First Car Stories: John’s First Car

Everyone remembers their first car and the stories of freedom it created. When you grow up the son of an Automobile dealer, the excitement is magnified due to all the neat cars coming and going, always wondering, “Is this the one?”

Each time a cool car would come into the dealership you would hover around it hoping to hear “this one is yours” However, after many Trans Ams, Datsun Z cars, Camaros, Broncos, Blazers, and a multitude of other social life-changing machines came and went, I never heard those words! One day a very nondescript 1980 White Datsun 4X4 Pickup truck was parked around the side of the dealership and I was asked to take it and haul some boxes and other items over to another facility.

I climbed in the truck and started it up, which fortunately was only a few years old and reasonably clean. It was pretty hot that day so I reached for the AC to find that this truck didn’t have that feature, no problem I thought I will roll the windows down and listen to some tunes, the windows were manual crank so that took a trip around to the passenger side to get the 235 air conditioning going, for those younger than boomers and early Gen Xers, 235 AC is 2 windows down and 35 miles per hour to create airflow! Once back in the driver’s seat to find one of the great Rock N Roll stations of the 80’s only to find this radio was AM only, once again it is likely many aren’t familiar, so a quick web search will yield some cool American Radio history and how large of a part the great FM radio stations of the era were a critical part of a teenager life find and that AM radio wasn’t what you wanted after the 1960s!

It is reasonable to say the trip to haul boxes of files to another facility was uneventful and unfulfilling in a 1980 White Long Bed 4 Speed base model (no power equipment with vinyl floor and seats) Datsun truck with an Aluminium Camper Shell. After running multiple errands with this truck through the week I learned this would be the vehicle designated mine, admittedly there was some disappointment, but most importantly I had gained transportation, freedom, and hopefully, an instantly improved social life, plus my dirt bike would fit in the bed and I liked to hunt, fish, and camp and this wasn’t the worst vehicle for those pursuits. I expressed huge appreciation and in return became the designee for anyone who needed anything hauled. 

It wasn’t until later I began to realize my Father’s genius, a son with a pickup truck who could and would haul anything asked, the ability to only haul one passenger, and a truck so slow the football team running back could run faster than the truck in the 40-yard dash, with a manual 4 speed had a top speed of 72 MPH. How could I get into trouble with these limitations? 

Well, somehow I found a way!

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