The first family car can I remember was our AMC Sportabout. It was like a 4-door Gremlin with wood trim (I think ours had it). I don’t know where mom and dad got it, but they were nuts about it and AMC in general. The Sportabout was totaled in an accident. We got rear-ended and then we rear-ended the car in front of us. I remember seeing my mom hit the windshield while my brother and I were thrown forward just enough followed by the back seat falling down. That was before seatbelt laws of course.
Luckily my mom had her hair in a bun and it cushioned the impact. Though she did have to go to the hospital for a headache from the hairpin. My brother and I weren’t hurt and might have been if that seat had fallen on us.
The next car after that was a gargantuan Dodge Monaco Custom station wagon we bought from my uncle Skip who worked at Sierra Motor in Ottawa, IL. That car has it’s own colored history.
You’ll never see either of these cars on the road anymore. Though I have heard the Monaco Custom is a favorite in the demolition derby circuit.
The other night I sold my mountain bike to a guy on Craigslist. He and his son drove all the way down from Marin in a sweet 1987 White VW Westfalia camper. He had it all tricked out with a roof rack, ladder, and off-road tires. We were so jealous.
I told my wife about the guy’s camper and she had never really heard of them and right away said, “I want one.” We spent Saturday morning surfing the internet learning about the whole cult of Westys. That night, my son found an ’85 banana yellow one on Craigslist in Berkeley.
We checked it out the next day. It bucked, and shook and barely made it into the flow of traffic. Right away, I said, “pass, it’s a death trap.” We were back on line and found a 1969 camper for sale 45 miles to the east. We took it for a test drive and totally rethought the ’85.
The next day, I looked back on Craigslist and the owner of the yellow one had dramatically reduced the price. The difference was enough to cover what repairs we figured it would need.
So there it sits in our driveway waiting for it’s first appointment with the Buslab for it’s major makeover in a couple weeks.