My Rides

1967 Olds

My dad's stationwagon - this was the first car I ever drove.   The first time I got behind the wheel was on the way to the Oil Company on Riverside Drive.   The street ran down the west side of Woodmere Cemetery.   I put thousands of miles on that car chauffering my dad around to call on customers.   I am sure I had over one thousand miles before I even turned sixteen and got my license.   In front of the car is the thing I was really taking a picture of - the "disappearing" minibike.   I really had fun riding it while it lasted.   (More about it on the bikes page.)

1967 Mercury Park Lane

I was 18 years old in this photo.   Whenever I drove this car - and it was often - as soon as I got a couple blocks from home the top would come down, regardless of any admonishments from my mom.   The Mercury had a powerful 410 cubic inch engine with a four-barrel carb.   I recall a certain Sunday morning in the winter.   There was some sort of newspaper strike and my parents sent me out very early to pick up a paper somewhere.   On the way back I was heading west on Eight Mile towards I-75 and there were no other cars in sight.   I stomped the gas pedal and hit 102 MPH at the top of the overpass, and still made the left turn at John R.   I miss driving cars with powerful engines.

196? Olds

My aunt's car.   In our garage, the corner of my mom's green '67 Mercury Park Lane is just visible.   Both my aunt and uncle taught for Detroit Public Schools.   Each summer they would rent a cottage on a different lake up north in Michigan.   While they were up north, my trusting aunt let me, a sixteen-year-old, have her Oldsmobile to drive (mainly to work.)   In front of the car is the thing I was really taking a picture of - my first multi-speed bike, a Schwinn Collegiate 5-speed.

1974 Hornet

It wasn't 'til after college that I got my first car.   I had never really needed one before that time.   I was forever working on that AMC Hornet, frequently with the help of my warehouse man, Tim Bennett.   I had headers put on the 304 cu in engine, and dual exhuasts installed.   It was very nice of the family business to buy the car for me and pay for all of its maintainance - sort of made up for what they didn't provide, like health or dental insurance.

1982 Concord

The Concord was the Hornet, renamed.   It was essentially the same car.   When Chrysler bought Jeep, they borrowed the Concord name for themselves.   Kathie picked out the copper color of my car.

1988 Mustang

This was definitely my favorite car.   I ordered my Mustang in September of 1988 and it went in with the dealer's first order, arriving in late October while I was in Israel.   The Mustang body underwent a major redesign for 1988, and then stayed the same for quite a few years, which was perfect for me.   That way it looked like a new model for multiple years.   One of the reasons I picked the Mustang was because I could put my Paramount in the hatchback without having to take off the front wheel.   Even though I didn't get the big engine in that car, it was plenty fast and fun to drive.

Later in the Mustang's life, the heater core developed a leak and I wanted to fix it myself.   I bought a new core and went to the library to photocopy the instructions from the appropriate Chilton Manual.   It turned out that the job required removal of the entire dashboard, the console and the gearshift lever.   No way, I thought, but my warehouse man, Tim, said he could do it, so I let him have at it.   He started first thing in the morning, and I helped him as much as I could.   When I saw all the stuff that had to be disconnected, I was feeling kind of sick.   It took Tim all day, but he installed the heater core with no leaks, put the dashboard back in, and everything worked - a true miracle.

1993 Aerostar

I am sorry that it was a two-year lease.   I loved that car.   Though there is no date on this photograph, there is strong evidence that the picture was taken on a certain August 14th.   I remember when we moved Theresa's stuff to my house.   I took the middle and back seats out of the van, slid the front seat all the way up and was able to put two love-seat couches end to end and still close the back gate.   In front of the couches I had a floor lamp.   It looked like a mini living room in there.

1995 Villager

Here's my car stuck in the soft sand at Bell Bay natural area near Presque Isle.   It's a fitting metaphor, since after thirteen years and 170,000 miles, I was beginning to think that I was going to be stuck driving this car for the rest of my life.   My brother-in-law, Tom Pruski, had told me what a good quality engine the car had.   The Villager was essentially the same as the Nissan Quest, engineered primarily by Nissan.   When I volunteered to be a driver for Nate's sixth grade class trip, my car picked that day to die - and I do mean die.   The crankshaft broke!   After I had my car towed to the dealer and it was diagnosed, the dealer told me he had never heard of that happening before.   Some consolation.   Anyway, I wasn't about to put a new engine in a thirteen year old car.   As my sons have heard me say many times, I really do miss driving a "thirteen year old car with front-end damage."   I could intimidate anybody out of my way.   One thing I sure don't miss are those "mouse track" (as Tom called them) seat belt buckles that would move around the door frame way too slowly causing me to bump my head on them all the time.   I gladly donated my car to Charity Motors.

1995 Cutlass

My mom's car.   After my mom died in 2006, this car sat in the driveway on Hildale all winter.   When my Villager died, I began driving the Cutlass.   A new set of tires, a new battery, some front suspension repair, and it was ready to go - almost.   Neither Lex nor I could find the remote alarm clicker and their was no override switch for the alarm.   Every time I shut the car off, the alarm would reset and then it wouldn't start.   Then I would have to take one of the battery cables loose and play with it until it got back into the right mode so I could start the car.   This got to be a little annoying (and embarrassing) after awhile.   I finally took it to Fred's Key Shop where they permanently disabled it.

