Growing up in a classic car family I have been going to car shows since I was in diapers....literally. I had watched my father buy, restore and sell all types of makes and models. From Mustangs and Gto's, to Cadillacs and Packards. It was always a thrill to see what we would be cruising in this summer. It seemed to change year to year.
My older brother had bought and sold 2 or 3 cars before he got his licence.So by the time I hit 14 my first car was burning on my mind. I scored a summer job with my uncles, Send Brothers farm and feed to begin to squirrel away as much cash as i could. They are incredibly hard workers and the hours were long, but I knew in time, all the sweat from those bales of hay and bags of feed would be worth it once I could pull up to school in my own classic. There was no way I would be rollin in some hand me down accord or minivan. No thanks not me.
My father always had hot rod, street rod and Hemmings scattered around the house, but I had developed an obsession with Lowrider magazine somewhere around 13. At that time they weren't readily available in northern MI. So I would always ask anyone I knew that would be traveling downstate or out of state on vacation to look for them and bring 1 or 2 back for me. Every time I got my hands on a new to me issue it was like gold. I used to thumb through those pages drooling over the paint jobs, low stance, chrome and wheels until the covers would rip off and magazines were nearly falling apart. Dreaming of one day owning my very own.
Early 60's Chevy Impala's were by far my first choice but being a youngster with a summer job didn't exactly have me looking for a turn key tricked out cruiser. The only impalas I would find would either be way out of my financial reach or serious rust buckets that would take serious time and money. I knew I wanted something drivable or better yet roadworthy that I could just add a custom touch to.
So with the impala's looking like a pipe dream I kept working and stashing away money little by little, hoping that I would be in the right place at the right time and score a deal. Then one day I come home exhausted from the farm and in our driveway sits this little mint green 61 Ford Falcon 2dr. Seems my dad had picked it up for an incredibly low price and was planning on shining her up to make a quick little profit. While it was no big boxy Chevy, It was a 2dr and I loved the body lines, taillights and it had all of that 60s style in nice little mint green package. Before I had even heard it turnover I think I fell in love. Automatic, whitewalls, exceptionally clean interior and a very solid body with all the chrome on and intact. It was like a gift from god dropping in my lap, now I just had to talk her out of the ol man. When I asked about it, to my surprise it was very easy. As if he had really picked it up for me, and if I didn't like or want it he would turn it and make a quick buck. No way she's not going anywhere I thought. He agreed to let it go for what he had picked it up for (which was actually in my means) and we had a deal. I was now officially an owner of this sexy little Ford.
Even with a depleted bank account I was already hitting the magazines picking out where I was going to order the new rims and contemplating how much stereo equipment i could fit in her.
The next summer I was ready to get back to work on the farm and start putting some dollars together. Work a few weeks and buy a cd deck (the car was originally factory delete and had no radio at all), uneceptable to me in 1997. Work a few more weeks and buy a couple speakers. Couple more weeks and a box with 2 10 subwoofers. So on and so forth. By the time I got my license i would really be jamming. Who really wants to hear that little 170 straight six anyway.
Well time went by as it does and I had managed to complete the stereo and a basic tuneup for her along with other little personal touches, like gigantic fuzzy dice. But my birthday being in January I would have to keep riding with my brother to school until the snow cleared. I wasnt going to just go bombing through the snow and end up sliding all of my hard earned money into a ditch, tree or something. So it would have to wait.
I don't remember the exact date but I will never forget the feeling of that first trip to school. It wasn't exactly the tricked out lowrider I had dreamed of but man I was proud. It felt like all my hard work coming together and paying off. My close friends already knew, and I might have taken her out for a few quick round the neighborhood trips, but that feeling of cruising up Elk Lake Rd heading to school, I felt like a celebrity. Pulling in the parking lot I would try to keep a cool look on my face with my music blaring, even though I was fighting to not have an ear to ear smile. Gotta look cool for the chicks and peers. As I made my way in, it was right to the back with all the cool kids with dropped s10s and hondas on rims and tint. By the time i found a spot and shut her down it really felt as if I had carved my own little niche in society.
Driving an almost 40 year old car in high school was fun because It got attention and felt like everyone knew your ride. But it was also tough because... EVERYONE knew your ride . I remember getting caught for cutting class by my principle "oh so thats not your old falcon i saw leaving the parking lot during 2nd period." Also the local police really liked to pull me over, not for speeding obviously, as the ol straight six could barely make it to the speed limit. But the huge fuzzy dice in the mirror, or the having the stereo up a bit loud, the historical licence plates or whatever else they could think of besides saying, because I looked like a punk teenager up to no good.
It also seemed have its fair share of hiccups as old cars do. She left me walking a couple times with a burned up alternator or the non working gas gauge that I would overestimate how much was actually in the tank. The ol vacuum windshield wipers that were basically useless. Yeah she had her quirks but I still loved her.
I eventually did trade her off for something a little more year round friendly and dependable. And a couple years later I did get my first 64 impala, but man that little falcon will always hold fond memories and a big spot in my heart.