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History Remember the first car you worked on?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by e z i, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. LOL! I didn't see that coming. I was expecting him to say "No son of mine will ever have a car with a pink interior!" :rolleyes:
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  2. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 7,419


    My first remembered wrenching was "helping" on my Dad's Midget race car V8-60 around 52/53 was 4/5 years old.He would give me wrench to check if everything was tight and to get me out of the way I imagine, They took racer out, blew head gasket instantly, I had loosened the head nuts, no harm done, they fixed and raced and I was not given wrenches anymore and left on my own around racer. As I grew some was always "helping"and my Mom loved telling the story when Dad was in garage (watching me ?) me in house alone and I took her oven door off. Preteen, myself and neighbor boys built wooden crate racers using what ever we could scrounge, roller skates, wheel barrel wheels, etc to race/crash each other down hill where we lived. We also would modify and race our bicycle's around circle tracks we set up, lots of skin lost in this time frame. I had a pretty good set of tools (xmas , birthday gifts) by the time I was a teen, into car magazines, building models, had grass cutting/snow shoveling business and a paper route saving for my first car. At 16 built my first car 57 chev 210, so for me It's been a lifelong love affair with cars. The positive, kept me busy and out of drugs/alcohol, spent my money on cars and racing, The negative, spent all my money on cars and racing, The memories are "Priceless" If I had it to do over again, would not change much, only would have bought Microsoft when it was a penny stock.
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  3. Ralph Moore
    Joined: May 1, 2007
    Posts: 651

    Ralph Moore

    My first was a a 1960/61 Chrysler with the push button transmission. I was about 13 or 14, it was sitting at our neighbors house, I asked him about the car and he said if you get it running, you can have it!
    I was so excited,
    I tore that engine down as fast as I could, needless to say, I wasn’t very knowledgeable when it came to engine internals then. I never did get it put back together, and I think he had it towed off. :(

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
    Ron Funkhouser likes this.
  4. scan0004.jpg Well, yeah!
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  5. Hombre
    Joined: Aug 22, 2008
    Posts: 1,053


    I remember this like it was yesterday. My family had this poor old worn out Farm Truck it was a 1948 Ford F1. I was 11 years old and this old truck would not make it to town (32 miles) without having to stop and refill the radiator and let it cool. The Flathead in it ran like a swiss watch it just ran hot. My old man had found out that the left water pump was bad, had purchased a new one, but as life living in the country in a small East Texas town was often to do it just sat. Well I finally had had enough and decided if he won't change it I will.

    Now my old man was "NOT" a car guy. The only tools he had, mechanic tools, that is was a mixed matched set of open and box end wrenches, pliers and about a dozen or so screw drivers. I had stopped in at the local garage and asked old man Flood about the water pump and how to change it. he said simple unbolt it and put on the new one. Ok simple enough, I get out those wrenches and go to work. I got all of the bolts out and that damn water pump would not budge. I hit with hammers, I used a pry bar, I poured oil on it, I hit it again with a hammer. Well that old water pump was not going to get the best of this old country boy. So I gets me a crow bar and that big old hammer. I beat on that damn thing until I was blue in the face. Finally with a lot of racket it comes flying off of the block. When I went to put the rebuilt pump on something was just not right. I mean there was this bolt and some broken cast iron in the way. You see I didn't know about that hidden bolt in side the water hose jacket. To this day I remember having to learn things the hard way. I got my butte beat and
    to this day I am not sure what the real reason was. Was it because I cost him the deposit for the core on that flathead water pump, which was probably .75 or was it because I did it without telling him I was going to?
  6. Hollister Kopp
    Joined: Feb 21, 2015
    Posts: 24

    Hollister Kopp

    I crashed my parents' Maverick when I was 15 years old. That was in 1975. My dad made me fix it. Grill, bumper, radiator and some other stuff I had to straighten out with a hammer, pliers and whatever else I could come up with.

