|Boomers remember their childhood transportation.
Send us your memories. Here are some memory joggers: Trains, planes, and the family car. Hot rods, go-carts, mini-bikes. rollerskates, Flexible Flyer sleds, Sting Ray bikes...
We need your memories!
Click the Mail-a-Memory button above to send your memories. Be sure you include your first name, city, state/province, and year of birth.
My Dream Car: 1968 Firebird/GTO
The ultimate sexy car for me is the 1968 Firebird, closely followed by the GTO. I was 16 that year, and a guy I had a crush on had a maroon one. I always wanted a black convertible. I still do! I grew up in Cleveland and I used to dream of driving my convertible along the Pacific coast. Now I live in California, but I don't yet have my dream muscle car. I did have a 76 Firebird for awhile, white with a blue racing stripe and baby blue bucket seats. Alas, I didn't even have it a year before I ran it head on into a Chevy Suburban. Other hot cars: early to mid 60s T-birds. Chevy Supersports...a friend had a red one with a black convertible top. When I was in college I wanted a Datsun 240Z, my boyfriend got a silver one to make me happy. I drive a 72 Ford pickup now, but one of these days I'm still going to get that '68 Firebird! --- Chris, Redwood City CA, 1952
Time Travel in a 56 Dodge
Memories, Where do you start? Hide-n-seek, climbing trees, running through a sprinkler, baseball cards on the forks of your bike that made that great sound as they flapped against the spokes of the wheels, I could go on forever. It was a great time in my life and I'm very lucky to be the third generation owner of one of those memories. A 1956 Dodge Custom Royal. Totally original, right down to the paint, with exception of chrome wheels & a few other items I have added to personalize it.(which I still have in storage). She still wears the original lic. plate with a "56" metal tab in it. (in front for looks only). I was 4 when my Grandfather bought it. It has chrome handles on the back of the front seat I can remember standing up & hanging on looking over my Grandfathers shoulder as he drove. I hear so many people say "IF I HAD ONLY KEPT THAT CAR" I'm so thankful my Dad hung on to it for me. It allows me to go back in time every time I sit in the seat. Now my son,26 waits to own it one day as I did. --- Gary D., Connecticut,1952
My First Bug
My first car, in 1971 was a pea green Volkswagon Bug. My claim to fame (so everyone would know it was me) was big yellow,daisy-like flowers on the doors (Hippie style). I bought the car from my Dad (minus the flowers of course) and would stuff as many of my friends into that car
as possible. Once, for laughs we tried to see how many kids we could fit into the car. I think we reached ten; but of course we couldn't drive anywhere with that many people in it. I loved that car! I drove it until the only working parts left, were the radio and I think the lights and emergency break still worked. Volkswagons had the car battery under the seat and once a friend of mine (who was riding in the back) started yelling for me to pull over. The battery had started to spark and it was smoking up the back seat. We found out that actually the battery had fallen through the rusted floor and was dragging on the road. No problem! I tied it up with an old shirt and kept driving! The floor on the front seat of the passenger side was rotted through and anyone riding with me would have to pick up their feet when we went through a puddle. Boy, I sure had guts (and a lot of nerve) back then! First cars are the best! --- Shelley, Massachusetts, 1954
Cars Arleen Remembers
Light green 1952 Studebaker, 1956 gray and white Chevy Impala, 1963 gold Chevy station wagon with the third seat, 1961 gold Chevy Impala and 1966 Chevy Impala that aqua color. I learned to drive in the 1956 Chevy, which my father installed seat belts in and of course a bunch of crazed teen-age girls never used, after I drove that one to death next came the '61 Chevy that sucker didn't last long, it was a lemon when Dad bought it, finally the BRAND, NEW '66 Chevy which I confess, I totally ruined. It was $3600 and that seemed like an awful lot of money back then and when I drove it, my guy friends called me Parnelli Jones. I still feel guilty about all the damage I did to that car. --- Arleen, Connecticut 1948
I remember when we made our own scooters. They were made by taking a metal roller skate apart, putting the front and back on a piece of 2 x 4 on opposite ends, nailing the parts in place. You would then nail the 2 x 4 onto a wooden milk crate, fastening the bottom of the crate to the top of the 2 x 4 at the front skate part end. I f you were really into it , you would paint your scooter with any color paint that was available in your house. It was very inexpensive, but a lot of fun. --- Joe, Philadelphia, PA, 1947
That 50s New Car Smell
