and when a 10-year-old car was fairly uncommon):
Amid the standard 65 Impalas and plenty of station wagons, the standouts were the ’60 Impala convertible; the guy keeping up a mid-50s two-tone Buick; the occasional MG that would be someone’s hobby car.
Standout cars from neighbors: the ’62 Olds with all the stainless trim (Starfire?), and the no-kids (“get off my lawn”) 50-ish couple with a ’64 or ’65 T-Bird. Because A/C was not so universal then (homes or cars), it was quite a sight to see either of those two cars on a hot day, the windows rolled up being the tipoff of driver’s A/C use–what a luxury!
We’re talking mid seventies. Another one that stood out, besides the Range Rover I posted above, was a copper metallic Opel Rekord C 4-door with a vinyl top and an automatic. Driven by an elderly, retired and rich farmer. He bought it new and had it for a very long time, it was always in a shiny and immaculate condition.
The guy across the street had a white Renault 6. A square-lined hatchback, somewhere between an R4 and R16. (Picture below)
Furthermore mainly small, cheap and basic Euro cars. No one drove Japanese, in the days that an automatic was for the elderly, disabled and folks who just couldn’t drive a manual properly. Our first car back then was a used Simca 1100 3-door. It served us well.
Growing up in my mundane middle class Brooklyn neighborhood, there weren`t many interesting cars, just an assortment of rather average Fords, Dodges, Olds, Chevys , Buicks and some Cadillacs.An occassional GTO or 442, maybe a hot Mustang or a Challenger,but thats about it. There was a `55 Packard Patrician , a `56 Continental and an Airflow 4 door in my grandparents area , but that was a few miles away from me. I probably had the most interesting cars if a `64 Riviera, `64 Pontiac Tempest conmvertible with air conditioning,a`66 T Bird Landau or a `73 Citroen DS19 count. Almost forgot! A neighbor had an `84 MarklV Continental with a diesel. Sounded like a locomotive when idling, and like a tugboat while underway. Interesting for all the wrong reasons.
One neighbour had a purple XB Falcon wagon, we had a 1965 Datsun Bluebird wagon, then a 180B and then a Chrysler/Mitsubishi Galant. The other side had a SWB Landrover, a Valiant ute, a rear engined Mazda Bongo, then finally a XD series Falcon.
Behind us had some Chrysler Valiants and a Chrysler Charger at one time.
From the mid 70s into the 80s, there was a pair of Austin Somersets, one a four door and the other a two, always parked together. In the other direction from our house there was a Humber Sceptre and similarly-bodied Hillman wagon parked together. Directly behind our house was a 1973 Porsche 911 which the owner has only recently sold, there was also a 1965 Parisienne and a dark green HQ Monaro GTS.
In my early nineties western Europe street, most cars were European cars so common I don’t recall many of them. Our next-door neighbour, however, was some sort of manager at the big Ford dealership in the city nearby and he often brought home the latest Fords for a few days. Saw a very early Mondeo, updated Escort etc. but the ones I remember most were a dumb-bull-faced Scorpio and a dark blue ’94 Thunderbird, not a common car at all.
Southern England, 1970s. We had a series of Rootes Arrows, then (oh joy) a Rover 2000, plus a series of Imps. Neighbours drove a Wolseley Six in a mustard colour. Elsewhere, a Ford Executive with the aircraft carrier bonnet. A Ford Anglia in off-white. Loads of ADO16s. Everyone had a British car until the widow across the road got herself a metallic Datsun Cherry, which she called “my little Datsy”. The end of the world was nigh…
Growing up in the sixties, there are several that pop into m mind as stand outs.
First a 59 Silver 300 GullWing Mercedes that had red leather iirc. This family also had an early black bug with a sunroof and wart front blinkers, think it was a 56. Their main car was a Torino Squire Wagon, like a 69.
My favorite I discovered tucked away in a garage while playing hide and seek; 1965 Emberglow Thunderbird with White Top and Parchment interior. The also Had a White 60 Cadillac.
Behind us on one side lived a Black 56 Mark 2 which Mom was infatuated with. This woman also had a silver 63 Riviera.
