My First Car

[photopress:austinamerica.jpg,full,pp_image]A friend posed this question on her blog: What was your first car? Here it is. My first car.

It was a 1969 Austin America, 5 speed automatic. These were the days when cars did not come equipped with air conditioning unless you count manually rolling down the windows as “air”. If the car happened to have a radio, it rarely had an 8 track tape deck. The seats were vinyl.

It actually was my dad’s car as I was raised in a much simpler lifetime when parents did not automatically purchase a car for their kiddo just because they turned 16. I drove my dad’s car to school during my senior year because I had an after school job at an advertising agency.

It was a fun little car to drive during the 1970’s when the gas was under 40 cents per gallon. Remember the oil embargo of 1973-74? We could purchase gas on certain days and would sometimes sit in long lines waiting for our turn at the pump. That was my senior year.

Funny memories about my car: It was very very very light. I’m sure by today’s standards, it would not meet safety standards by any stretch of the imagination. It was so light that I believe I could have easily picked up the front end to change the tire. Probably not but it seemed very very lightweight. And it was very very small.

A group of friends would use the little car to play practical jokes around campus. I would come out of class at the end of the day and my car would not be in my assigned slot. Glancing across the parking lot, I’d see my yellow Austin America car in a new spot. Not driven but picked up and moved manually.

Sometimes my car would simply be in another student’s slot. Other times I found it up on the sidewalk. Once it was perched on the fountain in the middle of the quad. Always, nearby was a pile of grinning boys as evidence to the crime and they also enjoyed being the heroes, lifting my little car down and setting it back on the ground to take me to work.

When I left home for my freshman year of college, my dad re-inherited the car and I was dropped at college in the same condition as all my other friends. Car-less.

It wasn’t until I married that I got a car of my own. It was a red, 1977, 5 speed Honda Civic.


  1. A red car, huh? I knew there was a reason I like you so much!

    That’s a cute little car. I’ve never heard of those (not that I’m such a well-read car model person.) I’ll bet your heart did skip a beat when you went to the place where you last left the car and it wasn’t there. I can’t believe that it was “light” enough to be moved!

    My jeep was purchased by my mom – out of necessity. She worked and I went to a Christian school that required someone to drive me (no school bus service). I had a job and paid her back a little at a time. When I graduated high school, she “bought” me a Honda Civic (bright blue) and co-signed the car loan for me. I worked during college to pay my loan. I drove that car through most of graduate school (until I went to Europe for a year). It was a stripped down version car, but I loved that little car.

  2. kathy

    Your jeep sounds great! It amazes me how many kids these days get a brand new sparkly car for their 16th birthday. When I think of my loaner and my friends with their rattling old mustangs and vw bugs…it makes me grin. Thanks for the nudge down memory lane. And yes, if I can have a red car….its the perfect thing for me. Red is my color of choice for almost anything!

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