After being in minivans for so long, the sedan seemed pretty small.   I had planned on putting up with the Cutlass for about a year, but those plans changed when the Cutlass was stolen in January.   Months later, I was notified that it had been recovered.   Predictably, it was in too bad of a shape to be fixed up.   Amazingly, my b2e2c2k license plate was still on the car.   That was about the only thing I could salvage from it.   This is the only picture of it I can find.   The Cutty is under the carport, and only partly visible.

2008 Town & Country

I love my current car.   Here it is on Belle Isle by the fountain.   My first modification to the car was to add a 2" trailer hitch receptor for my bike rack.   I have already used it to take the boys bicyling to Kensington, one of my favorite spots.   I just wish Kensington were closer.

My Plates

My first license plate was dated 1973 and sported stickers from '74 and '75 - I still have it.   With my 1976 license plate I began ordering personalized plates, and I have used personalized plates on my cars ever since.   You will never hear me calling them Vanity Plates, because that sounds too negative.   Here are a few of my favorites plates.   I kept CHRIS for a couple years and then started getting something different every year so I would get a new plate instead of a sticker for the same price.   The one that got the most comments was ILOVEU so I kept it for a few years.   Now I have my website on my plate and don't intend to change it anytime soon.   There was a limit of six characters on license plates for a long time, so I am glad they increased it, allowing me to fit B2E2C2K on my plate.

Demolition Derby

Twice I have been behind the wheel when the car I was driving got "totaled.",   My '88 Mustang met a premature death as I drove to work at the Oil Company on a snowy winter morning in February of 1993.   I was passing a semi-truck on southbound I-75 just past Tiger Stadium.   The snow was thick enough that I was driving in a pair of ruts.   As the freeway began to curve to the right, the ruts followed the natural tendency of motorists to stray inward on a curve.   The truck next to me, however, held its lane which forced me out of the ruts and into the heavy snow.   My car did the natural thing and spun around to backwards.   With total loss of control, my Mustang skidded across to the right side of the freeway and hit the retaining wall hard enough to bend the frame and render the car not worth repairing.   I gathered some things from the car and began hitch-hiking.   Luckily, a guy picked me up right away and drove me right to the front gate of the Oil Company.

My other car fatality could easily have been a fatality for me.   I get uncomfortable just thinking about it.   The car wasn't even mine.   It was in the days when I was riding my bike to work at Detroit Oil almost every day.   My wonderful secretary and bookeeper, Marie Dobbs, would let me take her car occasionally to do company banking and to pick us up some lunch.   Our bank was Comerica branch #96 at Fort and Military.   Marie's car was an old two-door Dodge Magnum, not like today's puny Magnum, but rather a car that could be described in a word as a "tank."   I was headed up Green Street from West Jefferson.   At a little side street called Gould, there was a four-way (theoretically, at least) stop.   There were no other cars at the intersection, so after I stopped, I proceded on.   Seemingly out of nowhere, a car traveling at least 25 miles per hour came right through the stop sign and slammed into the driver's side door.   The impact was so great it forced the Magnum sideways up over the curb.   The Magnum smashed into the light pole and bounced back into the street.   The street light was knocked right off of the pole.   I was OK, but the car was in bad shape.   Neither of the car's two doors would open, and the driver's side window wouldn't go down.   The only way I was able to escape was by lowering the passenger side window.   After I climbed out, I discovered that the car's gas tank was leaking gas onto the ground.   I don't even want to think about what might have happened.   I always give thanks to God when I think of that accident.   The car that hit me was a Ford LTD, another "tank."   The woman driving it was apparently under the influence of somthing other than alcohol, and the policeman who came to the scene gave her a ticket.   Meanwhile I asked to use the phone at the house on the corner, called work and spoke to my warehouse man, Tim Bennett.   I asked him to drive Marie over and to break the news to her as gently as possible.   That was the last time I ever asked to borrow an employee's car.

My Favorite Cars

1964 Pontiac GTO

As soon as I started paying attention to cars, the GTO became my favorite, and my favorite color was aquamarine as in the photo.

Studebaker Avanti

When I got into racing slot cars, my first car was a white Avanti, so I have always been partial to them.

1961 Chevrolet Corvette

I loved the old Corvettes with their sensuous curves.   When they squared off the back of the car, that ruined it for me.   When the boys were young, Theresa and I took them on a trip to Niagara Falls and then to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.   While we were there I took Nick and we toured the Corvette Hall of Fame a few miles outside of town.

1961 Chevrolet Impala

My mom had a '61 convertible with a black top and red interior.   Too bad it was long gone before I started driving.

The Ugly Car List

These are some of the ugliest cars on the road - the list was compiled by me.   Please feel free to nominate others.

  • Prius Scion XB   Box on wheels - worst case scenario.

  • Pontiac Aztek   Personal garbage truck.

  • Nissan Cube   Looks like I'm driving behind a coffee maker.

  • Kia Soul   Has the same side view as a stapler.

  • Land Rover Discovery   So out of proportion - too tall looking - goofy looking.

  • Ford Transit   I've seen gorillas with better forehead contours.

  • VW Bug Convertible   I like the hardtop - especially the mint green color - but the convertible version ruined the nice round shape.

  • Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible   Even though the novelty has worn off, I still like the hardtop, especially in certain colors.   The convertible, on the other hand, looks like garbage.

  • Tri-Rod Reverse Trike   A motorcycle with two wheels in front?   It looks like it shouldn't work.   In fact, it's annoying to look at.

  • Smart fortwo   Flat-out ugliest "car" I have ever seen.