The other neighbors, going up one side of The street and Down The other consisted
of the Following;
1965 Mercury Breezeway sedan in aqua
1960 Chevy Brookwood Wago, 65 Impala Conv, and later a 72 Malibu in copper.
1963 Bug in seafoam, later a 68 lemans Coupe in Avacado with Black top
Next to Them The Fuscos had a Kennedy Lincoln, then a Rover sedan of all things.
Next house was The GullWing House
1968 newport conv in dk green , black top for the wife while the huband tinkered first with a 56 dodge lancer, then a 58 blue belair; his wife was more prosperous.
1961 country squire
65 catalina, then a 69 mustang
1969 tbird 4 door
1958 chevy wagon, then a 66 ranch wagon
59 chevy kindswood estate, then a 68 country squire
63, 66,69 lesabres for the zabriskies
63 olds wagon, then a 65 ninety eight
finally old mrs chase had a 56 olds 88, until she traded for a 68 nova.
i could go on, but yes i can rem the cars, and talking the neighbors up about them until they were blue in the face and insisted i run along now….
Allegro Vanden Plas
Citroen DS Safari
Matra Simca Rancho
I grew up in Hadera, israel and in two different streets; in the first we had a garage owner neighbor who had a very well-kept 1947 Ford tow truck. Even in those days (mid 60s) such old trucks were becoming rare and certainly in that condition. In the second street a neighbor has a Mercedes Benz 450SE (W 116) which, in 70s Israel was like something from outer space… His father had a Dodge Coronet, also a luxury in those days. Up the street one of my mom’s friends husband had a 1961 Lincoln, another exotic vehicle for Israel. Opposite their house there was a doctor with a VW Beetle cabrio. Further up we had a cab company operating 7-seater inter-city cabs, so there was always a selection of Exner creations and – later – Checkers, all powered by clattery Perkins diesels. And just before school (also on that street) lived a gent who had the world’s dustiest PA Vauxhall Cresta, a car which seemed to move once every blue moon.
The rest of the cars were typical Israeli porridge: Renaults, Fiats, Simcas, Israeli-made Susitas and other such devices, none of which sticks in memory…
I grew up in Toledo, OH and moved when my parents built a house just across the border in Michigan in 1994. In Toledo I remember that down the street there were two interesting driveways: One house had a late 80s Toyota Camry, and although I wasn’t yet in my teen years I could tell it wasn’t a base model (interesting because this was late 80s/early 90s Toledo, home of Jeep, GM Powertrain, and kind of Ford’s Maumee stamping plant, Delphi, etc etc, most cars were rusting, old American barges). Next door to them on the corner was the owner(s?) of a 280ZX from back when they were still called Datsuns. I can’t recall if it ever ran or if it had what I now know must have been a donor Z parked next to it. It seems like there was. Directly behind us was an older couple who disliked kids an awful lot who had a second generation Ford F100 in bright red. It was very shiny. There was also at least one AMC Eagle rusting away on our street, right alongside a bona fide Cadillac Cimarron complete with gold decor keeping it company.
When we moved to Michigan in a typically middle-class subdivision, all the cars were boring, they may as well have been beige Caravans or Camrys (Camries? whatever), except for one: a neighbor owned a Ford F-150 Lightning in red. It was a very nice-sounding truck, much more exciting than the white Expedition his wife drove. And across the street there was a man who worked at the Powertrain plant who kept the ’68 Chevelle SS396 in a very pretty wine red in his garage, lovingly washed and waxed and almost never driven in all the years he had it there. It had to be sold after I left for college and I never saw it again, but the few times he did fire it up, oh did it sound glorious, like someone shoving all the world’s suffering and oppression into the carburetor and having pure, unfiltered freedom bellowing out the tailpipes. Bald eagles flew overhead and red, white, and blue fireworks exploded when he turned the key. Yeah, that thing left an impression. Anyways, another neighbor, a different man, now has a modern Camaro, but I don’t care enough about those to get close enough to check the badging. I’m sure it’s V-8 powered, though.
There was an older guy with a 1967 Buick Electra 225 coup, metallic dark green with black interior. I was in love with that car, he traded it for a new 1977 Seville. I remember a 1965 Mustang convertible that was pretty beat up by then (mid Seventies), but I didn’t care, it was a mint blue with pony interior, so cool. My uncle had a 71 or 72 Buick Riviera, which I must have liked, because I got in it one time and put it out of gear and went backwards down the driveway…I was about 4 years old…lol. Never leave your keys in the ignition…
It didn’t use to matter if the keys were in the ignition. In the 60s there was no steering wheel lock, the ignition switch was in the dash not the steering column, and there was nothing preventing you from pulling the lever out of park when the key was not in the ignition.
