Anthony M

Where was this $50.00 gas card when I needed it?

My first car at 16 in March 1968, was a 1956 Buick Roadmaster 2 door hardtop. For the hard earned $125.00 I bought a car with a 3 tone paint job. Power windows, seats, steering, brakes and radio operated by a floor switch to change channels. It also had the start feature in the gas pedal. Turn the car to on, press the gas pedal to the floor and the starter engaged.

The maiden cruise was a Friday night with 4 of my buddies. It took 4 to help pay for the 39 cent per gallon premium gas. We stopped to see a girl in the 8 mile and Woodward area of Detroit, just north of the State Fairgrounds. I was low on gas so we went east on 8 mile to a gas station about a half mile away. Just east on 8 mile the road went under a RR bridge. You guessed it, it ran out of gas at the bottom of the under pass. Good thing I had 4 friends to push the 5500 pound car up the incline to a gas station at the top. I got a buck from each of the "passengers" enough for ten gallons of gas. I tried to start the car but it wouldn't start. I tried several times but still no start. I let the car sit for a few minutes. All of the sudden the engine turned over. Remember it had the starter in the gas pedal although I didn't step on the gas pedal. It still didn't start. I was frustrated and embarrassed. Also not very mechanically inclined at 16 years old. My friends asked what was happening? I couldn't give them an answer. My friend since kindergarten, Frank suggested that I put some gas in the carburetor. No money left so I drained the pump nozzle into the carb and what seemed like a miracle, it started. With a round of applause and a nod to Frank we were on our way. Five boys 16 and under with a old car and a half tank of gas. Look out Detroit and Ferndale.

We drove around both cities looking for girls and to show off my 12 year old car. We didn't meet any girls but we had a blast. I dropped everyone off and headed home. It was about 11:30. I turned the car off. Then turned the key to the on position only, I didn't start it, just to check to see how much of the 10 gallons of gas I had left. It was just under a 1/4 tank. I took the key out of the ignition and went into the house. My Mother was still awake. She asked if I had a good time. I said of course. I didn't give any details. After a few minutes she asked if my car was running? I showed her the keys and said no. We talked for a few more minutes. She asked again if my car was running. I said no. After another 5 minutes she said I can hear your car running, go look. I reluctantly got up to look. Another miracle. The car was running, I could see exhaust coming from the tail pipes. I sheepishly went out and turned the car off. Maybe as a 16 year old I didn't know everything.

Many cars have come and gone but that night has stayed with me for 46 years.

Tony Maria

1965 Lincoln 4 door convertible, owned for 24 years

1986 Lincoln Town Car 9200 hundred miles, yes 9200 actual miles

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