Does anyone remember the smell inside a new car in the 50's? Oh, that was so nice! I came home from the hospital in a '46 Studebaker. I can remember when my Dad bought a new '49 Ford 2 door custom, black with a grey interior. And that wonderful smell! The next car was a hand down in the family, a '54 Ford 4door crestliner, dark blue. This is the car I learned to drive in. My first car in '63 was a '55 Ford 4 door turquoise with a pink rimmed snow tire as a spare. The spare seemed to be on the car more than the regular tires! She smoked badly from the breather and she changed her own oil, had to add a quart a week! The trans was a little sloppy; she was an automatic and when you put her in gear you had to wait a little for her to go. She got me where I had to go and never let me down. You always remember your first car. I would give anything to have her back. --- Dave, Oaklyn, NJ 1946
Expanding Swing Bridge on Rt.35
I remember the daytrips to Seaside Heights in New Jersey in the 40's. That was before the Garden State Parkway or the New Jersey Turnpike. Only a two lane highway to travel on. There was a swing bridge that crossed the Raritan River on Rt. 35. When it opened to let a boat go by, which was quite often, traffic would tie up for hours. and in the really hot summer the steel superstructure would expand in the heat and they couldn't get it closed. No choice but to wait it out in the backseat of my dad's 39 chevvy ( no airconditioning) until they wet the bridge down to close it. Sometimes by the time you got down to the shore it was time to go back home. --- Ray, Paterson, N.J., 1939 (sure, he's not a boomer, but we'll let him reminice anyway)
The Joy of 50's Vintage Cars
The first car I had was a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria. It was a two-tone blue and white 292 V8 (If memory serves me) with an automatic on the column. I bought the car in 1967 for $99.00 and sold it in 1968 for a 1963 Thunderbird convertible. I'm still kicking myself for not keeping those two cars. I currently own a 1952 Plymouth Cambridge which I am restoring. It has a straight 6 with a three speed on the column. That's me in the picture with my daughter at the wheel. Someday I hope to fully restore this car. Driving it brings back alot of memories of my teen years behind the wheel. My dad helped me with the body work on my 56 Ford and my two children also helped me with the body work on my 52 Plymouth. We have had alot of fun together working on that old car! --- Rick Ryan, Doylestown, Pa. 1951
I remember flying on commercial planes in about 1955-56. What a treat! The stewardesses were wonderful. Treated all with utmost respect and kindness. Planes were on time and kids were invited (one at a time) into the cockpit to see the captain and co-pilot, and the food... it was actually edible. --- Dodi Wilmington DE 1948
I was born in 1953...eighth child from a family of 10...six brothers and three sisters.
I loved listening to the radio and the songs of the 50's and 60's even though I was only 10 years old...probably because that was what my older brothers and sister listened to. Blueberry Hill, The Twist, Hound Dog were the tunes at the time and still are for me today.
I graduated high school in 1971...muscle cars were in their height of glory...I went to work and bought a 1968 Dodge "Super Bee"...one of the top performance cars even in 1971...383 cubic inches with 335 raw horses for power.
Driving the main drag looking for chics, going to the Lone Star Drive Inn and not watching the movie were some of the many uses for which the performance car was designed...and I put it to good use.
The feeling of the power under your foot, the squawking of a tire to turn a head your way, "racking off" the pipes and the music playing in the 8-track are only memories of a bygone era...but what memories they are! --- Zackie Watkins, Hughes Springs, Texas, 1953
Proud Dodge Owner
When I was in the sixth grade, my Dad bought a 1956 Dodge Royal 4 door sedan. The color was Red and White...I still remember the day Dad and I pick it up at the dealership in Spokane Washington...It was a rainy day and Dad and I got into the car and the Salesman got into the back seat and took some time to explain all of the buttons and knobs on the dash...Oh, I can still remember the smell of the heater when Dad turned it on for the first time... That day was probably the most memorable day in my childhood as it was our first new car since I had been born...I thought it was the coolest car anywhere...Most of my friends parents had Ford or Chevys, but we had a DODGE and was I proud... My current dream came true four months ago, when I was able to buy a 1956 Dodge from the couple in Seattle...So now I have a '56 sitting in my garage...Oh the memories I have everytime I look at it...Those were the good old days. --- Mike, Sacramento, CA, 1946
1956 Buick Special
1956 Buick Special with air con delivered by clear plastic tubes on the rear parcel shelf. I remember going to get a Dr. Pepper at a drive in during the hot Texas summer and riding home standing on the back seat with my face planted on the A/C tube inhaling like it was an aqualung. No car seats or belts for me. --- Peter, Houston Texas, 1952
