Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

January 4, 2011

Loved that Car!

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

I have a friend in Pensacola who carried in his wallet for 40 years a picture of his first car. Now I am not that extreme, but I do have such fond memories of my first car.

At the end of the summer in 1951, I had earned and saved enough for my first car. It was a 1936 Chevrolet Touring Sedan that I purchased for $100. Though I do not have a picture of it, every detail of that car is burned into my memory.  Now I will mention several things about this car. .

The car was longer than most vehicles on the road. It was heavy gauge metal and one of the heaviest automobiles on the road.

It was a straight 6-cylinder engine, but could cruise at only 45-50 miles an hour. That was because it had such a low rear end gear ratio.

The large starter required a heavy foot to push and crank the engine. It had a 3 speed gear and vacuum windshield wipers, of course. It was fitted with 17″ tires and so you can see it moved like a tank. It seemed to be an indestructible vehicle. And to put the cost in perspective, the car sold new in 1936 for $560. Consider the value it maintained. I paid $100 over 17 years later! It sure held its resale value.

Now why would a teenager buy this kind of car? Surely he would have preferred one of the hot-rods or cut-downs that were so popular. The answer probably is two-fold: “it was all I could afford” and then there was the novelty of it.  The doors opened from a center post. The back doors opened and you had to step higher because the back seat was higher than the front. That is part of being the Touring Sedan.

And it had  running boards ! With windows down, you could ride at least four extra people holding on. And then those front fenders! A person could sit on a fender and hold on by gripping the chrome headlight. There seemed to be a place for about 12 or more people, even without squeezing more than six on the seats. Now what teenager doesn’t like to carry a football team with him?

A couple of other interesting things about this car. One was that it had a trunk back. That is, the trunk was a large hump at the rear. It did not use any interior space. Another interesting fact was that it had shades in the back seat on the side windows and the rear window.

Now I guess I thought this unusual car would be an attraction for the young ladies. But it gave me no advantage. In fact, I became suspicious that it hurt my image. I would see these ladies gravitating toward those fellows with the hot-rods. The one thing I knew, however, was this Chevy could not outrun any of those cut-downs, but it certainly could pull two or three of them at the same time when they were stranded! The strength and power of this vehicle was proved when I drove it up Stone Mountain . . . and at night!

I will confess one thing to you. I am sure my mother never knew or it would not have been so! Remember the shades I mentioned that could cover the side windows and the rear window in the back? Well, they became a defense mechanism for me. Since this unique car did not attract the ladies, I would get some other fellows without a lady, and we would go to downtown Atlanta on Friday or Saturday nights. Peachtree Street was where everyone cruised. I would take my place and follow the ’32 Ford hot-rod or some other snazzy car. And of course, the driver would have two or three ladies with him.

I know folks would see this big vehicle and probably thought, “What is this funeral hearse doing in this parade?” I didn’t worry about what they called my car, because I knew it was twice the car of any other, but I did worry about whether of not folks would notice whether there might be ladies with me or not. Knowing that thought, I would pull the shades to cover the back seat. On the shade in the rear window, I painted these words. “Don’t laugh, lady! Your daughter may be in here!”I loved this car. In fact it was almost an obsession to me. I polished this car when it did not need it. I would clean the engine; tamper with the engine often, just to be around the car. I would rotate the tires just to be touching the Chevy. I cherished this vehicle and it may have appeared to others that it was the most important thing in my life.

And that last statement might be my reason for writing this blog.   I will not say that my ’36 Chevy was the most important thing in my life at that time, but I do know that material things were the most valued for me at that time. A relationship with Christ was not on my important list!  And those material things allowed me to avoid a deep personal relationship with Christ. I soon learned that those material things were not long lasting.  That ’36 Chevy has long vanished . . . as do material things.  I have discovered that Christ and a relationship with Him is permanent.  It need never vanish! I am so grateful today to know that I must not be obsessed with things that will soon vanish.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  (Matthew 6:19-21)

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteous, and all these things will be given to you.”  (Matthew 6:33)


Added note: I sold that ’36 Chevy the following summer for $100 and bought a ’42 Plymouth. But that is another story!






(Matthew 6:19-21)


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