RLY CARS I HAVE DRIVEN MOST I OWNED

THE FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF ALL OF THE CARS I HAVE OWNED PLUS 3 CARS MY FOLKS OWNED BEFORE I WAS OLD ENOUGH TO DRIVE, I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN FASCINATED WITH AUTOS AND AS A YOUNG PERSON DREAMED OF HAVING MORE THAN ONE CAR TO DRIVE. TO DATE I HAVE FULFILLED THAT DREAM AND HAVE OWNED 46 CARS AS FOLLOWS:
BMW 1, BUICK 3, CADILLAC 6, CHEVROLET 9, DATSUN 1, DODGE 2, FORD 1, MERCEDES 6. OLDSMOBILE 2, PLYMOUTH 2, PONTIAC 2, PORSCHE 4, SAAB, 3, STUDEBAKER 1 VOLKSWAGAN 3. A FEW OF THESE WERE BOUGHT NEW INCLUDING A 1950 PONTIAC 4 DOOR GREEN SRAIGHT 8 SEDAN BOUGHT FROM THE GMC PONTIAC DEALER IN EVANSTON. ILLINOIS FOR 2,200 DOLLARS CASH, A 1960 PLYMOUTH VALIANT RED 4 DOOR SEDAN SLANT SIX ENGINE WITH TRADE IN OF 1955 STUDEBAKER CHAMPION AT THE DODGE PLYMOUTH DEALER IN TULLAHOMA, A 1961 TWO TONE BLUE CHEVROLET HARDTOP IMPALA WITH A/C AND V8 ENGINE WITH TRADE IN OF 1960 PLYMOUH VALIANT AT SHAPARD'S CHEVROLET DEALER IN TULLAHOMA, 1968 4 DOOR SEDAN GRAY BUICK ELECTRA WITH V8 ENGINE 4,800 DOLLARS AT FRANK NORMAN BUICK IN TULLAHOMA, 1972 FOUR DOOR HARDTOP 2 TONE BROWN BUICK ELECTRA 225 TRADED IN 1965 BUICK WILDCAT FOUR DOOR SEDAN AT MATTOON, ILLINOIS BUICK DEALER,

I WAS IN 8TH GRADE AT LAMBERT SCHOOL WHEN THE FOLKS WENT TO DECATUR TO TRADE IN THE 1935 CHEVROLET. I REMEMBER KNOWING IN THE AFTERNOON THAT THEY WERE BACK HOME BUT HAVING TO ENDURE TWO MORE LONG HOURS OF SCHOOL BEFORE I COULD GO HOME AND SEE IT. (the lower case in the following is mostly other things that were going on at the time.)
as the only person in the 8th grade at lambert grade school, i graduated in may of 1939 and entered neoga highschool in september, 1939. the first car i can remember dad owning was a 1926 Maxwell four cylinder sedan. the body was shot on it and in the late 20s he and ray king replaced the maxwell body with a newer chrysler body in our garage. chrysler had bought maxwell and the chrysler bodies would fit the maxwell. i was with dad in about 1930 when he picked up the maxwell from the garage in trilla and it sputtered, almost quit and barely made it home. so dad and mom took it to mattoon and bought a used 1930 chevrolet 6 cylinder sedan on a gm time payment plan. despite the fact that it was the depression and cash was short, owing the money made them so nervous that they paid it off in the shortest time possible. never again would they buy anything on time. in late 1934, the folks had a new 1935 standard model chevrolet two door sedan for $715. we drove it in 1935 to rhinelander, wisconsin for an august vacation with uncle and aunt harry sparks and cousin harry jr. at a resort on lake tomahawk plus other vacations in wisconsin. in 1937 we went to a little lake in waupaca wisconsin with a few cabins and a big tavern. fishing was poor and there was a lot of noise at night from the tavern. next day we headed for ely minnesota and stayed at silver rapids lodge the first night but the next day moved to pine point lodge where we became close friends of the owners, the seliskars. we went there annually in august until the late 1940s.