Over the years I have had neighbors with interesting cars. As a kid, my neighbor drove an old vegetable truck. My brother and I built an 8 second street 66 Mustang (even passed emmissions) later, after moving, one of my neighbors had his AMC AMX factory race car converted back to street (put in real headlights and a horn) which his widow now drives to the supermarket and another that has his fathers (original owner) 57 T-bird. Where I am now, there are old Mustangs, Vettes, Galaxies, MGs, and others all owned by old people and taken good care of for the next generation of car lovers.
My parents bought a 51 Buick Super sedan brand new. I was born in 55 and they didn’t buy another car until the new 61 Rambler wagon. My best friends parents had a habit of buying used American luxury. The same year my folks bought the Rambler, Kenny’s bought a big black 59 Lincoln sedan. I was fascinated by it and never cared for the Rambler, which my Mother continued to drive for eight years before the tinworm finally killed it.
In a central Ontario town of 15000 the white collar addresses were clustered. Ours was a small crescent of 22 houses. When I was 14…
1969 maroon over white Marquis convertible.
1969 red over white Monaco convertible.
1969 jewel blue over white Cougar convertible.
1969 triple white Parisienne 2+2 convertible.
1968 forest green over white GT 500 KR convertible. (story there as I got to assist in changing the plugs in that car without drilling the shock towers). He added a weird Lambo 400 SUV to that garage in the eighties.
1970 SWB XJ6 in maroon.
Middle age crazy never looked so good or struck more uniformly.
Funny how a simple memory can really grow on you. I had never given another thought to the weird Lambo I referenced in my earlier post. Seem the 400 moniker I applied to it was incorrect. Upon further research it was called an LM 002. We had moved on when Tom bought that thing but I spotted it when cruising our old street . He was home at the time so I enjoyed 10 minutes kicking tires with him. Sounded like nothing else in those parts. You could buy a decent home there for the price of it.
I remember a neighbor had a Mitsu Credia, another a Nissan Stanza, another had a Daewoo Lanos and we of course had a Toyota Previa. My great Aunts neighbor had a Subbie Loyale which got traded for a Kia Sephia
I grew up in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, a small college town located about 30 miles from the Mason-Dixon Line in southcentral Pennsylvania.
Our neighborhood included some interesting cars in the 1970s. The domestic cars that still stick in my mind are the 1970 Corvette owned by the son of a neighbor; the 1968 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport with bucket seats and a floor-mounted four-speed transmission owned by my friend’s family; and the very clean 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan owned by an elderly woman up the street from us.
A few faculty members from Shippensburg University lived in our neighborhood, and they were more open to owning a foreign car. That was still a big deal in the early 1970s in our town, unless it was a VW Beetle or MGB. The most interesting cars were a 1960s Citroen DS Wagon, and a 1960s Saab 95 Wagon.
Neighbors had a 48 Continental convertible, traded for a 53 Lincoln convertible. They also, at different points in the alte 50/early 60s had a Renault Dauphine, a traction Avant, and a number of Panhards. Last I knew, they had an 88″ Land Rover and an Alfa Romeo Spyder (with the long tail).
Next door to them were a Henry J, a 53 Rambler hardtop, a 56 Rambler Custom sedan, a 59 Rambler Custom sedan and a 64 Rambler Classic V8. Those were th wife’s cars. The husband had a 52 Hudson Hornet, a 55 Pakcard 400, a 60 Olds 88 and downhil from there!
A doctor on the corner had two 52 Packards when he moved in — a plain 200 two-0door and a lovely Mayfair. The Mayfair got traded for a 58 Lincoln. Downhill from there!
A new family in the neighborhood arrived with a 60 Chrysler 300F hardtop and a Porsche 356 convertible. The Chrysler was traded for a 62 Lincoln sedan and the Porsche for a 63 Corvette convertible.
I could go on, but I think those are the highlights!