Although I was too young to remember them, I now own a '53 Chevy. I show it all the time. I rebuilt the whole drive train,all new brake system.it's a stock 235 blueflame 6. three on the tree. i redid the interior slighty custom. My wife and i have a lot of fun and meet a lot of great people. our best friends have a '56 buick roadmaster. I won some nice plaques and 15 or so trophies. i drove from PA to TN for a show (12 hours) once. I got a trophy at the Wildwood, NJ Broadwalk Classic Car Show. The women of the sponsors for the show voted my '53 Chevy, "Best Back Seat Memories." --- Russ and Linda Smith, Easton, PA, 1949, 1953
Most Memorable Cars
1977-1979... 1961 Chevrolet Impala. Lemon yellow (made the same year I was born). Sweet! (My dad still has the Impala in storage. How I would love to restore that car.....) Then a very disappointing Dodge Dart Custom (I was so embarassed). Followed by an German made Opel Manta (nickname Spot from body damage). Sometimes I had to start it with a screwdriver placed across the starter points. --- Pam, League City, Texas, 1961
PJs in the Plymouth for the double bill
This boomer memory must date from 1958 or '59. My brother (b. 1955) and I were dressed in our p.j.s, put in the back of our brown and white 1957 Plymouth station wagon and taken to the Drive-In to see the double bill - "The Fly" and "The Thing". This happened in Merced, California. --- Claudia, Connecticut, 1953
I remember back in the early 70's , my dad bought me a Honda qa50, w/the automatic transmission. That machine had the triangle shaped seat, and the funny shaped fenders.Most of them came in yellow, and thats what I got by default. The machine was indestructible, lord knows I tried, I thought I was the big "motocross" rider of the neighborhood. That mini bike took all I could dish out. I understand now that that bike is worth quite a bit of money . I lost that bike somewhere between paper routes and the discovery of girls. --- Aaron, Epping NH, 1961
The Fleas in the Corvair
My first car date had a 63 Corvair. We were going to a prom. I thought how lucky I was to have a date that was a Senior with his own car. His sister, my friend let her cat sleep in it. At the prom I kept itching as if I had something on me. When I got home and reported to Mom, I had fleas all over me. --- Grace, Hebbronville,TX 1949
Sunday rides in the country with an aunt, uncle and cousin. My uncle had a car horn that sounded like a cow mooing. We thought it was great to pull alongside a herd of cows. He'd honk his cow horn and they'd all look up. So innocent! --- Kathy, Pennsville, NJ, 1946
I learned [to drive] on a red and white DeSoto fireflight with push buttons. We called it the 'bomber'. My next car had no push buttons. I thought moving the lever from one gear to the other was a stick shift! Barbara, West Hills Ca 1946
Another 57 Chevy Memory
The first car I remember as a kid was my Dad's brand new 1957 Chevy. The color was dusty rose and I thought it was the most incredible car ever. I can still recall the license plate number...NKF583. What was really amazing was that at age 17 I met a really wonderful guy who drove the exact same car, or at least it looked the same! I learned a whole new appreciation for the smooth ride and roomy interior. --- Dianna, Bluffton, Ohio, 1950
Driving on Daddys Lap
I learned to drive sitting on my daddy's lap...or more accurately, in the steering wheel! Well, maybe not actually learned to drive. As young as I was, I recall looking down to see my dad holding the wheel with his hand; I began throwing a fit and trying to get him to let go. I was the one driving...NOT him! I can still remember him and mom laughing, and her taking me from him to get me to calm down. Later, he really taught me to drive, in a '56 Olds, blue with white top. I did drive some when I was twelve, out in the country, with no traffic; but the real learning was at 15/16, with a permit that was suddenly required. --- Wanema (McCleskey) Lemons; Carson, Washington; 1949(originally from Lubbock, Tx)
When I was 8 years old, I remember walking into the showroom with my father. We were looking at a fire engine red Barracuda. The dealer came over and showed us how to put the top down, imagine my surprise when he shook my father's hand and gave him the keys. What more can I say, but a picture is worth a thousand words. $3700.00 off the showroom floor! --- Frank, Rome, NY 1959
Honda Super 90
Along with the British invasion which gave us our music there was the Japanese invasion that gave a lot of us our wheels. Mine was a 1965 Honda Super 90. Man what a blast it was to pop wheelies, race other guys, feel the wind in my hair(Oh Wow Man!! I just remembered I had HAIR!!!) and best of all get some cute girl to go for a ride with you!! My best friend had a Super 65 and we would ride together for hours. The day I got mine I rode almost 300 miles before I parked it. Everywhere you went you passed other guys riding their bikes and you always waved. We were rebels, free as birds, and even though they weren't the most powerful bikes around we sure had a ton of fun with them. P.S. Gail Coleman I'll always remember that you were the best passenger I ever had. You became one with the bike and rode like you had been born on a bike. --- Nick Roberts, Louisvlle Kentucky 1948
