First Brand-New Car
Hey, Duane here! As a sophomore in college, I owned two cool older cars. A daily-use 1962 Triumph TR4 convertible garaged near campus and a pristine 1969 Hurst/Olds garaged at home.
Modified 1962 Triumph TR4 (scan of old photo)
A 350CI V8 engine and automatic transmission were wedged into the Triumph, making it fast, slingshot fast and aggressively loud. It had no heater or defroster, making for cold winter drives and a perpetually fogged windshield on rainy days. That Triumph was so sensory, but those downsides took a toll. It was not suited for everyday use.
New Factory-Order Car
I routinely read car magazines in college, and as a sophomore, I read about the new Hurst/Olds to be produced after a four-year lapse. Very interested, I rationalized that this new 1979 Hurst/Olds was attainable if I sold the Triumph, added some cash, and financed most of the purchase price. I hoped to save enough money by working summers and school breaks to cover the monthly payments.
1979 Hurst/Olds (scan of old photo)
My father agreed to cosign so I began the process of special ordering the new 1979 Hurst/Olds. Offered in black or white, I chose white with gold two-tone exterior, tan velour interior, and several options including removable T-Tops. My father added automatic leveling and power door locks as a gift.
My special-order H/O arrived at the beginning of summer, and I sold the Triumph. The 350CI V8 engine of the new H/O was nothing like the 350CI power of the Triumph. What the H/O lacked in acceleration and stimulation, it compensated with comfort and convenience. It was an adult car with adult comforts like heat and defrost.
Sadly, tragedy stuck at the end of summer when someone changed lanes as they braked sharply, and I couldn’t stop. My new car was only slightly damaged in the front, but my junior year began one week later without it.
Continued Bad Luck
Four long weeks later I was so happy to have my repaired H/O back. I rented a garage near campus so it wouldn’t sit outside. Not long afterwards, I made the mistake of not driving it back to the garage and instead parked across from the dorm late one night. Someone broke into my H/O overnight. They smashed the passenger window and stole both T-Tops.
The dealer had difficulty obtaining replacements so they ordered individual components to assemble. That six-week process made for cold October-November driving without T-Tops. Windows up, heat on, roof absent.
With the approach of my senior year, friends and I rented a house off campus. It had a two-car garage, and I contributed extra money so I could garage both the 1979 H/O and 1969 H/O side-by-side. It was great deciding which one to drive each day. Among the many memorable times as a senior, including squeezing seven into a five-passenger automobile, having both cars fully accessible at college was a great experience not soon repeated.
I’ve spanned high school and college in recent weekly blogs. Next Sunday, I’ll feature a quick synopsis before transitioning to car experiences after graduation. Thanks, and always drive with allure!
1979 Hurst/Olds and 1969 Hurst/Olds (scan of old photos)