There’s a meme running around. I’ve tried spraying for it but it keeps coming back. Apparently folks are discussing their first vehicles. I’m game.
My first vehicle was a Ford Courier. No machine has even been so perfectly calibrated to be a man’s first truck. It was tough, slow, useful, strong, ugly, and cheap; like me. I could carry only only one passenger. (Three if we were crammed like a phone booth.) It had a manual transmission (as God intended) so I learned to shift (as all men should). The brakes once failed so I mastered driving without brakes…knowledge that has served me well.
The radio was a delight. Someone had direct wired a tape deck and jammed it into the dash. It was loud enough to be heard over the noisy muffler and that was handy. Suddenly a memory comes to me…the dash was steel. (Oh how I’d love to have a steel dash again instead of the modern Tupperware Ralph Nader has inflicted upon us.)
It had manual window cranks. Remember them? Air conditioning would have been inconceivable. It was two wheel drive and the tires were nothing to write home about. (One came used off a hay wagon for $10.) It would fishtail far too easily. (4×4 wasn’t common among anyone back then.) The parking brake was a huge lever you’d yank backward out of the dash like you were fixing to harpoon a whale.
It had been through at least six and possibly more owners. There was rust everywhere. You could see the road beneath the gas pedal but the draft wasn’t too bad when the heater was on. The frame was near to catastrophic failure.
The top of the dash was inexplicably covered with fake fur. For no apparent reason I called it “monkey fur”. I felt obligated to hang fuzzy dice on the rear view mirror.
It was geared low. True highway speeds would spool it up like a hummingbird on crack. It was fine for country roads.
It was underpowered and got shitty mileage. It ran on leaded gas which was getting hard to find.
The passenger door would occasionally pop open. I told my girlfriend to wear a seatbelt and never lean on the door. She didn’t think I was serious. One day it popped open and she nearly flew out. Good thing she was wearing her seatbelt! She was a keeper. We’ve been married over twenty years.
I had a ratty cap on the truck bed. You could haul a lot of stuff in there. Sometimes I camped in the back. I would rake and haul away leaves for a little money on the side. I remember many truckloads of leaves but I can’t remember where I put them. Go figure.
It had a bumper sticker that said “Willie Nelson For President”. We’ve done worse.
Youth never lasts. When my life changed to include a highway commute I had to “upgrade” to a much newer car. It was far nicer in appearance and had a sunroof (which leaked). Alas it was inferior in all other ways; especially reliability. The Courier outlasted it’s shiny replacement. An older fellow I knew drove it for a few years before his idiot son wrecked it. The son should have been flogged. I think the fellow agreed.