Thursday, January 08, 2009

My First Car

No, this is not my first car . . . it's not a car and it's not even mine; but rather belongs to our neighbor and is patiently awaiting my attention to get it running in order to pursue its mission of delivering round-haybales on the wagon behind to his hungry cattle. In an effort to get it running again after a rude stoppage, my neighbor installed new parts including the distributor cap which allocates spark to the necessary spark plug at the necessary time to keep the engine running. Of course he, as most of us would, ripped out all eight wires from the old cap and then tried but failed to re-assemble those 8 wires into the new cap in the proper order; a fools journey! Anyone who knows numbers will tell you, as I will, that there are over 40,000 ways to arrange 8 things ordered in a series of 8.

This does bring me to my first car: a Faded-blue 1956 Ford Fairlaine Coupe V8 (a coupe is defined by the fact that there was no post between the front and rear windows allowing for much airflow in the summer with all windows down, handy with no A/C) which I got for $100. Course, first thing I did was rip out all the wiring, including the 8 plug wires, to allow a thorough cleaning of the engine area. Which became sparkly clean and spiffy. But where do those plug wires go?? I was lax in my planning and haphazard in my approach; unfortunately this is still a basic flaw of mine -- among other things I always underestimate mileage to somewhere and fail to correct for it. I don't recall how my brothers and I did it --I must have had some clues because I doubt we ran through the 40,000 possibilities-- but since the battery was dead we had to push it around the block several times changing the plug wires every 50 feet or so after popping the clutch , in second, key on, see if it would start. The feeling I had when it finally roared into life is comparable only to catching your first fish or getting that first kiss. Off we went zooming about with no insurance which meant not taking the car out of the neighborhood. I never did drive it much after that. But I remember how to do plug wires as my neighbor can attest (I let him bring his truck to roaring life just to watch the smile.)
Car probably still resides at the bottom of a limestone bluff on the Missouri river north of St. Louis where my brother disposed of it after I left home. Since then I have owned 11 cars or trucks and 1 cycle and never regretted getting rid of any of them!