I remember how easy these (and other 90cc) motorscooters were to hotwire (at Wally Byam - Airstream Trailer Rallies, they were everywhere). You just stuck a safety pin through the two ignition wires, and you had yourself a ride for the afternoon. Of course, we would always return them in good condition right were we found them. And, miraculously, we never got caught. (No I didnt go on to stealing cars.)--- Tim, Shoreview, MN 1953 (I think the statute of limitations is long past)
Kiddie Car Seats
I'm sure you all remember these. They were just little seats that had two hooks on the back that you put over the tops of the car seat. Some of them had little plastic steering wheels or toys attached. And when I think that in those days the front seats in most two-door cars didn't lock in place, just flipped forward for easy access to the back seat-----I'm amazed we all survived! --- Debby, Pittsburgh, Pa. 1952
My parents owned a Hudson... (year??) I just remember the steering wheel being Quite large, that I could sit in it and Spin!~~ And the interior having a strange texture.. What WAS that@!!~? --- Candy, Palm Beach County, FLA, 1952
Yeah, I remember that strange seat texture! It was picky and hard to sit in when you wore shorts. --- Tim, Shoreview, MN 1953
Ford Country Squire Wagon
The car of my childhood was a 1968 Ford Country Squire, it had an AM radio and factory air conditioning, and could hold 10 passengers with the 2 facing seats in the way back that could hold 4. I used to sit back there and my mom seemed a mile away in the front seat guiding this behemoth through town. I used to like to have the back window open (this was before we realized the exhaust was bad for you - with leaded gasoline none the less!), and car seats? It's amazing that we survived our childhoods! --- Caelie, Woolwich, ME 1960
I don't know how we all survived without government regulations back then! (ha-ha!) I remember when my dad bought a brand new 1966 Plymouth Fury, brought it home and the first thing he did was CUT OUT the seat belts! He considered them a gal-darn nuisance!! --- Bev-Coral Springs, FL,1954
My father bought a '56 Cadillac which had huge locks on the outside of the back doors so they couldn't be opened! Good thing we were never in an accident! --- Bev., New Canaan, Ct 1947
Who could forget the joys of learning to drive in a Bug? I had an early model with the round porthole windows. That car is still my favorite for driving fun! --- Keith, Birmingham,AL,1956
1956 Dodge Lancer
In 1956, Dad bought a new "Dodge Lancer" 4 door, yellow 'n' white. At the time it was a neat car to me... I thought that was the coolest car then. Our neighbor across the street had a 31 Model 'A' Ford PU that we rode in when he would take the grass clippings to the dump. Even though it was fun to ride in, at the age of 8, I thought that was the ugliest car that Ford ever made. Our neighbor bought it for $25 in 1954 and sold it in 1960 for $25. Oh. If knew then what I know now. --- Ron, Boring, Oregon, 1949
1955 Ford Country Sedan
1955 Ford Country Sedan (station wagon) This was my Father's first brand new car. Mom, Dad, Little Brother and myself took a trip out West in the family station wagon in the summer of 1956. To help save money we camped out in this car. Dad bought a boot from a car accessory catalog. The boot consisted of a tent like contraption that fastened to the rear opening of your parked station wagon. It had a zippered screen window for ventilation. I laid across the front seat. Little brother laid on the opened up tailgate and Mom and Dad laid in the folded down passenger-cargo area. This crowded arrangement only lasted for about two nights. The rest of the trip we stayed in motels and tourist courts, as long as they were under $10.00. Some of these joints even had swimming, pools. Eventually I learned to drive on this car and Dad offered it to me when he was to trade it in on a brand new 1962 ChevyII. No way did a young man want to be seen driving Mama's grocery getter. I ended up buying a 1953 Ford Victoria for my first car. --- Dave, Cedar Rapids, IA 1946
Auto Air Conditioning 1950s Style
I remember driving from Texas to California in our 53 Chevy. What really stands out is driving through Death Valley with our "air conditioner" on - a large metal cylinder mounted outside the passenger door which you filled with ice. As you drove, air entered the cylinder, passed over the ice, then entered the car through the passenger window. Still remember my dad talking about never being able to drive through the desert during the day until the air conditioner was invented.
