#851 Your family car growing up


Hanging out with friends late, late, late the other night, dim music on in the background, splayed haphazardly on a fat, squishy couch, my brother-in-law Dee suddenly started waxing nostalgic about his family’s big, old 1991 white Chevy Suburban.

He just broke into it, too.

“That monster seated nine people, I swear to you. Honestly, nine! There was a bench in the back, a bench in the middle, and a bench in the front. I remember when my parents bought it I said ‘Why not get the captain’s chairs in the front?’, and they were like ‘No, that’s just not practical.’ But I guess the benches did come in handy. My dad used to drive our entire baseball team around — that’s fourteen twelve-year-olds wedged in tight and twisted. I mean, we referred to it as The Team Tank. … Honestly man, I miss that old beast.”

A real showpiece

His wistful, late-night rambles got me thinking.

For my sister Nina and I, nothing would beat sitting in the backseat of our old 1984 Pontiac Station Wagon with brown paint, brown interior, and a classy fake wood trim on the outside. The backseat in this Logmobile was about eight feet away from the driver, but a world apart really. You could talk and play games out of earshot, all the while looking and laughing straight out the back window, distracting the people behind you on the highway.

Feel the teal

In the summer the metal belt buckles would grow red-hot and scald your skin when you tried to buckle up. The cup holders were always full of sticky remains from the half-dozen spilled Cokes that were never fully sponged up by the handful of McDonald’s napkins stuffed in there. The A/C was temperamental, the windows wouldn’t roll down all the way, and there were no DVD players entertaining you, no GPS voices guiding you. You’d just clamp up, invent your own fun, and sit patiently on the dark, fabric seats, deeply stained from that time somebody sat on a banana.

1992-teal-ford-taurus1So — what was your car? Was it a 1969 Dodge Dart? A 1990 Chevette in Classic Dull Grey or 1995 Chevy Lumina van? Was it a monstrous 1968 Impala, a 1954 Desoto, or a 1991 Ford “Feel The Teal” Taurus?

Whatever it was, I bet it sure does give you a trip down memory lane when you see the car you grew up in, the same color, the same style, the same model, just driving around town like nobody’s business. Or maybe just fixed up real pretty at an antique car show. Or maybe just calmly coasting on cruise through your brain once in a while.

For old time’s sake.



Photos from: here, here, here, here, and here

7 thoughts on “#851 Your family car growing up

  1. My dad had this old grey rust bucket car and I just remember being scared to ride in it. Usually we were in my mom’s nice little white car. The grey car had crank windows and old seat belts and ripped seats. The music was too loud and scratchy. But my dad loved that car. Why? Because it got good gas mileage :)

  2. We were a VW bus family for a number of years. The best ones were the ones with the sunroof. Slide that puppy back and watch parades and fireworks from your own highrise seat. After that we moved to Dodge trucks, extend-a-cab, with the crappy little sideways seats. Boy did my sister and I “enjoy” riding on those for our 8 hour trips to and from Maine every summer. Especially when we were gangly-legged teens, knees up to our noses, sitting sideways. Oh yeah. Good times. :)

  3. We drove VWs of all kinds, though I remembering lying in the hatch of a LeCar of some sort while touring Europe with my parents and looking up at the sky and the forest going by. We sprawled out in the car–seat belts optional!

  4. I have a lot of memories of old family car. Every vacation, every shopping trip, every sports event, every trip to the movies, pretty much every traveling memory of mine has a piece of that old car in it. Good times.

  5. We changed cars a lot when I was little. I remember a Lincoln… and a van, maybe 2 vans. And the car that I cried over when we sold it… an Eagle station wagon. I was like 4 and it was the first car I remember and I was sad to see it go. I vividly remember sitting in our new car screaming, “Eagle no go bye bye!!” And my mom still makes fun of me for it.

  6. 1985 Chevrolet Celebrity. The rack and pinion steering gave out at some point, and apparently was very expensive to fix, so my mother just lived with a sore left shoulder she got from the abrupt jerking motion necessary to successfully turn left, uphill out of our neighborhood. I thought it was REALLY cool when i got to ride between my parents on the front bench seat on the fold-down arm rest so i got a better vantage point (looking back, prob not very safe…), which was usually when they needed to cart me, my two brothers, and grandmother around all at once.

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