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Dick B
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Dick B
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PostSun Apr 23, 2023 10:59 am 
I recently received a thread that discussed how cars have changed over the years. I thought it might be fun to compare some thoughts about then and now. What vehicles were like when you made your way up to your favorite trail head. Here are some things I recall: No turn signals. You stuck your arm out. No automatic transmissions early on. Either 3 on the tree or 3 or 4 on the floor. You learned how to double clutch. No seat belts. My first new car was a '62 Karman Ghia and I put the seat belts (lap only) in myself. Tires had tubes and you learned to patch them. Cheapest tires were usually retreads. I remember when gas hit a dollar a gallon in the 70s. You could actually make some simple repairs and components were accessible.

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coldrain108
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coldrain108
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PostSun Apr 23, 2023 4:46 pm 
imagine how much a car would have cost back in 1965 with all the computer enhancements that are standard in today's most basic vehicles. Millions. And you would need a trailer to haul it all. BTW, I drove a 60's Nova with a 3 on the tree. You had to turn the steering wheel 3 full rotations to get it to change lanes...easy to work on. Then I got a 72 Nova that I drove across the US multiple times. The Super Nova was it's nickname. 302 with an automatic. Hit 120mph crossing the WY SD border at 2am, we hit the first rest area just in time to see a couple Highway Patrol vehicles go flying by in pursuit of us. Kept it under 100 the rest of the way through SD. Killed several thousand bugs, splatsplatsplat.

Since I have no expectations of forgiveness, I don't do it in the first place. That loop hole needs to be closed to everyone.

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Dick B
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Dick B
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PostSun Apr 23, 2023 7:19 pm 
I paid around $2500 for my Ghia brand new in '62. There is a '64 advertised on Bend Craigslist for $13000. Fastest I can remember pushing this car was when I got into a race on the freeway west of Pendleton. Pegged it at 90. I don't know who finally won. Its a wonder I didn't blow the engine. It was just the basic VW engine, maybe 1600ccs. Once drove it to the trailhead on the Bogachiel, then hiked upriver to meet my brother and his wife at the Flapjack shelter. Fun car but room was tight and not much power.

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Schroder
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PostMon Apr 24, 2023 4:30 pm 
My first trailhead car was a '52 Plymouth. It had pretty good clearance but not good enough to prevent the oilpan from getting pushed in going up the original road to the Lake Serene trailhead. My 2nd one was a '63 VW Beetle that was great on logging roads. I can't count how many times I rebuilt that engine but I do remember I could have it out of the car in 20 minutes. More than once I drove it to the base of Mystery Ridge above Monte Cristo.

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Randito
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PostMon Apr 24, 2023 4:44 pm 
Perforated the muffler in a '68 vw bug driving to Goldmyer hot springs in the late 70s. This bug also had the wing window pried open at the Eightmile trailhead over 4th July weekend '75 and the toolkit one always carries in a VW stolen. Current trailhead car is my 97 Toyota Hiace van with full time 4WD and 9 inches of clearance.

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Slugman
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Slugman
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PostSat Apr 29, 2023 8:22 pm 
In 1968 a VW Beetle was $1800, but an AMC Rambler American was $1650. Inline 6, bench seats for six (in theory), it had boxy and basic written all over it. It ran until it was crashed. My first car was a Ford of England Anglia Deluxe. Cool but not practical. Now I drive a 1994 Saturn that I got for free 9 years ago.

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Hesman
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PostSat Apr 29, 2023 8:49 pm 
Dick B wrote:
You learned how to double clutch.
The last landscape company I worked for had a 1985 Ford F600 dump truck, with a 5 on the floor manual transmission. I quickly learned that it was best to double clutch when changing gears while driving The Beast. It also had a split shifter, so each gear had a low and a high. Talk about having a granny gear in 1st. I recall it topped out at about 3 miles per hour in low first gear. I also recall the PTO for the dump bed was a pain in the rear to get it engage properly and of all the people who worked there, I was the only one who could get it to engage on the first try. When no one could get the PTO to work, they would come groveling to me, begging me to use my special Hesman touch to get it to engage. I always joked with them that they had to talk dirty to the truck just right to get the PTO to work.

