COAL: The Cars Of My Father In Law

This should really be listed as a FILOAL for Father In Law Of A Lifetime.

I’ve talked about my father in law Paul a few times, but he’s now in an assisted living facility and not doing well. So I wanted to talk a bit about him and his love for cars.

Paul has owned/leased some 70 cars over his lifetime! He liked to tell me about his first new car, a 1961 Dodge Pioneer. At the time, he lived in Brooklyn and explained that they didn’t have traditional car lots. Rather, they had a display of each model and then you ordered it the way you wanted it.

My wife Cindy, the eldest of the two girls, recalls driving with her mom and sister to pick him up from the train station. They still lived in Brooklyn and his rubber stamp company was in Manhattan. They rode a 1970 Crestwood wagon and the song Sunny would play over and over in their 8-track.

In 1972 they made the decision to move to Sunrise, Florida. He felt the 1971 Cadillac he was driving would be cramped for the trip and decided to buy a 1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser. Then he went to the dealer and they showed him a unit with all the options. After trade in, he bought the Vista Cruiser and got money back!

Photo from the web.


In the mix, he’s told me about the Cadillacs, Lincolns, Pontiacs, Fords, and even a Lancia Zagato!  But my very favorite story he tells is one of seeing a brand new 1977 Lincoln Mark V Givenchy on a car carrier. Then he made a U-turn and followed the truck to the Lincoln Mercury dealer at Fort Lauderdale.

As soon as he got inside, he picked the first salesman who wasn’t busy, and he explained that he wanted to buy the Mark V. The salesman said “Sir we haven’t even unloaded that car or received it yet!” Paul said, “That’s OK, I’ll be back in an hour!” And he did. He traded in a very lightly used Mercedes that he never cared for.

The last car he owned actually belongs to my wife and me. When he could no longer drive, he became very depressed. He enjoyed going and buying cars, he enjoyed the game of getting the best price, etc. I told him that I would be his chauffeur going forward, but that I would let him choose the car that we bought. It came down to the choice of a 97 Town Car with a bad clock spring or a 2004 Grand Marquis LS Ultimate Edition. The Marquis is silver with grey leather and only showed 130,000 miles. A clean car overall that he really likes to this day.

The Ford store was higher on the price, but they had gone through the car, changing all the fluids, detailing it and making sure all recalls were done.

We had to drive two hours from our home in Tennessee to North Carolina, and he wanted to go. It would be his last road trip. We got to the dealer, and true to form, he did the dance. They thought $7400 was a good deal, and he disagreed!

So he got the car for $6400 out the door with a full tank of gas! He truly enjoyed that day! He couldn’t see well enough to drive, but he enjoyed being a passenger. He said the car reminded him of a Lincoln.

I’m sure that everyone on here has lost a loved one, and that is such a tough emotional thing to go through. We’ve had him and my mother in law living with us for the last 4 years, and I must say that watching him go downhill, well that hurts my heart. We lost my mother in law last July within 9 days of her receiving a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. His room at the nursing home is right next to the one where she passed away.

However, something really cool happened with my father in law this past week. My son Jacob, who lives nearby, bought his first new car, a Mustang Mach E. He wanted so badly to show it to Paul, that he drove to our home first thing in the morning.

For the first time since he moved into our home, Jacob convinced him to go outside. So Jacob got a wheelchair and rolled him out to check out the Mach E. The smile on Paul’s face was priceless, as he looked the car over and as Jacob told him how he made the deal!

I read Paul the articles I’ve posted at CC, and he really enjoys hearing them. Thank you for allowing me to share.