    Then while I was at it, he had me replace the points with this newfangled electronic ignition. I enjoyed the job, but I didn't enjoy the crash or the wrath of my cranky old dad.
    Denns1989 likes this.
  7. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,695

    Member Emeritus

    Bet you wish you still had it too! Be worth a pretty penny now.
    A friend and I bought a 53 Chevrolet 4 door sedan, Model 210, from another friend. Had a dead cylinder, and NO brakes. So, he'd drive, and I'd pull on the parking brake to slow down; the parking brake was on the drivers right hand side of the dash, so I could reach it (we only drove in the neighborhood). One day we took all the old spray cans of paint we could find to it; every color and every wild design we could think of (clown car comes to mind). When his Dad came home from work, he walked around the corner of the house, looked at the car, and just shook his head. We wound up selling it to yet another friend who lived out of town. My first car was a 56 Chevrolet Model 150 Utility Sedan. I did't have a drivers license, so a friend drove it home for me; it tossed a rod through the pan on the way. We made it home, but it never "ran" again, even though I did a lot of work on it. hoping for another engine to fall from the sky. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
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  8. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,970


    upload_2017-12-5_3-24-19.png during 1957

    When my brother was driving his 1951 Olds hot rod/cruiser, I did a lot of maintenance work, add oil, wash the car, put air in the tires after I took off the Moon Discs. It was all general maintenance stuff that I had to do to get rides in the cool cruiser. (future jobs until I got my driver’s license)

    Since we lived in hot rod central or drag race central, my brother wanted a Model A to tear down and build as a drag race/street car. When we found the old, Model A, I was given the jobs of washing, cleaning out, changing the plugs, replacing the broken plug wires, etc. (again, maintenance.) But, at least I got to drive the stock Model A down the street and back.

    That car did not last too long in our backyard. The 1958, fast, 348 tri-power Impalas were already on the showroom displays and my brother, now, had his eyes on a black one with red interior. Within a month, the new 58 Impala rolled into our garage after we sold the Model A to a friend.
    upload_2017-12-5_3-26-19.png upload_2017-12-5_3-26-31.png upload_2017-12-5_3-26-42.png
    Photos similar to the Model A found in a Long Beach neighbor lady’s back yard.

    But, as far as doing actual “work,” the next two cars gave me my start in building a car and learning as we went along. Since we could read well, no parts, factory repair manual or installation booklet was beyond our reach. So, the 58 Impala was the foundation for all things repair, installation, modifying, racing, etc. Then in 1960, the pure backyard build of the 671 SBC 1940 Willys was the epitome of actual tear down and build with race car stuff from scratch.
    upload_2017-12-5_3-28-23.png upload_2017-12-5_3-28-36.png

    I have to thank my brother for giving me the chance to start tinkering with “real” cars instead of toys, go carts, doodlebugs, lawnmowers, or models. The feeling of coming home from the speed shop or general auto parts store with new race stuff was very cool. It was so much fun to put the actual new stuff on where it goes, a very satisfying moment... But, it was totally exciting to be actually building the 671 SBC 40 Willys, as it was a “start from scratch” to an almost, national record holding, C/Gas supercharged coupe.

    Lessons learned building and maintaining a car can be applied to all parts of living life. They have stayed with me in a variety of ways, even in these most recent days.

    upload_2017-12-5_3-29-6.png 1960
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  9. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 6,260


    The first mechanical job I remember doing was after the starter became inoperative on my 47 Ford coupe and my Dad showed me how to replace the Bendix spring.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  10. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,417


    My dad's friend raced a 32 Ford coupe (yea, he was one of those guys!) at our local dirt race track. I remember dad taking me with him (mom probably made him) to Bill's to work on the race car. I was probably 7 or 8. Of course I was probably handing wrenches, being the go-fer, or holding stuff, but the more I was around, the more I learned and the more useful I became.
    Bill scrapped cars to pay for his racing habit. As such, he nearly always had a pile of junk cars laying in the the pasture beside the garage. When I was 13, Bill sent me out to the yard to tear down a motor. After I got it all apart, he told me to put it back together then come back and get him, which I did. Then Bill, dad, and I spent a while trying to get it to run. We got it to fire and run about 15 seconds. I was hooked for life. Gene
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  11. I was thirteen when my Dad said I could have the 1931 Dodge Brothers business coupe in our garage. I had worked with my Dad on cars earlier in my life, but mostly handing him tools. The '31 is the one I spent my early days on.... 16 year old John.jpg post-37352-143137999616.jpg
  12. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,254


    it's neat to see how many of us were corrupted at a young age!
  13. The corruption continues with my two '31 Dodges.
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  14. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,417


    I did my best to corrupt my son at about 5, my daughter at about 5, my daughter's son at about 8, and am looking forward to corrupting my son's son as soon as I can, he is 4 now.