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. - Abraham Lincoln Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. - Dr. Seuss
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Dick B
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Dick B
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PostSun Apr 30, 2023 11:21 am 
My first car was a '37 chevy coupe. I bought it before my senior year in high school for which I paid $125. I did quite a bit of tinkering on her. Replaced the clutch, changed out the transmission, then had to rebuild and replace it. Swapped out the fuel pump, pulled the head so the valves could be ground. If other stuff, I have forgotten. The old girl lasted me thru my senior year in high school, 2 years at Everett JC, and a year or so at the U of W. The brakes were what spelled the end. I didn't have the $$, the knowhow or a place to fix them. While at the U, I washed trucks in South Seattle on weekends. This was before the freeway, so my route from the U District was thru downtown Seattle. Traffic was pretty lite early in the morning on weekends. Afternoons were a different story especially if a football game had just ended. There were many traffic lights, and there was always a question as to whether I could stop if the light turned red. I would begin pumping the brakes about a half block before the intersection. Sometimes I would get a green light, sometimes a red light and I could stop, and sometimes a red light and I couldn't stop. Fortunately, the traffic gods were with me, and I never had a mishap. Finally, my dad deemed the old girl to be untrustworthy, so he put me into a '41 Plymouth sedan to close out my college career. One of my main work spots was, at that time, the Thriftway Grocers warehouse at the south end of Boeing field. They were still test flying B52s there, and I would occasionally watch as one would either take off or land. It was pretty impressive to see one of those pass overhead at only a few hundred feet above the ground.

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Bowregard
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PostSun Apr 30, 2023 11:04 pm 
1. First car was a '67 Rambler Rebel bought for $1. Only shifted into reverse and never went forward for me before I sold the tires for $50 and remainder for scrap. This one never made it to a trailhead. 2. That gave me enough to purchase a '71 Mercury Cyclone GT (Mercury's version of a muscle car with weird "sports" styling). They put 428 Cobra Jet engines in some of these but mine was a 351C. Gold and brown plaid vinyl roof and seats keyed down both sides. The passenger door wouldn't open from the inside which made things a bit awkward on dates. Got me around and kept me broke during the gas crisis. 3. To save on gas I bought a '71 Mercury Capri for $650 which almost got me through college. The lower panels were all rusting through, the paint was oxidized grey, and the valence panel was missing which made it completely unstable on the highway at 75 MPH. But it a a cool little foot pedal ring around the wiper washer pump that would trigger the wipers. I used to tell people it had a rain sensor and went on automatically when is sensed rain. Hard to believe I actually own a car that does that now. Oh - and when my rear muffler (probably a catalytic converter) fell off I just stored it in my dorm room - It was quieter there. Always had a touchy clutch which made mountain roads "interesting" at times. 4. Mercury Bobcat Station wagon. This was a beauty that I got from my parents ($0) complete with simulated wood grain which was the getaway car for our wedding. Not good for the mountains - low clearance, no power, weak clutch cable, etc. I got pretty good at driving without a clutch when the cable would go out but the lack of power made syncing the gears before shifting mandatory. 5. '88 Ranger STX super cab 4X4 (new for $13,300). Just sold this on a few years ago. It was probably my favorite trailhead vehicle unless the destination was Winchester Mt. and my wife was in the passenger seat (the height increased anxiety about drop-offs). Since then it has been min-vans and small SUVs which I won't bore you anymore about.

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Dick B
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PostMon May 01, 2023 8:15 pm 
Here are some things I remember about my '37 Chevy. The dimmer switch was on the floor next to the clutch pedal, The starter was also on the floorboard next to the throttle. The engine, of course, had a carburetor. There were no auto chokes in those days so there was a hand choke and hand throttle on the dash. Cold starts required some choke, and you set the idle with the hand throttle. No blinkers. I think the wipers were operated on engine compression rather than an electric motor, so the wiper speed varied depending if you were accelerating or decelerating. All the repairs that required getting under the car meant that I laid on my back in the dirt. My biggest challenge was reinstalling the drive train when I replaced the clutch. The clutch plate, the pressure plate and the pilot shaft on the transmission all had to line up so the end of the pilot shaft would seat into the flywheel. Imagine laying on your back and holding up a heavy transmission. juggling the clutch and presser plates and getting it all to line up. I tried for I don't know for how long and it became obvious I wasn't going to get it to work. I finally went to my great uncle, who was a mechanic, and I asked for his help. He handed me a 10" long pilot shaft to use. Without having to juggle the transmission, it took about 15 minutes to line everything up and get it bolted down. Then the transmission slipped right in with no hassle. I remember that license fees were based on the value of the car. Mine was around $6.00 per year or maybe for 2 years. I don't recall that we had to worry about insurance. The car came with a nice pea green paint job. I hated it, so I decided to repaint it. I couldn't afford a real paint job, so I did it with a brush. I should have left it like it was. Brush jobs are really ugly. Did it in blue, then redid in black. It certainly wasn't a chick magnet, but it got me around. I did have backup tho. I had 2 older brothers. One had a 48 Ford business coupe, and the other a '49 or '50 Merc. Both brothers were in the service. One on Guam with the Navy and the other in the Marines in Korea. I had free use of their cars while the were gone.

