Second Gear was Gone and it was Green

1960 Ford Wagon

I shifted into second gear, let out the clutch, and it kicked out into neutral. Oh no, not again. It seems the old Ford lost the ability to stay in second. That was a problem. It was a 3-speed on the column, and with second gone, it made driving difficult. And it was green.

Dad didn’t do me any favors when I got my driver’s license in 1967. He decided to give me Mom’s old car and buy her a newer one. What did Mom get? A 1964 Mercury Comet. And me? A green 1960 Ford Station Wagon. And it was green.

To top it off, we had an old mattress without a bed, so it was put in the back of the station wagon.

Try Explaining the Mattress

Now just think about it. I show up at a date’s house. She comes to answer the door with her father peering over her shoulder. He sees the car and comments about it being a station wagon. Then to make a really great impression, he notices something in the back and asks, “What’s that in the back of the station wagon?” And I have to answer, “It’s a mattress, sir.”

Yeah, that went over well. NOT! You can not imagine the difficulty in heading out on a date after that conversation. It put a big crimp in my social life. And it was green.

When the wagon was handed down to me, it was in fair shape and all the gears worked. Eventually, second gear became unusable and driving it was interesting. Rev it up high in first gear and shift straight to third, which was a highway gear. The car would chug and rattle and complain as if it was not happy with my driving. And it was green.

As some point, Dad decided to trade off the 1960 wagon and get me something else. Something else green.

Then the wagon wasn’t so bad, after all.

Talk about another story. Dad showed up with a rusted out 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook with four doors and a flat-head six cylinder engine. It also had a three-speed on the column. It was not an attractive car, and it did wonders for my reputation at school. I had gone from a station wagon to a big, bulky, unattractive … well, you get the idea. And it was green, too.

I have never enjoyed the color green on a car. I’m not sure why. Just one of those oddities, I guess. Later, when I found another car to trade in the 1952 Plymouth … yes, it was green, also. But it was the last green car. I promise.

It was a Red 1956 T-Bird

1957 Ford Thunderbird

It was a red 1956 Thunderbird just sitting there, hidden in 5′ tall weeds.

Dad was an avid gardener with a love for growing fresh vegetables. It was his way to relax, and I was generally a part of the labor. Rototilling, forming up the rows, planting, watering, and weeding were things I could always help with. Plus sharing in the bounty at the table. His gardens always produced more than we could eat, so we shared a lot with neighbors.

In the spring of 1965, I accompanied Dad to one of his favorite nurseries. They specialized in tomatoes and offered the biggest variety and the healthiest plants. Dad would spend hours looking at the plants and picking out the ones that met his approval. It was always a lengthy process.

After he shopped for a while, I got tired and wandered off. As a 15-year-old, gardening was not my thing, but wandering and looking at starter plants was boring. I excused myself and went outside.

I saw some old equipment on the other side of one of the big greenhouses and headed that way. The area was full of old farm equipment surrounded by tall weeds growing up to about 5 feet tall. Struggling to get farther into the weeds to see what was hidden from view, I saw something red peeking through off to my left.

Moving that direction, I stepped next to a very oxidized, red 1957 Thunderbird. It looked intact. It had a red hard top and a V8 emblem on the side of the front fender. Getting around to the driver’s door, I could see a white interior with bucket seats. There in the console was a standard transmission. A V8 with a manual transmission.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. As I was running back to get my Dad, he was coming out of the greenhouse with carts full of plants and seeds for garden.

I helped him get the items loaded into the back of his pickup and as calmly as I could, told him about my find. I explained we needed to find out who owned the car so we could buy it because it needed a good home.

After a very short discussion, he explained to me that it would be too much work to get it home and do all the repairs it needed.

A few months later, I had my license and I went back by the nursery to see what I could find out. It was gone. The field was mowed and cleaned of all the old equipment and the T-Bird. Gone.

Heart broken, I got back into my 1960 Ford Station Wagon and drove home. The opportunity of a lifetime was gone.

There are few times I was dumbfounded by my Dad, but this was one of them.

My “Money No Object” Cars

What are your “money no object” cars?

There are two on my list. I have lusted for these since High School and have not changed my mind in 49 years.

Of course, there are other cars I would take, but these are the favorites.

A 1969 or 1970 Boss 302


A 1970 Hemi Cuda


Now tell me you wouldn’t take either of these.

So tell me, what are your “money no object” choices?