When I was a teenager, several of my cousins and a couple of my good friends all had the same thing in common. We learned to drive on the 1929 Model A Ford pickup at my Aunt Janice and Uncle Gordon's cabin, above Lake Tahoe.
We had such fun driving the Model A on the dirt roads around the cabin that it seemed natural to us to get a Model A for our first cars, which we did.
My 1930 Model A Coupe was completely disassembled when my dad paid $237.50 for it. The guy selling it wanted $250, my dad offered $225 and they split the difference. The car was 41 years old at the time and hadn't run since 1954. I was fifteen then, and it didn't run again for nearly a year.
The picture above, with my friends Todd and Stan, was taken in an early, unsuccessful attempt to unfreeze the engine by dragging the car up and down our street. It took months to put my Model A back together and coax it back to life. We were so excited when at last we got it to run, just like a real car. My friends and I jumped in and backed out of the garage and on down my parent's fairly steep driveway.
About half-way down, I noticed that we hadn't hooked up the brakes. We went shooting across the street, heading straight for a telephone pole. Luckily, there was no cross traffic. My cousin John was in the seatless rumble seat and got a bird's-eye view of what happened next. We hit with a bang but fortunately didn't hop the curb into the pole.
After catching my breath, I put it back in gear, looked both ways and drove straight up the driveway, just slowy enough to coast into the garage. We quickly hooked up the brake rods, went back down the driveway and drove off into the wild blue yonder.
Looking back, I had a lot to be thankful for that day. We hadn't hit the telephone pole or killed my cousin John. I didn't have to explain to my dad how I wrecked a car that wasn't even running when he left for work that morning. And I was sixteen and had a car that ran.