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I was to taught to drive in a driving school VW Beetle. Just loved the car. The smell of the oil and gasoline, the sound - a great car. However - with licence in hand - I ended up taking over my mothers old 850cc Austin Mini. A starter button on the floor and a long wobbly gear stick. A fun car to drive, economical and easy to fix most mechanical gremlins.
 
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Test drive? I learned initially on a '71 Pontiac Catalina (which eventually became mine), and '72 Opel (Kadett?), and later a '69 Chevy shortbox (3 on the tree). My dad had me and my brother do our driving test in the Opel. It was short, automatic tranny, easy to drive, and very easy to parallel park. I wanted to do it in the truck, but my dad said, "your job is to pass the test, not impress the Brownie." ["brownie" was slang for the tester, as their uniforms were brown.]

The Opel was an interesting car. It had no get-up-and-go, the heater was a joke (visualize winter in Upstate NY [Adirondack Mountains]), but it got an amazing 33 MPG -- compared to the 8-12 MPG the Catalina got.

These are stock photos, not the actual vehicles.

1972 Opel Kadett.jpg

1969 Chevy.jpg
 

FlamingoEmporium

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The Opel was an interesting car. It had no get-up-and-go, the heater was a joke (visualize winter in Upstate NY [Adirondack Mountains]), but it got an amazing 33 MPG -- compared to the 8-12 MPG the Catalina got.
i feel your pain. I went to college in Syracuse, and the corvair has a rear engine and relied on hot air from the engine for heat in the winter. Of course the car would leak oil, so burning oil fumes almost always mixed in with the hot air.
Drove home on route 20 to drop a friend off often, and of course there were long hills, and you had to get up to 90 going downhill so you would be going 20 by the time you got up the other side.
 

Rocky

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If I remember right it ended up wrapped around a tree. We were very hard on cars back in the day.
Isn't that the truth! We beat the hell out of them, raced them and generally mistreated them. A car would only last about 40-50,000 miles and would be a rust bucket by then in the Pittsburgh winters. Also, it is a miracle we did not all kill ourselves with the quality (more the lack thereof) of tires, the hard dashes and no seat belts. In my '58 Chevy, I would routinely be driving at 70-80 mph and as high as 120 on tires that were tires in name only. One blessing is I got the "need for speed" out of my system early in life.
 
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Drove home on route 20 to drop a friend off often, and of course there were long hills, and you had to get up to 90 going downhill so you would be going 20 by the time you got up the other side.
Winter taught me to keep good tires on the car for winter. Had an '86 Jetta with bald tires. I literally could not get up an icy hill, had to back down 1/2 mile, and go a different route.

Put new tires on the car and went right up the hill!
 
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sour_grapes

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Not my first car, but one I bought, fixed and resold at age 19. I’ll try to find my factory 289 4 speed 1965 Falcon, which was my daily driver for a number of years and the one we drove away in from my wedding.

View attachment 91095

Nice car!

A 22 mph curve? You guys in Cali are awfully specific! :)
 

David Violante

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White 1978 Datsun B-210 Manual Transmission. Honeycomb wheel covers and all. Below is a stock photo. Mine had a lot more rust... Loved that car... $5 to fill and it would go forever. Well, it seemed like it back then... LOL... I could shift without using the clutch, but could also get in faster without the keys than with them by popping the back window and reaching in.

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