Chapter 17 - Know my car, know me

Cars I have loved or loved in


Left column: 1936 Cadillac Limousine, MG-TD, 1956 and a 1978 Jeep J10.
Right column: 1949 Ford, 1956 Corvette, 1963 Oldsmobile, my present 2006 Land Rover LR3.

"But the thing about bad guys is that they have the biggest bosomed blonds, they have great clothes and great cars, and get great death scenes." - Eric Roberts

The Rig Veda, Book 10,
Hyman CLVI, Indra.
For life I set thee free by this oblation from the unknown decline & from Consumption;
Or, if the grasping demon have possessed him, free him from her..

I've never owned a dull car. It started at age 16 when at the legal age to drive in the late 1940s I had a low budget but a high taste and decided to start with a limousine.

Luckily for me the local Woodbury CT funeral parlor had just bought a new limo and offered their twelve-year old one for a very small price.

It was a mint Cadillac with about 20,000 miles on the odometer and an enormous rear seating area with two jump seats facing the very substantial and cushioned back seat.

No teenager suffering from a surfeit of testosterone could have found a better launching pad for his over active hormones.

While my peers drove old, beat-up wrecks, I squired young women around in elegant style with the expected results.

That 1936 Cadillac Limo got about ten miles to the gallon, but we weren't going any further than the nearest trysting spot.

On to the Naugatuck Daily News and my first newspaper job

Two years later, even before I got my first newspaper job, I traded up to a 1949 Ford convertible, bright red with white leather interior.


I had the MG-TD I drove in 1955 repainted and added a small windscreen to the driver's side.

I had it about a month when my first wife's young brother jumped on the hood with sandy shoes and survived to tell the story.

In that sweet little convertible we used to go double-dating at the drive-in movies with the Sports Editor of the Naugatuck Daily News, Don Anderson, who was going out at that time with the Woman's Page Editor named Justine who ended up living a couple miles from me on Pleasant Bay years later.

Don and I each brought along a six-pack of beer, and Don finished his before the previews were over.

I discovered that when I felt a warm,wet sensation on the back of my neck as he projectile vomited his six-pack at my back.

Poor Justine. I never tire of telling the tale in front of her conservative Republican friends.

My next car was an MG-TD, the second in the MG series. The windscreen on this model could be rotated foreward on the bonnet, and I had a smaller driver-side only windscreen attached for solo racing.

At age 25 I inherited my father's estate which he had wisely kept away from me since he died when I was 21.

Dad should have held it in abeyance longer because it took me very little time to go through the entire amount.

On the day I got access to my inheritance I walked a block from the Greenwich Time newspaper office where I was working to the Chevrolet dealer who had a bright red 1956 Corvette in the showroom window.

I paid cash and drove it out.

I was getting divorced at the time and sped off to work for various newspapers (Chapter 7) all over the east coast, and that Chevy was dead at the side of an Aroostook County Maine road 18 months later.

It was worn out.

Who needs four wheels anyway?

We used our little Vespa to drive to Point Judith RI weekends (with a couple more Beatniks in the back) to work on a 40-foot boat we were re-building to sail around the world. Luckily a hurricane destroyed it before we left.  We drove it the way the video shows.

The next few years were spent in Greenwich Village where a car was not needed, although Patricia and I did buy a tiny Vespa car to get out of town once in a while.

The little thing was so light we could pick it up and slide it into tight parking places sideways.

It too died after a year of auto abuse. The video on the right shows why. There is another photo of the little devil below.

When Pat and I got to the Thompsonville Press in 1964, we bought an almost new, white Oldsmobile 88 convertible which was a real beauty, but huge.

When we moved to Cape Cod in 1965 we discovered it was literally too big for the Lower Cape roads, and drove a VW Beetle and a Toyota Corolla until I bought my first Land Rover.

Pat drove the cutest little Morris Woody you ever saw, also shown below.

During the O.P.E.C. oil embargo of the 1970s I switched to a red Jeep J10 pick-up with an extended back.

We spent weekends driving down old dirt roads and power lines gathering deadwood to feed our wood-burning stove.

Later, when I worked at MPG Communications in Plymouth, I switched to a Mercedes 500 SEL for the 45 mile commute.

In 1988  I started Best Read Guide and went back to Land Rovers, first a red Range Rover, then a white Discovery and today the LR3 shown above.

Below are a few I've mentioned in previous chapters: top row, 1940 Ford Woody, 1970 Land Rover a and a 1960 Vespa. Bottom row, 1958 Morris Woody and a 1984 Mercedes Benz 500 SEL.

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