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When I was young I could tell you the make and model of a car with one glance. I guess most kids of the sixties could do that. Cars were a big thing, especially in neighborhoods like ours. In those days most kids could not expect to be given a car on their sixteenth birthday. If we wanted a car, and money for insurance, we would get it when we got a job and saved the money. To us, owning a car was a dream, not an expectation.
Everyone had their favorites. Of course some models were big with everyone. Who didn’t like the 1957 Chevy, and the first every Mustang, the 1964 and a half. Then there was the 1965 Pontiac GTO, the Goat as it was called, and 1967 Chevy Camaro. I general preferred GM over Ford and Chrysler. I liked the Impala and the Camaro and the GTO.
It was only the make and model that was examined. The car had to be a muscle car. We would scoff that anyone that talked about a car with a six cylinder engine. Cars had to have eight cylinders and I knew the GM engine sizes by the time I was fourteen. They Chevy had cool little emblems on the side of the car to tell you what engine was in the car. You could tell the cubic inch size from the emblem. They were 287, 327, 396, and 427. The 1967 Chevy Malibu Super Sport with the 396 engine was a very cool car. They came up with cool names for other engine sizes like the Boss 302, and of course the every famous 409, she is real fine.
In the late sixties the Dodge Charger was born and it got a lot of attention along with the Dodge Super Bee. The Challenger came along in the period also. The big three real battle over who had the coolest car. The Corvette was in a class of its own. It was like a Cadillac in that, in our eyes, it was a rich persons car and not attainable. For that reason I didn’t think about Corvettes much.
As some cars were appearing, other left the scene. Most of them were not cool anyway, like the Nash and the Ramble line. Everyone remembers the Edsal debacle, the thing was too big to fit in a garage, not that anyone in our neighborhood had a garage. Studebaker also disappeared. They made the Lark and the Hawk and one of the coolest cars of the era, the Studebaker Avanti. I thought the styling of that car was way ahead of its time and I think history has proved me right. I saw one a year or so ago and it looks right in place next to the cars forty years newer.
Cars were great when I was a kid, but amazingly enough, I didn’t learn to drive until I was twenty-six years old.