1938 CHEVROLET
THIS IS THE CAR BOUGHT IN DECATUR, ILLINOIS THAT I SAW IN OUR DRIVEWAY WHEN MY LAMBERT SCHOOL DAY FINALLY ENDED. IN 1940 I LEARNED TO DRIVE IN OUR 2 DOOR 1938 CHEVROLET DELUX SEDAN. IT WAS BROWN, 6 CYLINDER WITH A RADIO THAT PUSHBUTTON TUNED BY AN ELECTRIC MOTOR WHICH DROVE THE DIAL AROUND. THE FOLKS HAD TRADED IN OUR 1935 CHEVROLET TWO DOOR SEDAN FOR THIS USED CAR IN DECATUR, ILLINOIS. THE 1941 CHEVROLET WAS THE CAR I DROVE ALL THROUGH HIGHSCHOOL. EVEN THOUGH WE HAD A 35 MPH SPEED LIMIT, GAS RATIONING AND A SHORTAGE OF TIRES, THE FOLKS GENEROUSLY LET ME USE THE CAR A FAIR AMOUNT FOR DATES AND OTHER SOCIAL ACTIVITIES. IN VIEW OF THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE GAS AND TIRE SITUATION, I DOUBT THAT I WOULD HAVE BEEN THAT GENEROUS WITH ME.
1941 CHEVROLET
IN THE FALL OF 1941, DAD TRADED THE 38 CHEVY FOR A NEW 1941 TWO TONE BLUE SPECIAL DELUXE TWO DOOR SEDAN WITH A LIST PRICE OF 931 DOLLARS. IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL CAR WITH A 6 CYLINDER OVERHEAD VALVE MOTOR AND VACUUM ASSISTED THREE ON THE TREE GEAR SHIFTER. WE DROVE THIS CAR ALL THROUGH THE WAR AND IN 1947 DAD HAD IT RESTORED AND GAVE IT TO ME TO DRIVE. PARKING WAS SUCH A PROBLEM WHERE I LIVED IN EVANSTON THAT I SOLD THE CAR FOR 700 DOLLARS IN 1949. THE FELLOW I SOLD IT TO ASKED ME IF IT WOULD RUN TO MISSISSIPPI ALONG WITH A TRUCK LOAD OF OTHER USED CARS HE WAS GOING TO SELL THERE. I TOLD HIM IT WOULD AND I'LL BET IT DID. PHYLLIS AND I DROVE THE PLYMOUTH HOME FOR THANKSGIVING 1947. WHEN WE STARTED BACK FOR EVANSTON ON SUNDAY, THE ROADS WERE OK BUT NORTH OF MATTOON WE RAN INTO VERY ICY ROADS. THEY WERE SO SLICK THAT PEOPLE WERE JUST SLIDING OFF THE ROADS BECAUSE OF THE SLOPE ON ROUTE 45 CURVES. THE FACT THAT THE PLYMOUTH DID NOT HAVE MUCH ACCELERATION WAS OF ASSISTANCE IN GENTLY ACCELERATING ON THAT VERY SLICK ICE. THE TRIP NORMALLY TOOK 5 TO 6 HOURS BUT THIS TIME IT TOOK ALMOST 10. WE WERE EXHAUSTED BUT WE GOT UP NEXT MORNING AND WENT TO WORK. GREAT TO BE YOUNG! in basketball at neoga highschool, i made the first team as center at the start of my sophomore year. i graduated from highschool in may 1943 and left home in october 1943 to join the navy v-12 unit at the university of illinois. in june 1944, i was transferred to northwestern univerisy to study for a bs degree in mechanical engineering. that i completed in june 1946.
