I have been an old car lover from the day I awoke to discover that most marvelous of all inventions, the automobile, which happened for me around 1957 and the maturing of the fin era. I was 13 then and into everything teens loved about life back then. Girls, cars, and rock n' roll music starting my collection of 45's then.
I couldn't wait for the new models to debut in the fall, I hit every dealership and collected brochures from each one. I made notebooks including pictures of each new model and included my own descriptions carefully noting all of the changes for new models. I was forever hopelessly hooked on the automobile, a love affair that has never waned from those youthful days of merely being able to drool and dream of one day getting my license and owning my own car.
That time happened but not quickly enough for me. I won't bore you with each car I've owned over the years, suffice to say they now number just over 60 with mostly fond memories, and yes, a growing list of "I sure wish I'd kept that ones."
I became an instant Cruiser of Whittier Blvd. in Whittier, CA and surely logged at least a million miles cruising up and down the Blvd taking the absolutely required drives into the Bob's Big Boy Drive-in in the middle of the route. Usually a Cherry Coke and a order of fries with a side of Blue would do it for most of us crammed into my car. Sometimes me and my buddy alone, sometimes with dates or six guys out looking for girls, didn't matter, we were out cruising every available night.
This lasted for years for me, in fact until I married in '67.
Things got great in my cruising career in 1963. I finished Barber College and went to work. First things first, a brand new car, my first, was just wating on the showroom floor of the local Dodge dealership. A shiny red on red Dodge Dart GT two door hardtop slant 6 with the torque flight push button trans. Hey, I didn't need a big engine back then (they came later) just a girl catching sexy car. That little red Dart was it.
Here is where my story begins to come together. Shortly after buying the Dart I had a 45 RPM record player installed in it, and soon a Vibrasonic sound too. I increased my 45's collection and began "Cruizin' and playing my 45's up and down Whittier Blvd. and into the Drive-in part of the Bob's Big Boy. Car Hops and Bouncers would ask me to play their favorites, which I gladly obliged. And for those who don't remember the 45 record players or never saw one, they worked on a floating turntable and you could play them while you drove down the street. I've heard many say they didn't work well or they skipped, but I will tell you straight out that mine worked great and we thoroughly enjoyed a million miles of cruising and listening to my 45's.
Fast forward to the mid 1990's, yup I'm still a old car nut. I had the opportunity to purchase a 1957 Chevy BELAIR 4-door sedan. I became only the second owner of this totally original car, Dusk Pearl and white. I became an instant cruiser again, and was soon on EBAY looking for one of those old 45 Record Players made for cars. I found one, paid through the nose for it, had to have it rebuilt and find someone that remembered how to hook one up in the 57 Chevy. So now I've come full circle and have a true icon of the fin era equipped with a retro 45 RPM record player. So what is the obvious? I put out the word that I love to take people for a cruise in the 57 AND play their favorite oldies while we cruise. My record collection is now numbering over 1,100 and I have the privilege of taking people cruising and taking them as well as myself for ride down memory lane, all the while playing oldies.
There is nothing like driving along in my classic and flipping 45's and looking in the back seat and watching a grey haired couple in their mid 70's singing along with Dick N Dee Dee to the tune of "The Mountains High." It don't get any better than that.
The '57 Chevy is gone, but not the record player. It, and a successor went on to be played in my Resto Mod '64 Chevy Biscayne, which I just sold to my son in Penn. BUT he didn't get the 45 record player, no way, as I write this I am plotting out how to install the record player in my wife's 1961 Metropolitan, and it will happen in the next couple of weeks.
So my memory lane experience will continue on as I look forward to my 70th birthday next month, I will keep cruising the highways, now in Oregon, and listening to those fabulous oldies on my 45 record player..........Now, all I have to do is figure out how I'm going to get anyone in the back seat of that little tiny Met??? Oh yes, when I get the record player installed in the Met, the first record that I will play will be "The Little Nash Rambler" of course, (ok it's a Met not a Rambler but still made by Nash and looks the part) ---- Beep Beep!
So, ya wanna' jump in the Met and go for a Cruise, I've got 1,100 oldies to bring back some of your nostalgic memories as we cruise along down memory lane sharing fond remembrances of days gone by enjoying the old cars be it a '57 Chevy BELAIR Cruiser to a little tiny '61 Met and hitting all of the local weekly Criuse-Ins and car shows, it just doesn't get any better than this. Oh by the way, I said my wife's '61 Met ----- my car is now my dream car, a red (of course) '97 Corvette! I just keep building the memories and Cruizin' along!