Friday, January 9, 2009

Cars Part 1: 1969 Ford Torino Country Squire Station Wagon

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Thank you.

Cars are cool.

I’m a car guy, and I got it honestly. My old man was a car guy too.

I thought it would be groovy to look back and list all the cars I’ve ever owned, and try to remember as much as I could about them and any comedic episodes connected with them.

Of course, my definition of comedic may vary greatly from yours, so bear with me on this.

Sometimes, our cars can help us tell our story, and our story, both the good and the bad parts, makes us what we are.


1969 Ford Torino Country Squire station wagon—Also known simply as The Racecar. It was my first vehicle. It was an old family car purchased from Dad for $300. It had faux wood paneling on the sides, a luggage rack on top, and a 351 cubic inch displacement (CID) Windsor V-8 with a 4 barrel carburetor.

The Racecar would run like a raped ape and still get 20 miles per gallon at the then price of 85 cents per gallon!

It seated 8 comfortably, and I put in a Craig AM/FM 8-Track under-dash stereo with two large 3-way home speakers in back.

AC/DC's If You Want Blood You've Got It never sounded better, and could be heard from blocks away.

It was in this car that I got my first speeding ticket for going 41 in a 30 zone.

It was also in this car, and the only time ever since I started driving, that I ran a vehicle out of fuel and was stranded.

In 1981, me and three high school buddies, Lowell, Todd, and Mike, loaded up and drove from Indiana to Daytona Beach, Florida in this rig on Spring Break...bad ball joints and all. It squeaked like an old ox cart with every bounce…really impressing the ladies while cruising on the beach!

Good times.

I put air shocks on it so the ass-end would be all jacked up and way more cooler. When the muffler needed to be replaced, I went with a glass-pack, because everybody knows glass-packs are bitchin’ and they make your racecar go faster.

Glass pack muffler

One day while the car sat unattended in my high school’s parking lot, somebody smashed a couple of the side windows.

Later, my satchel of rockin’ 8-Track tapes was stolen, in broad daylight, from the car as it sat right outside my house.

At a party one night, somebody snapped off both windshield wipers and broke the wiper motor transmission arms.

Fucking vandals...

Most of these items I easily repaired from parts readily available at a local junkyard.

Still…anybody who fucks with another person’s car is a low-down dirty bastard in my book.

My buddy Rupert could qualify as a low-down dirty bastard sometimes. One summer night, me and a carload of high school buddies were cruising around town looking for something to get into.

Rupert was along for the ride.

He had the ability to manufacture an incident out of nothing.

Rupert was an asshole sometimes…a lot of times. He decided it would be a good idea to chuck his Michelob bottle into the windshield of an oncoming vehicle. We weren’t in the best part of town, and I wasn’t looking to get shot that evening, so I drove like the wind out of that area as fast as I could…all the while reminding Rupert what a stupid ignorant fuck he truly was.

I don’t know why I ever hung out with him.

Maybe it was because of his hawt older sister.

Who’s to say?

Certainly not me.

Today, Rupert is a mature and contributing member of society with a lovely wife and family, and is in no way an asshole.

We all grow up.



Anyhoo...I was never the type of guy to fuck with someone for no reason. I figured if I didn’t start nuthin,’ there wouldn’t be nuthin,’ and I REALLY hated it when my friends would do stupid shit while riding in my car.

Drinking was one thing…starting some unnecessary shit was another. I became infamous among my friends for setting the ground rules of riding in my cars.

“You wanna walk home?” was the threat they received from me when they started acting like fools in my vehicle, and I would usually pull over to the side of the road and stop to make myself crystal clear.

The really stupid incidents declined greatly, and my buddies decided I was serious about kicking their asses to the curb if they were over exuberant in their youthful displays of delinquent behavior.


After a particular Indy 500, I was stuck in heavy traffic, trying to get to work. In front of me was a Jeep Wrangler. We were stopped at a light. The cop directing traffic ordered the Jeep guy to go through the intersection. Then, the cop changed his mind and told the Jeep guy to back up.

The Jeep guy, frustrated and probably a little tired from race day festivities, didn’t check his six, threw it into reverse, and slammed the nose of my car with his rear-mounted spare tire. My hood, grille, and bumper were toast, and my radiator was pierced when the cooling fan went through it.


Luckily, the Jeep guy had insurance, and my rig was put back together, almost good as new, with more parts from the salvage yard and a partial paint job.

Later, I wanted to patch up some of the rust holes in the rocker panels and lower fenders, so Dad, the master of improvisation, helped me do it with pieces of aluminum siding, pop rivets, and body filler. It turned out looking pretty good, actually. I was surprised and pleased with the results, especially since it cost almost nothing to do.

I’m cheap like that.

One time, I was in the car, getting ready to pull away from the curb in front of my house. My dad, whose legs were crushed in a boyhood auto accident and couldn’t walk real well, was watching me from the driveway.

I bet he was thinking, “That’s my boy. I am so very proud of him!”

I drive away from the curb without head-checking behind me or glancing in my mirrors, and I sideswipe a neighbor who is driving down our street in his Chrysler New Yorker…leaving a nice Whiskey Rash all down the side of his car!

I quickly look over at my dear, partially crippled father. He has thrown both arms high into the air, as if signaling TOUCHDOWN, and is circling and pirouetting like a Russian ballerina!

It is apparent to me that he is none too pleased, but I also note his catlike agility in this situation.

I wonder to myself if he has been malingering and faking his injuries all these years.

I think Dad dropped me from the family’s auto insurance policy soon afterwards, and allowed me to search for suitable insurance on my own.

He was a smart dad.

Once I graduated from high school, I grew weary of driving a station wagon. A station wagon will never do when one is a male youth with alarming amounts of testosterone coursing through him.

It was time to let the wagon go.


  1. Thank you ..
    Please send up one red flare when you get to the MG's and Datsuns. I suspect you had afew.

  2. Great story!
    Thanks for sharing it. I have a chance to buy a '69 Torino Squire Wagon now and was searching on the web for info today. That is how I found your page.
    I created and run the website
    Long Island Classic
    Started it about 10 years ago.
    Check out the site when you have a chance. Use Firefox or Chrome as IE has blocks restricting many of the links on my site.
    Enjoy, and thanks again for the Torino Wagon story!

    1. Thanks.

      I hope you get the car, and good luck with it. I also hope it's a western car, because they rust like crazy, and you'll have mucho metal to repair. I can remember the spare tire area and the floor to the third seat rotting real bad, as well as the usual places like the rocker panels and lower fenders.

      I also had a rear shock mount plate break on me, but at the time there were still plenty of donor cars in the junkyards. Not so much anymore...

      Funny how back in the late 70s and early 80s that wagon I had was Dork-Mobile Supreme. Now it's cool!


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