1936 PLYMOUTH
JUST AFTER I GOT OUT OF THE NAVY IN 1946, MY UNCLE BOB CLARK, WHO RAN A STUDENT BOARDING HOUSE IN CHAMPAIGN NEAR THE U OF ILLINOIS, HAD A LOW MILEAGE 1936 PLYMOUTH FOUR DOOR SEDAN FOR SALE. IT WAS SOLID GRAY, AND HAD ONLY ABOUT 30,000 MILES ON IT. WE GAVE HIM 600 DOLLARS FOR IT AND I DROVE IT IN EVANSTON FOR ABOUT 2 YEARS UNTIL DAD GAVE ME THE 1941 CHEVY. THE PLYMOUTH HAD A HUGE CIRCULAR SPEEDOMETER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DASH (PERHAPS 9 INCHES IN DIAMETER) WITH GAUGES ARRANGED AROUND THE CIRCUMFERANCE. DURING ONE OF MY VACATIONS AT HOME, DAD AND RAY KING REPLACED THE HEADLIGHTS WITH SEALED BEAMS WHICH WERE A GREAT IMPROVEMENT. IN THE COLD WINTER WEATHER IN EVANSTON, THIS CAR DID NOT START WELL AND SEVERAL TIMES I HAD TO BE PUSHED. I HAD A FELLOW WORK ON IT AT GREAT EXPENSE BUT HIS CARBURETOR WORK DID NOT IMPROVE IT MUCH. WHEN DAD GAVE ME THE 41 CHEVY, HE GAVE THE PLYMOUTH TO MR. GOAD WHO FARMED THE LAND I NOW OWN. THEY FOUND OUT LATER THAT THE GROUND ON THE ENGINE WAS DEFECTIVE AND STARTING IMPROVED GREATLY. DAD REPLACED THE 41 CHEVY WITH A BLACK MARKET 1947 STRAIGHT EIGHT, SWEPTBACK, IVORY PONTIAC.
NEW CARS WERE VERY HARD TO GET RIGHT AFTER THE WAR AND DAD PAID A PREMIUM BLACK MARKET PRICE FOR THE PONTIAC. "PHYLLIS AND I WERE IN MICHIGAN AT A RESORT WHEN THE KOREAN WAR COMMENCED. I REMEMBER THAT AS WE DROVE BACK TO EVANSTON IN THE 1950 PONTIAC WE LEARNED THE DETAILS OF THE WAR. SEVERAL OF MY NAVY FRIENDS WERE CALLED BACK TO SERVICE. I WAS NOT BECAUSE I HAD NO NAVY SPECIALITY. THAT WAS NOT EXACTLY FAIR TO THOSE WHO DID.
i married phyllis ralston in august, 1946 and started graduate school as a teaching assistant in mechanical engineering at northwestern university in september 1946. we lived in a room with the macfarland family in a big house in northbrook. i taught mechanical engineering laboratories for $100 per month, phyllis worked for the navy computer development laboratory at tech for $125 per month.
1950 PONTIAC
IN 1949, MY BROTHER PHILIP JOINED THE AIR FORCE AND WAS INITIALLY STATIONED AT EDWARDS AF BASE IN THE CALIFORNIA DESERT. THE FOLKS BOUGHT HIM A 2 DOOR 1950 CHEVROLET SEDAN. AT THE SAME TIME, THEY GAVE ME THE AMOUNT OF MONEY WHICH PHILIP'S CAR HAD COST. WITH THAT MONEY PLUS A LITTLE MORE I BOUGHT A NEW 1950 STRAIGHT EIGHT FOREST GREEN 4 DOOR PONTIAC SEDAN. IT HAD A MANUAL TRANSMISSION AND WAS A FINE CAR THAT I DROVE UNTIL 1957. IN IT I TOOK RONNIE FOR MANY RIDES. HE PARTICULARLY LOVED TO GO AT THAT TIME AND WE EXPLORED MUCH OF THE NORTH SHORE OF CHICAGO. "PETE PASQUA WENT WITH ME PICK UP THE NEW PONTIAC SAYING THAT HE WAS PROUD TO KNOW A PERSON WHO COULD AFFORD A NEW CAR. AT THAT TIME WE WERE LIVING IN THE NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY APARTMENTS ON ORRINGTON AVENUE IN DOWNTOWN EVANSTON. IT HAD A BIG UNDERGROUND GARAGE WHERE WE PAID FOR RENTAL SPACE FOR OUR CARS. PETE HAD A 1940 MUCH USED PLYMOUTH SEDAN AND HE LOVED TO DRIVE TO THE EXTENT THAT PHYLLIS, ME AND HIS WIFE MURPH WITH PETE AT THE WHEEL WOULD TAKE EXHAUSTINGLY LONG DRIVES IN THE COUNTRY AROUND EVENSTON. SOME OTHER GOOD FRIENDS OF OURS HAD A BIG, FLASHY NEW FRASER. PROFESSOR OBERT WAS DOING SOME NEW AUTO TESTING FOR A CHICAGO MAGAZINE SIMILAR TO POPULAR MECHANICS AND I ASSISTED HIM IN SOME OF THE TESTS. WE TESTED CARS FOR ACCELERATION, GAS MILEAGE, SPEED AND OTHER FACTORS ON THE EDENS EXPRESSWAY NEAR EVANSTON WITH A WARY EYE OUT FOR THE POLICE. I RECALL THAT WHEN WE TESTED THE 1955 CHEVROLET V-8, WE CONCLUDED THAT NO ONE COULD POSSIBLY WANT A NICER CAR.
