Cohort Outtake: 1961 Falcon Driver Education Car (Not) – So What Was Your Driver’s Ed Car?

OK, so the sign and the car that CC Cohort runningonfumes shot don’t quite match up. But what a fine sign it is. So here’s a chance to reminisce about Driver’s Ed. What car did you drive? And did you have simulators? Like these:

Here’s a group heading out in 1953. Look at how they’ve got their hands on the gear shift. Did it jerk back if you dumped the clutch?

Or maybe something a bit more modern, like this one. Yes, that could be me, at Towson High’s excellent Driver Ed facility, except my hair is too short. “I’m going to nail that guy stepping into the street!” Looks like a Mopar steering wheel to me, with an automatic. When did they stop teaching on manuals?

And here’s what I drove around Loch Raven Reservoir, on my first legal drive. Same color too. I was already seventeen and a half, since my parents’ punishment for getting caught driving at fifteen was to postpone my license until eighteen. They relented six months early. But I had two years of regular practice in between.

I made up some BS story to the Driver Ed teacher that I had already had a learner’s permit in Iowa, and was an experienced (legal) driver. So he spared me the first drive in the parking lot, and just had me head out. The brand new Chevy’s 350/THM combo was buttery smooth, and by 1970, big Chevys finally had decent sized 15″ tires, and handled unlike those of yore. Not that I pushed it hard on that trip. I was determined to give him a ride fit for the pope, and the Impala was an obliging partner. He never asked me to drive again. Too bad; nothing more boring than to have to ride around in the back of a Driver’s Ed car on a summer day. I should have pretended to be a nincompoop.