1958 Thunderbird – This Guy’s First Car

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Seventeen came with the privilege to drive –  a legal license for  liberation, freedom, wondrous opportunities to explore with friends or a date, and a major lifestyle advantage. But it would take 20 months before I would actually buy my very own car, a  1958 Thunderbird.

Unfortunatly with this particular great looking coupe, I had quickly become owner of an aging, poorly maintined chasis with unsettling grinding sounds, clunks and bumps and  serious (expensive) mechanical failures deemed likely. Bought relativelty inexpensively  for $500, partly financed by my older brother, I parted unscathed with a slight profit a month later.

 But for those few springtime days of happily cleaning and waxing …while ambitious aspirations and fanciful daydreams played along with its radio, this beautiful classic car was mine.

 I wish I had it today.     

As usual, click on the image for a closer look, and thanks for viewing. Comments are always welcome. M 🙂

The Day After a Night to Remember – Returning Home

See first part: “A Night to Remember” here

Click on images and maps for better view

It was January 23rd, 1965, and I had driven through the night in a winter snowstorm from New Jersey to Niagara Falls in my parents 1960 Buick.01-23-65    Marty's Niagara Falls trip 19

After seeing and photographing the falls, I continued north, first on the Canadian side, and then back in the U.S., to the mouth of the Niagara River where it flows into Lake Ontario. Heading home now, the first 30 miles or so on Rt. 18, along the lake’s southern edge, was magical …the road virtually deserted as the high winds whipped falling and drifting snow across its breath. I loved the adventure. (See end of first part for more “frigid”comments on this stretch)

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The Niagara River (left) flows north into Lake Ontario (top.) I would take Rt. 18, thirty miles (48 km) along the edge of the lake to Rt. 63, then down to Batavia, and Rt. 5 east to Avon (right bottom on this 2015 Google map,) turning south on Rt. 15 towards Bath, NY.

The image below was taken around 4:00 PM before running out of film and daylight near Avon, The snow continued to fall, although more lightly, into this second night.

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I stayed overnight in a decent $8 motel in Bath, leaving at about 10:30 AM the next morning with frozen hands after cleaning off the snow covered car.

Continuing southeast on Rt. 15 brought me to to nearby Savona, where I turned left onto Rt. 226 with the anticipation of passing through Watkins Glen, noted for its automotive race track, and for me particularly, its famous 400 foot deep natural gorge and waterfalls. See this link. Seeing the gorge was not to happen. In fact I was lucky to get anywhere near it. Being a bit self assured, (think: cocky,) I didn’t mind the snow covered conditions of the back roads. But at Tyrone, (upper right in the first map below,  left of center in the second) I was determined to take a more direct route, turning right off State Rt. 226, onto Schuylar County Rt. 23 (not labeled.)  

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This topographic map, dated 1968, does not include Interstate Highway 380 which didn’t exist at the time of this road-trip. Eventually It  would vastly improve travel in New York State, as Rt 15 was out-dated, and one of the original 1926 US Highways.
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My adventure on County Road Rt. 24 started at it’s junction with State Road 226, (just above the label “Tyrone” above, left of center.) I was trying to go east (right) from this point, but could not make it up Huey Hill. Watkins Glen is in the bottom right corner. 

It should be mentioned that the ‘few miles wide’ ridges between New York’s Finger Lakes rise from a few hundred feet to about 1000 feet (3050 m) above the lakes. Watkins Glen was on Seneca Lake over one of these ridges, and Huey Hill was in my way. Starting from the intersection at the bottom, I was able to reach about 40 mph (64 kmh) before losing traction on the hill. But I just couldn’t make it to the top. I backed the Buick down and tried again, gaining only a few more feet. The third time, with more initial speed, ended in similiar defeat as the tires just could not maintain their grip on the snowy surface. I felt I was in control, but the “slide-o-matic” Buick just couldn’t maintain any further, upward-forward traction! (Of course, 4 wheel drive, good tires and posi-traction would have helped.)  Today (2015) I know it was 1.8 miles (2.9 km) from the intersection to the top with a vertical gain of about 600 feet (1830 m.)

Sulking a bit, it took me a while more to get to Watkins Glen by a much longer, gradually climbing (and descending) state road.   And then, upon arrival, the Watkins Glen State Park was closed! I think I was a little relieved.

After 7 more hours, at 7:30 PM, I was back in New Jersey after nearly 1000 miles over about 47 hours, and expenses of about $46.

Immediatly after, my Dad and I had a  “conversation!”

Just another interesting week-end. 

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The camera: a 1960 Exacta (EXA) 35 mm manual SLR, f2.8 50 mm lens.    Body composition: finger-freezing metal!

As usual, thanks for viewing, and comments are always welcome.  M 🙂

Automotive Perfection – The Jaguar XKE

This Post Contains Six Images

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Sandy Paws and I agree: its simple, perfectly sculptured curves make this arguably THE most stylistically beautiful production-car ever built.

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We had the privilege of absorbing the awesomeness of several of these classics at the “Brits on the Beach” car show in Ocean Grove, NJ recently. 

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The car was produced in three major series, from 1961 to 1975, and available in the roadster, or 2+2 coupe.

As usual, the above images can be viewed nicely at higher resolution;

comments, questions, inquiries….are always welcome;

and… Thanks for Viewing 🙂