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Chief Joseph
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Chief Joseph
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PostMon May 01, 2023 10:34 pm 
Dick B wrote:
I did have backup tho
I always have a backup vehicle, battery was dead on my 2011 Escape last winter and would have missed the poker game if not for my '94 Ranger. I also have a 1990 Celica, 2003 Suburban, '69 Camaro, and '74 Ford f-100. First vehicle, '71 Dodge truck, still hate Dodges and will never own another. Usually drive my Celica for hiking, but it is really low to the ground, took it to Kelcema lake once and was plowing rocks in one area. I really want a Toyota truck but they are even more pricey and hard to find with the current vehicle shortage plus many have a 5' bed...no way, I want to be able to sleep stretched out in the back.

Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
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domaz
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domaz
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PostTue May 02, 2023 8:31 am 
Well for one thing cars are a thing of the past. Everyone wants a huge truck or at least a SUV crossover vehicle. Many car companies have stopped selling anything resembling a compact car in the US.

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mike
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PostTue May 02, 2023 10:00 am 
Dick B wrote:
No automatic transmissions early on.
Define, early on. My '46 Chrysler had Fluid Drive. Kind of a hybrid. It had an automatic transmission but it had a clutch too if you didn't like the gear the car thought you should be in. The thing was a boat and floated down the highway. We joked that you had to be careful you didn't open the door to get out while doing 80 and thinking you were stopped. Next car was a '59 Beetle. Took many trips up to alpental night skiing. You could ski right back down and on to the chair. No lines. The way the engine hung off the back meant that the muffler and tail pipes were always getting scraped of when going across any little dip on a logging road. Blew a rod right out of #3. Pretty typical since the funky heat shroud let it run hot. After that had a '63 Rambler. What a slug. Then a '56 International PU, '63 Chev panel, and more...

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Dick B
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Dick B
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PostTue May 02, 2023 11:19 am 
Mike. I never did Dodges, so didn't know their auto history. My first exposure to an auto trans was a '52 Buick special my brother bought new after he graduated H.S. It had the Dynoflow drive, I think it was first introduced in the late '40s. The drive was nicknamed the dynaslush, or flush. 0 to 60 seemed to take a minute or so. Jim would always start in low and shift to drive just to feel some pickup. Nice ride tho. I believe Chevy came out with the power glide in 1950. My first car with an automatic was a '54 Ford which I bought right after exiting my tour in the army. Nice little car. I believe that was the first model with an overhead valve engine. Ford introduced an auto in '51. I also had quite a history with VWs. First was the Ghia, then a series of beetles: a new '64 work car, a new '67 family (one of my forever favorites), a used '65 work car that I almost got killed in, a new square back work car, a 4 door pickup work rig, and a 71 Westphalia bus as kind of a cheap RV. Our last VW was an 04 Jetta TDI wagon. All had a sorted history, but basically served us well. All had a stick shift.

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pimaCanyon
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PostSun May 21, 2023 1:30 pm 
my first car was a hand-me-down from my Dad, a 1964 VW Beetle that I almost died in when a drunk driver had his left blinker on on A1A (4 lane hwy), I passed him on the right doing 45 or 50, and at the last minute the drunk guy decided to turn right. He clipped me in the left rear fender, knocked me off the road, and luckily I regained the shoulder missing a concrete utility pole by inches. My passenger was totally freaked. Me, it all happened so fast (and I don't even remember noticing the utility pole) and no major damage done, so I was okay with it. Anyway, Dad gave me the VW, we replaced the left rear fender (junk yard), then a couple of years later I rebuilt the engine right down to the crankshaft and main bearings. I put on oversized pistons and cylinders, ramped it up from 40 to 50 horsepower! Found out the hard way that when you put on oversized pistons and cylinders, you should also put in oversized studs that hold the cyl heads on top of the cylinders because about 10,000 miles into the rebuilt engine, the studs pulled out of the soft magnesium alloy that was the crankcase. Fun times!

It's never too late to have a happy childhood
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