    I'm happy to report there were several times this past summer we had 3 generations of guys, and their friends and families at my shop doing different car things. We are a car friendly family.

    I'd even take a shot at neighborhood kids if they showed an interest. Gene
  15. aircap
    Joined: Mar 10, 2011
    Posts: 1,600


    Mom's '64 Ford Galaxie - took off the fuel pump, disassembled it, put it back together and reinstalled it while she took a nap. I was 12. I didn't tell her until I was 30. She was mortified.
  16. Chavezk21
    Joined: Jan 3, 2013
    Posts: 661


    My dad's side of the family were all into cars. Some of my earliest memories are of being put in the front seat of my avatar to steer while it was being pushed out to be taken home. There was always a car, truck or some kind of mechanical project that needed an extra pair of hands. My first car was given to me if I could get it running at age 14. most of the top end was in the back seat. I had it running by the end of summer much to my dad's dismay. He thought it would take me longer. It really is a sickness......
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    Joined: Mar 7, 2010
    Posts: 2

    from Wisconsin

    first car worked on was my dad's 53 ford, did some body repairs and tuneups. my first car i owned and worked on was a 50 olds 2dr sedan,it had a quad, solid lifter cam and stick, very rare for that era oldsmobiles. i removed hood and trunk ornaments, painted the[​IMG] body black and the interior was bright red.
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  18. When I was sixteen way back in 1965, my good old mom bought me an old Morris minor, ex agricultural and fisheries van. It really needed a massive amount of work.
    This was my introduction to stripping down and rebuilding cars. My dad didn't really have any interest in cars, but he would support me in anyway he could.

    Judy and Moggy.jpg
    The van above was the catalyst for my obsession for old vehicles, and the C Cab below was my first ever complete build from start to finish.


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  19. joel
    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 1,923


    I'm not sure when I started holding the trouble light for my dad, but I remember adjusting the valves on this at 14.
    DSCF0813 (800x600).jpg
    It didn't look like this then. The year was 1961 and Dad bought it out of a junkyard with holes in the top,no s.s. trim but a pretty good body. That's my son, the current owner, in the car.
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  20. crashfarmer
    Joined: Apr 4, 2006
    Posts: 1,274

    from Iowa

    Dad gave me this 56 Ford when I was 14. Mom and Dad had bought it new in 1956. It didn't run until I was 17. I had bought a 55 Ford when I was 16, 272 Fordomatic. The 55 was kind of slow on acceleration. A buddy had a 1964 Chevy powered by a 6 cylinder with three on the tree that would lose to it by 2 car lengths every time. He had the idea in his head that since the 56 had sat so long the he would beat it easily. The day I finished getting it roadworthy he followed me down to the highway. I pulled out on the pavement and couldn't resist seeing what it would do. I got on it and had smoke pouring out of the driver's side wheel well in 1st and second and I got rubber in third. I turned around and pulled up to my buddy in the Chevy and asked him if he was ready to run them, he refused. :)

    I had a lot of fun back in those days. :)

    My dad and my brother are in the picture as I took it.

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  21. juan motime
    Joined: Sep 14, 2017
    Posts: 55

    juan motime

    My first was a Pontiac flathead 6, that powered a homemade "buzz" saw with a 48 inch blade. My Dad built the whole thing and mounted it on a 38' Chevy truck. It was 1958, I was 8 years old. For whatever reason, Dad had the head off and my job was to clean the mating surfaces of the block and head. So under his watchful eyes, he started me with a putty knife and then a drill with a wire brush. That was IT !! All I could think about was cars and engines. I'm now 68 years old, and there has been many engines since. My latest is a 1950 International 1/2 ton, short box pickup. ( Sorry no pictures). Frame boxed, IFS, 9" rear, disc brakes all around, 318 Dodge mated to a Tremec 5 speed. Its not even close to being finished but hope to have it on the road this coming Spring.
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  22. paleot
    Joined: Aug 29, 2011
    Posts: 226

    from louisiana

    My first was a 1959 English ford Anglia 2 door sedan, worked all summer to earn $75.00 to buy it. Grandparents would not let me drive it till I fixed brakes. J.C.Whitney was my first parts order ever.
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  23. johnc451
    Joined: Dec 2, 2008
    Posts: 131


