49 Jeepster

49 Jeepster

Just those three words evoke all types of emotions and memories. Those three words bring back memories no matter what age you are now, the model of the car, the cost, the dents the dings, the noises coming from under the hood, how long you owned it, and perhaps most of all ”Man if only I had kept________ what would that be worth today?

The first feeling most people think of is the freedom that first car gave us, the independence, no longer were we dependent on mom, dad or an older buddy to cart us around when we wanted to go someplace or get something. The feeling of owning something that almost felt alive when you turn the key. The adventure of driving places perhaps your parents didn’t drive to (or even know about). The thought of a first kiss,our first speeding ticket, or fender bender. Remember how clean you kept that first one, the time spent washing and polishing. Recall how many people said to you…”Be careful, this isn’t a toy” oh the memories.

My first car was a 1949 Willys Jeepster.No I didn’t get it when it was new, before you all ask. I turned 16 in 1967 and my dad was a manager at a Cadillac Dealership near Cleveland Ohio and they had taken it on trade, he bought it and then brought it home and sold it to me. At the time I was a caddy at a country club and also mowed lawns for a small landscaping company to earn money to be able to get a car when I got my license. This Jeepster was in pretty good shape and cost me $600 bucks which was a whole bunch of money when you’re making $75 a week. I was pretty pumped up about it and it was far different from anything anyone had at school. I remember one kid who’s parents were loaded got a new GTO every six months, but mine was cooler…it had an AAAARRROOOGGGAAA Horn, Red, with a white convertible top, 3speed on the column and an AM radio, heater and wipers that were interesting when it rained.

The very first day I drove it I was headed over to a girls house… go figure, I had just lite a cigarette and it fell on the floor I bent over to pick it up while holding onto the steering wheel which I must have pulled slightly to the left coming over a hill. I looked up just in time to see another car right in front of me and I yanked that steering wheel hard to the right and ran into a fence. I was ok, wasn’t going fast, no seat belts then of course, but I did put a small dent in the right front fender. The police came and asked for my license which of course I didn’t have on me.

My court date came and my mom went with me, very embarrassing I must say, and the judge made this huge deal out of me not having my license with me, “What if you had died in this accident young man and nobody knew who to contact?”…really??? I ran into a stupid fence! My mom even thought that was a bit over the top, but I got grounded and guess what I wasn’t allowed to do?…..Drive my Jeepster.

That torture lasted one month and it did teach me some very valuable lessons, always have your license and put an ash tray on the dash so you don’t take your eyes off the road. My Jeepster actually started a fad at school when a second person got one too, I acted all happy for him but really I was kind of pissed cause now mine wasn’t the only cool car in the parking lot.

I don’t know how long you kept your first car but I had this Jeepster for about 2 years,  2 summers,2 winters. And Yes I kissed my first girlfriend in it after meeting her at the county fair, my first accident, my first ticket and my first taste of independence and freedom.

Like so many other things in life nothing beats the first one or the first time and that Jeepster was no different, I have had many cars since then, many that cost more than that entire farm I grew up on. I will never forget the feeling of driving down those dirt roads, top down, warm breeze, my right wrist draped over the steering wheel, my left arm resting on the door. That am radio blasting out some weird music from England…..Stones and Beatles…

When you’re at the dealership and that person or couple pulls on the lot, and you approach them, is it possible that what they are looking for is their first car?

Better yet, how about we treat every single person as though this is their very first car and how special those feelings were to us and still are to most everyone

That was My First Car, what was yours?