Grew up in a middle class neighborhood in the Baltimore suburbs (sound familiar Paul?) Lots of Bethlehem Steel, Martin Marietta and GM employees. The usual Detroit iron, with nary a foreign car in the bunch. Here are the memorable ones I can recall:
1955 Packard Clipper. Weirdly optioned with a 3 speed on the column.
1961 Olds Dynamic 88. Neighbor won it at our church carnival raffle. Was donated by a dealer who was a parishioner. Nice gesture perhaps, but he didn’t go overboard as the car had only one option – Hydra-matic. Blackwalls, dog dishes, no radio, ps or pb.
1953 Pontiac Chieftain Deluxe. Dad’s first car. Hydra-matic, light-up indian head on the hood. The straight 8 had such a distinctive sound.
1965 Chrysler Town & Country wagon. Next door neighbor got it to pull a huge Airstream trailer. 440 TNT and that cool full length roof rack.
1965 Chevy Impala. Now ’64 Impalas are a dime a dozen, but this one was memorable. Lady across the street knew little about cars and had a pretty spartan 1960 Belair 6 cyl. Wanted a new car in ’65 and said she was going to the dealer at the end of the model year to see what they had left over. She came home with a ’65 Impala in this hideous yellow with a black (no vinyl) roof. Pretty basic options, but then I saw the 396 flags on the front fenders. When I excitedly asked her about the big block, she looked puzzled and just said “it was an 8 cylinder”.
Oh and this! A green Hudson like this sat across the street in Levittown. Sitting amongst the airy early 60s Impalas and Galaxies this thing just spooked us kids. We said it was haunted and would cross the street so to avoid it.
The venetian blinds in the rear window bring back memories. I had totally forgot about those. Used to see those in cars all the way up to about 1970 vintage cars if I remember correctly. Usually rural people by that time though.
I’m 18, so the cool cars that are on my street are there right now.
The first is an early fifth-gen Mustang, driven daily by a middle-aged lady at the opposite end of my block.
Next is a 1985-87 El Camino, surrounded by various modern trucks and a 1988-ish Lesabre owned by the household son (whom I believe is in college).
Across the street from that house is a guy with a light gold BMW E36 coupe, a ratty third-gen Corvette that is kept with lights popped up, and the recent addition of a 1983-1987 Grand Marquis two-door.
Next door to this person is a man with a first-gen Miata that is taken out on sunny days.
At the other end of the street, surrounded by various late model Japanese cars, is a Panther Marauder. For the longest time, this house also had an early Panther and a G-body Malibu, but they disappeared around the time of Cash for Clunkers.
Finally, around the corner is an older gentleman who owns an heating oil business that inherited several classic cars a few years back: a 1952-1953 Cadillac convertible, a Model A truck, a 1955 Chevy, what I believe is a very early Suburban, and a Jaguar XJS that he bought much more recently.
Oh, and in my household there’s a 2015 Pilot driven by my mom and the only Saturn Astra (a 2008, driven by my dad) that I’ve ever seen.
The Pilot is a lot more common that I want it to be, considering how much I don’t like it. Chief among my personal issues is the terrible visibility (there’s no height adjustment, and no matter how the seat is moved the rearview mirror blocks the right half of the windshield), and the breaks don’t feel like they’re actually attached to anything, and indeed are almost completely unresponsive unless you stomp the pedal. Also, the cargo area is awful unless the seats are folded down; this does not happen often, because there are seven people living in my house.
The Astra is the better car, in my opinion, but it’s got its own issues. Build quality is spotty (as apparent by the air leak at speed and the failure of all the electronics on one of the doors), it has very little power, what power it has is cut in half when the Check Engine light comes on (a frequent and random occurrence, which my dad has spent too much trying to make go away; eventually he gave up and he drives it as-is), fixing its issues and general maintenance is relatively expensive because of its European design and parts (in spite of sharing the platform of the Cobalt and HHR), and even then fuel economy is only about 28 MPG for a compact car geared for economy (that I have had shift into 4th gear at 30 MPH).
It does have its upsides, though. It’s a fun car to drive, in spite of its lack of power; it’s extraordinarily maneuverable. Visibility is pretty good for a modern car, although having 4wd and various other high cars shine their lights through the back window gets old. It’s got a good trunk size, although the hatch isn’t the best shape. It’s also a good car to teach how to drive with, as it’s the car I learned to drive in. It’s a genuine European car, with all of the positives that entails.