i got my masters degree in 1948 doing a thesis on use of the compressibility chart for gas mixtures under professor obert. i got my phd degree in 1953 with a dissertation on heat transfer from a rotating disk under the direction of professors i t wetzel and b h jennings. my dissertation was presented at an asme meeting in pittsburg and was later published in the transactions of asme. with a loan from the folks, phyllis and i bought an old house on harrison street in the north side of evanston. i was appointed as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, taught thermodynamics, heat transfer and kinematics and adivsed both mechanical engineering and industrial engineering undergraduate students. at the rate of $100 per month, i paid the folks back their loan by the time we left northwestern for tennessee in 1957. as i left northwestern, professor jennings gave me a document noting that i had been promoterd to associate professor of mechanical engineering. it was a nice gesture on their part although i did not accept it. after i left, jennings was replaced as department head by the eager turk ali cambel. in 1959, ali wrote me asking me to return to northwestern with particular emphasis on advising students. they had some difficulty in that after i left. although it made me feel good, i rejected his kind offer.
1955 STUDEBAKER
ALTHOUGH THE PONTIAC CONTINUED TO RUN WELL AND HAD ONLY A BIT MORE THAN 30,000 MILES, IN 1956, I TRADED IT FOR A USED 1955 TWO TONE BLUE FOUR DOOR STUDEBAKER CHAMPION WITH A SMALL SIDE VALVE 6 CYLINDER ENGINE AND A THREE ON THE TREE MANUAL TRANSMISSION. IT WAS A VERY PRETTY CAR, DROVE WELL AND GOT ABOUT 25 MILES PER GALLON. IT HAD AN OVERDRIVE TRANSMISSION SO THAT AFTER USING THE CLUTCH TO START IN LOW GEAR, YOU COULD SHIFT TO OVERDRIVE AND THUS SHIFT GEARS WITHOUT USING THE CLUTCH. THE SHIFT TO OVERDRIVE WAS DONE BY RELEASING THE ACCELERATOR WHILE FLOORING THE ACCELERATOR WOULD SHIFT OUT OF OVERDRIVE. A SMALL DISADVANTAGE WAS THAT IN OVERDRIVE YOU HAD NO ENGINE BRAKING. IT WAS A GOOD CAR, DID LATER DEVELOP AN EXHAUST MANIFOLD LEAK BECAUSE OF A BROKEN BOLT BUT I FIXED THAT WITH A GENEROUS APPLICATION OF MUFFLER CEMENT. THIS WAS THE CAR I HAD WHEN WE MOVED TO TULLAHOMA IN 1957. AS WE LEFT EVANSTON TO MOVE TO TENNESSEE, MY GOOD FRIEND PROFESSOR EDWARD OBERT INSISTED THAT WE CARRY A FIRE EXTINGUISHER IN THE 1955 STUDEBAKER. HE FEARED THAT THE LITTLE CAR WOULD HEAT AND WOULD CATCH ON FIRE. IT DID NOT.
ronald was born in 1954 and was a real live wire who did not like to go to sleep at night. we had applied for adoption at the cradle in evanston. about three months before ronald was born they called to congratulate us on the fact that a baby would be available for us soon and we cancelled quickly. after i had accepted the job in tullahoma in may of 1957, we found that phyllis was going to have scott alan in about february, 1958. phyllis really liked her evanston doctor and i know hated to leave evanston to move to tennessee in september 1957. but we went ahead and moved and she went to a dr. wiser in tullahoma who she liked and who turned out to be a fine doctor.


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