21 May 2019

Before They Became Toasters...

Officer's Candidate School was hard.
I learned the secret early on. (And that knowledge also illuminated many of the secrets of life!)
Refuse to quit.
When someone tries to piss you off, smile and ask for more.
So I made it. I graduated and pinned on my "butter bars".

I promised myself early in the OCS program that if I graduated and started getting a regular, "almost livable" paycheck, I'd treat myself to a new car.
So in November of 1967 when I went shopping for a car, what did that 20-yr. old have to choose from?
400+ Cubic-inch engines in virtually any manufacturer's line...
426 Hemis in various Chrysler products.
427 Monsters in Chevrolets and Fords.
400's in Oldsmobiles, Pontiacs, and Buicks.
MUSCLE CARS. Cars with individual personalities.

I had long lusted for an Oldsmobile 442 owned by a friend in High School.
But when the new 1968 442's came out in November of '67, they had changed the body style from the squared-off, boxy '66 that I loved.
But I didn't HATE the way the new car looked, so I plunked down the cash, and took delivery of the car a month after ordering it.

I owned that car for 6 years and put 96,000 miles on the odometer.
During that time I replaced the water pump and the front wheel bearings.
That's all.
And I LOVED every moment of driving that car.

How things have changed.
In 1970 you could walk through a parking lot and identify EVERY make and model car by looking at its ass.
Try doing that today.
Gas mileage rules. And mileage is ruled by aerodynamics and the wind tunnel.
And that makes all these four-wheeled pieces of crap look like members of the same, inbred family!

Our Taurus SHO is faster, more comfortable, more luxurious, more reliable, and quieter than anything made back when I promised myself a new automobile.
It gets better gas mileage (on regular unleaded fuel) too.

But it's an appliance.
It's not exciting.
And I guess, for this old man, that's a GOOD thing, huh?


Ed Bonderenka said...

This is my third Taurus.
The first a '96, the second a '99 after the first was totaled and the third a 2015.
Whenever I lent the '99 to someone they remarked how the acceleration surprised them (at 30MPG highway).
The '15 seems quicker and more luxurious. And it's not a SHO. I decided against that because I couldn't keep my foot out of it.
I consider it one of the nicest appliances I've ever owned.
my daily vehicle is an 18 year old Ranger with the same motor.
Rust is going to end my relationship with it someday.

Greybeard said...

Our car is amazingly QUIET, Ed. And I had not realized how fatiguing noise can be.
Driving 10-12 hours in this car just does not wear us out the way the same trip does in our Dodge Ram Cummins diesel does. But that's a really unfair comparison because the Cummins is one of the noisiest things on the road!
The SHO is sneaky fast though... and probably a good thing you decided not to chance it.

Old NFO said...

Yeah, I look at the cars and STILL can't tell what half of them are. Sadly, most of the new ones have MORE horsepower than we did back in the day, but they're all 'vanilla'... I miss my 66 GTO... sigh