It’s also the car due to be replaced next, as my dad wants to get an Audi and give the Astra to me for college. Unfortunately, the maintenance and overall running costs for this one are a big of a dealbreaker for me. In spite of the power issues, if it was cheaper to run, I would go for it; however, this one’s not cheap enough for a college kid. I recommend this car overall, though, as objectively speaking it’s a quality car; however, this particular Astra has turned out to be a lemon, and honestly my viewpoint is a bit jaded from listening to my dad complain about it for the past six years.
Sorry about the rant, I just needed to get that off my chest.
A Marauder, another older Panther and a G-body Malibu? Sounds like that person has similar taste in cars to me, as I’ve owned all of the above. Though my ownership of the Marauder did not overlap with either other Panther (’91 and ’97 Crown Vics).
Growing up in the south part of the Netherlands, there were very few interesting cars around, however, our neigbours across the street had this parked in front of their house (exact colour and wheels):
Our own car when I was growing up, again, exact colour and wheels as seen in the picture, plus a towing hitch (and a licence plate that read 58-SG-29), was a 1977 Opel Ascona. My father blew the head gasket in ’92 when I was 8 years old, and it went to the junkyard with less then 90.000 km’s on the odometer. I still remenber it being loaded upon a trailer in front of our house… Missed it ever since.
I’ll arbitrarily limit my memories to before August 1956, when I got my first car. We had waterfront on a small lake that was still far enough out in the country that it hadn’t gone upscale yet. At the time Pop still had the 1950 Packard sedan that he’d bought new and driven home from the factory. A 1919 Cadillac that had been cut down from a hearse to a flatbed truck sat for a long time in Pop’s equipment yard. I don’t remember it ever moving under its own power. Mrs. Pavlich had a green and yellow 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air 4-door with full power including the front windows. Her son who lived with her for a few months after he got out of the service had a maroon 1941 Ford coupe with California license plates, which I got after he bought Washington plates for it. The Joneses were pioneers in that they used a dark blue 1948 Chevrolet pickup as their main driver. They also had a 1940 Studebaker sedan that I didn’t see move very often. The Shiremans had a 1938 Oldsmobile sedan which had the knobby little taillights stuck on at the belt line like afterthoughts. Mr. Davis had a black VW bug that he used for everything, including pulling skinny second-growth fir logs to his yard from his lot down the road to cut up for fireplace wood. A guy whose name I can’t remember had, for a short time, a 1939 Lincoln Zephyr convertible sedan in black on tan leather, a gorgeous car in which I bummed a ride to the school-bus stop one fine morning. The only other car I remember now is Bill Holstin’s green 1953 Oldsmobile 88 sedan – I still have the license plate from it.
I was born in 1953. Our own cars were a 1941 Chevy Master Deluxe Town Coupe and a 1947 Cadillac Fleetwood. The next-door neighbor had a 1940s Nash. Next door on the other side was a green 1949 Cadillac convertible. Across the street was a 1956 Buick Century two-door hardtop; when it started up and started to move, it sounded different from other cars because of the Dynaflow transmission. A block away, I could see a house up the hill where a 1958 Ford Fairlane 500 four-door sedan resided. I would sometimes see a 1950-ish Mercury down the street, and every once in a while an Edsel station wagon would trundle down the street. Another neighbor had a 1940-something Dodge with its extra brake light.
When the next-door neighbors to the west built a couple of rental duplexes on their property, a woman moved in with her 1959 bare-bones Ford two-door sedan with a six. There was also a guy with a 1962 Grand Prix.
The parents of one of my grade-school classmates had a 1959 Ford Country Squire; someone else in my class came from a family with a 1957 Cadillac Fleetwood. If I walked home a slightly different way, I could see a 1953 Kaiser. Another way took me past a 1957 Mercury Monterey two-door hardtop–if I looked in, I could see the power window switches.
These are just the ones I remember. There were lots more.
A few oddities come to mind. The first was the Eagle Limited sedan driven by my pharmacist’s wife. It was two-tone white and brown and it had brown leather interior. She drove that car for years. I remember asking her how she liked it and she said it was the best car she had ever owned.
