Thursday Twister: Learners Permit
It is Thursday, so DT’s quasi-weekly nausea inducing quiz, the twursday thister…no…that’s not right…oh yeah, the Thursday Twister. Today’s topic is personal…what was the car that you learned to drive in?
I learned to drive in a classic Dodge Van that my father picked up in some kind of mid life crisis — he’d never had a van before, but he picked up this van with a manual gearbox and I rode around unbelted in the back for several years before I learned to drive in it. This 74 Dodge Van here on eBay bidding for $4,950 is a few years older the family van, but it was painted in a similar shade of baby barf.
Where did you learn to turn the wheel and shift the shifter?
That's funny – I learned to drive in a Plymouth van. It was a Grand Voyager so FWD/auto minivan instead of an awesome RWD/manual B-van, but still. To this day I'm glad I learned in a bigger vehicle; I'm never uncomfortable when I hop behind the wheel of a big truck, Suburban, Crown Vic, etc. as a result.
Learned to drive…
Either one of these:
[image src=" c1.staticflickr.com/7/6201/6084192148_ca95afce04_b.jpg" width="400px"/]
[image src=" images.thecarconnection.com/med/namcos-pole-position-video-game_100364109_m.jpg" width="400px"/]
[image src=" oldbug.com/plarson12.jpg" width="400px"/]
1968 Camaro, bone stock 327,Grotto Blue with the oddball wheel covers and 3spd on the floor. First solo in a car on streets in 9th grade at 14 yrs. old. Laid my first patch the same day!! 🙂
[image src=" 69pace.com/images/Paint/1968_DD_grottoblue/1968grottoblueorg230.jpg" width="400px"/]
that is so official!
1977 VW Scirocco exactly like this one. Mine wasn't the fancy-shmancy GLI model though. After stalling it a few times getting it up the driveway, I figured my Dad would want to finish it up out of impatience or avoiding me burning up the clutch. It was then he made told me two things:
1) He knew I would figure it out
2) The longer it took me, the sooner I might fry the clutch and he wasn't going to be paying for it
I made it up the driveway.
[image src=" c1.staticflickr.com/9/8386/8558444516_57e0effecf_b.jpg" width="400px"/]
First vehicle-bigger-than-a-big-wheel was a John Deere tractor with a 4 speed and the narrow-front wheels. That taught me how to drive a stick. I was around 13 at the time and could barely reach the pedals.
1978 GMC "High Sierra" 4×2 with a 305 and a 3 on the tree is what I learned to drive on. It was an "island truck" meaning it lived on an island off the coast of Maine and was in pretty rough shape. No police on the island meant no driving laws, so once my grandfather taught me how to go through the pattern and not stall, I'd drive the truck from our log cabin to the boat landing once / wk to get mail in the summer. I was 14.
One of my friends, at 14 years of age, was the son of a seasonal fishing boat captain and an off-season auto mechanic. So one day it came to pass that I couldn't get the truck out of 3rd due to the linkage binding up, and my friend hopped into the engine bay and would work the linkage while I drove looking out the crack between the (open) hood and the dash. It was incredibly dangerous looking back on it… but a real good time. Plus, it beat walking with 30lbs of mail and food the 6 miles from the landing to our cabin. We later realized the truck would start off in 2nd no problem so we just parked it where we didn't ever need to reverse, and left it in 2nd for a few months until the parts to fix the linkage came out.
One of these at the (long since closed) family business.
[image src=" renebates.com/auctions/archives/4693/54.jpg" width="400px"/]
I learned in my first car a 1970 Cal-Look Bug. Great first car. I would get Hot VW and VW Trends magazine, save up some money and buy some cool aftermarket part for it.
First official drive was an 86 Oldsmobile 98 Brougham the day I got my permit. First drive in a manual was a '89 Ford Probe GT, brother handed me the keys and said you know how to drive sick right? I figured it out by the time I left the neighborhood, I'd thrashed enough dirt bikes to grasp the basics pretty quickly.
66 VW Bug and 67 Ford Fairlane
Drivers Ed. Car was a well worn 68 Plymouth Fury i found out if you flicked 4 ways on add turn signal and step on the brake pedal radio would play with no key. My Moms 67 Dart would do the same thing.
Started in a Custom (with no options, but PS and radio deleted)F150 with the awesome (I still think so) 300 CID I6 and 4 speed (with granny 1st). Ultimately delivered it with a washer and dryer and 2 horses in a trailer to a brother-in-law in Mexico with over 400k on the truck. It was very tired, but later sold for over $2k in Mexico without a straight body panel and pretty significant body panel rust a few years later. Good damn truck.
'84 vanagon, two tone blue, 4 on the floor, on the steepest hill my dad could find off the PCH in Orange County. It wasn't cool enough for this ignorant SoCal HS sophmore, tho, and I always pined for a type 1 that I could build up with a stinger, shaved handles, tucked Fuchs, etc.
I learned on a manual transmission 1980 VW bus identical in color to the one in Zach's first photo above! My dad did the same thing yours did — found the steepest hill in town and wouldn't let us leave until we could launch from a dead stop. Now I'm teaching my son to drive in my 2017 GTI 6MT so the VW family tradition lives on.
My first experience driving was my grandfather's 67 Rambler American. I was 6. In HS, the Driver's Ed car was a brand new 78 Malibu 4 door sedan. The rear windows were fixed in place in that model and did not roll down. My father's car was a 77 Impala that I also drove. I learned to drive stick on my friend's father's Dodge Aspen station wagon with 110 K on the clutch.
My friend did not have a license, but his father let him drive it.
1981 Caprice Classic Diesel Station wagon Maroon
The driver's ed car was a manual 1972 or '73 VW Beetle (would that have been a Super Beetle?). But I did the test in a 1970 Ford Cortina GT (because the driving school forgot to show up on test day). There was quite a difference between the clutches on those two cars. The Inspector even forgave one stall (whew!).