    My Dad bought a 50 Chevy new in late 49. That ended his love affair with the two 37 Ford sedans (one for parts) the family had from 1940 or so. He was not a "car guy" as such but would tackle any job from fixing a slate roof to changing a steering worm gear on a later Ford. About every 3 months he would pull the heads on the 37 and scrape the carbon. I helped by holding the light, handing the wrenches, and most of all watching. Reflecting back I recall he barely had to rinse his hands when we went back inside. I would need a complete scrubdown to look human again. I was about 4 at the time. Later my brothers would make me into a hot rodder ( see but it was my Dad, working on that 37 with only the most basic tools who instilled the "you can do this " attitude which has served me so well for 70+ years.
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  24. BuckeyeBuicks
    Joined: Jan 4, 2010
    Posts: 2,308

    from ohio

    A 55 Olds had a spin on oil filter? Don't think so
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  25. The first car I worked on was a early 60's VW bug(I know, not HAMB friendly, sorry).
    My older brother gave me this car after he hit a deer & it was written off by insurance.
    I was 13 or 14.
    A couple of friends & I proceeded to strip the fenders & glass out of it & turned it into a back alley dune buggy.
    We thought this was a great idea & had a whole bunch of fun storming the neighborhood back alleys for several weeks.
    This all came to a crashing halt (literally) when one of my friends hit a power pole & a garage then limped it back to my parents garage.
    The police showed up almost immediately & then all the fun was over & the police impounded what was left of the VW.
    I spent the rest of the summer doing odd jobs to pay off the fines & damage.
    Thinking back on it now I'm glad nobody was hurt/killed!
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  26. john worden
    Joined: Nov 14, 2007
    Posts: 1,702

    john worden
    from iowa

    Grandpa Eddie gave my cousin and I a warn out 36 Dodge sedan. when we were 16 and 14 respectively.
    We spray painted the interior camo w/fizz cans from Western Auto. Fitted Porta Walls from Western Auto and screwed a pair of white painted 57 Chev. rubber bumper bullets in the holes intended for the bumper brackets.
    Matched the white walls.
    Burned used oil.
    Learned how to shift gears and throw gravel with it in our driveway.
    Big deal!
  27. billsat
    Joined: Aug 18, 2008
    Posts: 418


    My first car was a 1966 Mustang, bought it in 1973 when I was a junior in high school. I knew absolutely nothing about cars and relied on my dad to handle the maintenance on it. The water pump went out on it somewhere around 1976 and dad did the unthinkable, he told me to go fix it. I remember two things about that afternoon - one, I had no idea what a water pump was, where it was located, etc, and dad would go in and out of the house to tell me the next thing to do in the process of replacing it. Secondly, I still recall how proud I was of myself once I was finished. I have that same sense of accomplishment to this day when I work on my old cars. Thanks Dad.
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  28. Los_Control
    Joined: Oct 7, 2016
    Posts: 750

    from TX

    62 rambler, was 14 and paid $35 dollars for it from a customer on my paper route. It needed a new clutch/pressure plate.
    I got to learn about the torque tube driveline, loosen rear end and pull it back to get the driveline out and drop the trans. I knew nothing, bought a motors manual to get instructions. Finally got clutch/pp installed, could not for the life of me figure out the throw out bearing installation .... so I just re-used the old one. That was a mistake but also a lesson learned.
  29. FullsizedFordFeller
    Joined: Oct 7, 2017
    Posts: 34


    My first memory... Probably being 7-8ish "helping" (holding the flashlight) my brother work on one of his various Hondas. Not real exciting but you got to start somewhere. Eventually he had me doing real mechanic help. But the first real car I wrenched on by myself was my '93 F150 302 Auto which was my first car also.

    Sent from my VS835 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  30. Not HAMB material, but the first vehicle I actually had to do any work on was our Datsun 1200 coupe...the points were constantly giving the folks fits, I watched dad fiddle with it one day...the next time mom took me to the store it wouldn't start, so I popped the cap off and "cleaned them" with a folded up piece of paper...I didn't know why or how it worked at the time, but it started when I put it back together lol this was in '79 and I was seven years old...

    ...I helped dad swap parts on stuff though after first rig was this old '63 Econoline we got from my hippie ex brother in law...the weird little plants that sprouted from the carpet come springtime were interesting, but yeah...I tinkered with it for a few years and learned what carburetors, ignitions, batteries, starters and shocks were all about lol...I was hooked (on the vehicles, not the weird plants) from then on.
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