The second is the bare bones black 2-door 1978 Oldsmobile 98 that our next door neighbor special ordered. It was an LS model, not even the Regency, and it was stripped. He didn’t want a vinyl top, and he basically ordered it with NO options at all. I remember him telling me it came with a 2-way power seat and he didn’t even want that. He was very cheap!!!!!
Most of the strange cars in our neighborhood were in our driveway (Studebakers, Lloyd, DKW, ’59 VW Westphalia, Citroen, lots of SAABs and Subarus) But the neighbors south of us had a Borgward Isabella. The neighbors north of us had a first year VW Dasher which became known as the “Smasher” as it was embroiled in a series of mostly minor fender benders. Was finally totaled when a tree fell on it.
when I was 12 years old there was a single guy that lived down the road from my family ,that had a shiny new red 1968 or 69 Oldsmobile 442.
And this same guy parked this 442 in front of the 12 ft wide mobile home that he was living in at the time. Talk about having your priority’s strait! .
I worked at a heat treating shop in the 80s that had 2 Supercharged Avantis in a storage room off the main plant. Just sitting there. Just wanted to share that because of the Avanti pic
The family next door had a 1978 Lincoln Continental Town Car and a Buick Century wagon, colonnade vintage, both in a dark emerald green. Then he traded in the Conti for a copper 280ZX Turbo. As their three girls turned 16, they got a white 1980 Camaro (base model), a metallic blue ’84 Subaru GLF (the two-door hardtop), and a red ’88 Celica ST.
The family two doors down always had a pair of Lincolns: a Continental and a Mark V, then a Town Car and a Mark VI. When their daughter turned 16, she got a black Tracer two-door hatch.
As a boy, I found the mid-life crisis cars in my neighborhood amusing — the 280ZX Turbo and two 280ZX 2+2s in copper, gold, and champagne. My father, ever the contrarian, got a gold 1980 Firebird Formula, sans T-tops. Which he promptly gave to my mother…
Wow, JP, I almost think you grew up on the same street I did! A nasty neighbor had a gold Avanti. I think he cared more about the car than he did his kids, he would definitely be considered an abuser today. A young guy who ended up killing himself later on had a green GTO, pretty much identical to the one pictured. There was a Javelin, too, a green one, but it was sadly just a 6cyl. My dad had the Imperial, a bronze ’68, with a hopped up 440 in it. There were a lot of women driving VW Beetles, and one old lawyer guy had a gullwing MB, along with a ’70 Hemi Cuda that he sold for almost nothing just before the prices on them went insane. If only I had known, I could have had it…
When I was a little kid, in the early 70s, it was mostly Oldsmobiles and Buicks. In the mid-70s, W114/115 Mercedes started popping up, along with a few Cadillacs. A neighbor who had been buying a new Corvette every couple of years suddenly got a Porsche 928, which blew my mind. Then Pete Rose, the baseball player, got a Porsche 930 and his then-wife drove a Rolls Royce. Then the guy next to the 928 owner got a gray market BMW 745i. A teenager up the street had a SAAB 99EMS in a smoky silver color. Several men in the subdivision had Triumph TR3s as toys, Dr. Fischer had a Jaguar XKE, navy blue with magnolia leather. Dr. Shahbabian bought a pair of W126 Mercedes sedans and parked them in his circle drive. On a strange note, the people next door had a turbodiesel Continental, and a diesel Seville, both two tone maroon, at the same time. Dunno what the heck they were thinking. Then there was the guy who collected Studebaker pick up trucks, all dark green with red wheels. He also had a candy apple red Avanti…the list goes on and on.
I overlooked the folks on my block…Porsche 924 with some sort of cosmetic package that made it look like a 924 turbo…big flat wheels, rectangular cooling openings in the front valance above the bumper, etc, but normally aspirated. The guy next to them got a BMW 320i, the guy next to them had an enormous Olds Toronado with wrap around back glass. Across the street, matching 79-85 Eldorados, one yellow, the other silver. There was one family who had horses, and they had the only SUV…maroon Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
I live in a Slovak village (cca 2000 residents), and there aren’t many interesting cars around here. People here are mostly driving 10-15 year old Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat or the cleverest enjoy ride in German or Japanese cars with better reliability. New cars aren’t too common, and when so, it’s probably low-cost hatchback.