--- Mike, San Angelo, TX 1956
Push Button Transmissions
My dad bought a blue Rambler Classic in 1962. It had an automatic transmission, and the neat part was that there was no gearshift - the transmission was activated by pushbuttons! When we moved to California, Dad drove that little Rambler cross-country from Brooklyn to L.A. in 3 1/2 days! It was eventually passed down to my older brother, who totaled it after attending a frat party...... :-( --- Phyllis, Thousand Oaks, California 1955
Sting Ray Bikes
Sting ray bikes with banana seats and sissy bars. If you had one of those as a kid you were "it." Especially if you had a flower basket and horn on your handle bars. --- Lisa, Bakersfield, Ca. 1959
I remember lusting over the new Schwinn bikes - The Sting Ray with banana seats and high handle bars. Seems to me they had one called the "Apple Crate" and the "Orange Peeler" (or something like that). We couldn't afford the Schwinns, so we customized our own bikes to look like the Schwinns including really neato lace design spray painted on the frame. We were all better mechanics back then. If you had a "monkey wrench" a screw driver, and a little pocket money for accessories, you had all you needed to customize your bike. --- Tim, Shoreview, MN 1953
I too remember the Apple Crate, which was red, it had the small front wheel with extended forks and the 5 speed shifter sticking straight up on the middle bar. (Not a good place for us guys!) I remember wanting the yellow "Lemon Peel" but my father would not buy a bike with such a "dangerous" front wheel and fork. I instead worked out a deal where I got the standard Sting-Ray with regular wheels and no "Sissy Bar". It still had the 5 speed shifter on the middle bar, and later I finally added the sissy bar. --- Alan, South Bend, IN 1958
My parents wouldn't get me one of the custom Schwinns (Apple Crate, Orange Crate, Lemon Peeler and Cotton Picker, the one I really wanted) so I had to settle for a regular old Sting Ray. I was able (through some elaborate negotiations) to add a HUGE sissy bar that I could rest my head on as I rode (with room to spare). The bigger the sissy bar, the cooler the bike. And plenty of STP stickers for the frame. I still wish I had a Cotton Picker. --- Zachariah Love, Los Angeles CA 1959
Me, I had a Lemon Peeler. Not just sissy bar -- DRUM brake in the front (so that in the rain you could flip completely over), and a suspension of sorts (as I recall, the net effect was to spend about a quarter of your energy pumping the seat up and down instead of making the bike go, but hey, it wasn't about practical. BTW, Schwinn hasn't forgotten either: http://www.schwinn.com/99/bike/classic_index.html Too bad I'm too tall for the frame now. --- Duncan, Baltimore, MD, 21218, 1956
Mini Bikes and Go Carts
On my 13th birthday in approximately in 1969, my grandparents gave me a present of $200. Mini-bikes and go-carts were big. I bought, with a lot of begging to my parents, a STELLA B mini-bike. I think it had a 3.5hp lawn mower motor. You had to pull a start rope like a mower. Sometimes the rope kick back would whip your arm or leg. Helmets! We didn't need any stinking helmets! Ahh the immortality of youth. --- Lance, WPB, Fl. 1956
1948 Ford thru 1964 Chevy Impala
The first car I remember was a 1948 Ford, faded maroon in color, that my father had purchased second hand. It was four door and seemed big as a cave to me as a child. Seemed like when you sat in the seat you couldn't see anything out of the windows and you had to stand up if you wanted to see out. In 1953, my parents bought a brand spanking new Ford two door Crestline Coupe V-8, black in color. When I came of driving age, it became my first car. I turned it into a not so willing and able hotrod. The harder I worked the more I tore up! May she rest in peace! In 1964 my mother purchased a new Chevy Impala, 2 door sports coupe. I remember how I pleaded my case for the 409 option, only to find that it had a 283 when it arrived! I was crushed and vastly disappointed! My mother eventually gave that car to me and I still own it and it only has 47,000 original miles on it. --- Greg, Florida, 1947
I remember a 1953 Buick that my father owned that had a radio antenna in the middle of the windshield with a knob on the inside of the car that you could turn the antenna around 360 degrees. Not a bad idea for car washes of today. --- Bruce, Fern Park, FL, 1949
1958 Rambler Classic
We had a pink and gray 1958 Rambler Classic. The coolest thing was that the front seats reclined into the back seat to form a "bed"." This could have proven useful if I was in high school at the time, But, alas, I was only in third grade. --- John, Cleveland, Ohio, 1950
1960 Chevy Impala and House Paint
I remember in 1968 my dad bought a 1960 Chevy Impala which was rusting out on the bottom half. We got some blue house paint and a couple of brushes and repainted the bottom half of the car. You couldn't even see the brush strokes afterwards. - Rick, Toledo, Ohio, 1956
Strap on the back of the front seat.
I remember a lot of the cars from back then (late 40s) had a strap on the back of the front seats (for passenger assistance or something). We used to drive my parents nuts by pulling and snapping on the strap. - Tim, Shoreview, MN, 1953