And my street? Let me take a quick look: our ’08 Ford C-Max, mechanic’s Škoda Octavia and welder’s Ford Fusion (not your US mid-size sedan, but something like supermini MPV-SUV-hatchback crossover, retiree’s favorite here) say mostly everything about our street’s cars – boredom.
The most interesting choose (from villager’s view) is Mercedes M-Class, with 6 liter diesel, owned by a former owner of a garage drugstore, now some kind of contractor.
I hope, that in the bright future somebody will own more interesting. I’m afraid that I will be that first person
I was a kid during the 60’s and 70’s in Burlington, Vt…my Dad probably had one of the more unusual cars in that he had a ’68 Renault R10, which replaced a ’59 VW Beetle, which was totaled by the son of a wealthy man who lived at the end of the street, I remember I was a friend of their youngest son, one older son had an XKE, and the other some sort of Mercedes (which was rare enough to me that I didn’t know at the time what kind of car it was). At this point we became a 2 car family, as my Mother had the station wagon (1965 Oldsmobile F85). I walked to school (actually twice a day, as we went home for lunch) and as the walk was about a mile each way, the bulk on North Avenue, as busy a road as there is in the North end of Burlington, I got to see quite a few cars on my way back and forth. My best friend’s family had a Mercury Comet (probably a ’63) and a ’68 Park Lane Wagon. Up the street lived a co-worker with my father, who had grown kids, and used to take me ice skating on North street, they had a ’66 Dodge Coronet…near them were an old retired couple who had a Lincoln Continental…I remember a ’68 Dodge Monaco with the big triangular taillights with made a big impression on me, and a ’66 Pontiac Executive. The family across the street had a son about my age, and owned a very rusty ’61 Ford Wagon, which you could see the road through parts of the rear of the wagon by the time I lived there. Not in my neighborhood, but I remember seeing a Citroen DS and wondering what the heck it was, it was so different looking than other cars.
We moved to Virginia in between (actually lived in Vermont twice). The next door neighbor had a Fiat 850 plus the requisite Ford Wagon his wife drove. Across the street the family had I think a couple of International Scouts. One of my Father’s co-workers on the street had one of the early electric Sebring-Vangard Citicars, and another had a first generation Honda Civic. I walked to school part of the time, but by the time I was in High School I was taking the bus (no, didn’t own a car until I was about to start college)…I had to take my driver’s license test twice, since we moved within a year of my first obtaining one in Virginia, back up to Vermont..By then I was driving at least part of a leg during long family trips.
I grew up in an upper middle class neighborhood in Wichita Kansas during the 80s and 90s. Being Midwest minivan land we had a surprising number of interesting cars. I remember an old Alfa GTV coupe around the corner (red, I think late 70s) that I thought came from Mars. I also remember a green MG rubber bumpered sports car (Midget I think) one way down the street and a white Fiat/Bertone X 1/9 the other way. Oh and the my neighbors next door had a cool old Rabbit convertable, black on black. Plenty of old American cars too, some guy had a beautiful early 70s Monte Carlo that he’d added fat tired to and what sounded like a bigger engine (pretty sure it wasn’t an SS.) He was probably in his early twenties and always wore a wife beater with a backwards baseball cap and I thought he was the coolest. My neighbors also had one of those 80s Toyota vans that I use to ride to school in every day (we car pooled.) It seemed exotic to me cause it had rear vents (a/c was very important in the summer) which my Moms Aerostar did not have. What else? Someone on the next block at one point had a Saab 96 which looked like a shoe and sounded like a garbage truck idling. And the old couple on the other side of me had a two tone grey Ford Ltd Crown Vic and a grey early 80s Dodge Aries which were so boring that they almost became exotic by default. Everyone else had a van or truck and then later SUVs.
I grew up in a scruffy neighborhood in Anchorage, Alaska called Thunderbird Terrace. It’s the ’70’s, so there’s so much that I can’t remember it all. I’ll tell you what I remember.
’59 Caddy (pink, of course.)
’73 Comet sedan
’73 Mach 1
An Austin Marina
A guy who was always working on his ’63 Impala SS convertible… It was prone to not starting and always seemed to have at least 2 flat tires. Oh, and lace paint.
Almost got hit by a brown ’72 Torino wagon riding my bike across the street.
…As for us, we stepped up our game from a ’62 Monterey to a ’71 Chevelle Coupe 350 and a ’69 Ford F-250.