This Is My Father's Oldsmobile    

Olds 1938Fat cars, skinny cars, cars are up on blocks, tough cars, sissy cars, even cars with rusty pox. We have a gathering of Oldsmobiles from all over the country at our convention center.

Oldsmobiles run in my family. My dad’s first car was a 1938 Oldsmobile coupe. (Back then in cou-pay.) He won it in a contest! I have the letter from the general manager of the Oldsmobile division announcing him as the winner. He picked the car up at a local dealership and I have a picture of that too.
From then on he bought only Oldsmobiles, a total of twelve. There was only one time he didn’t and that’s the year we took a camping trip from Michigan to the left coast. He wanted a station wagon, and Oldsmobile didn’t make a station wagon, so he bought a Dodge. As soon as that had the required mileage he traded and we were back on the Oldsmobile bandwagon.

I almost killed myself in an Oldsmobile. When I was in high school, Dad bought a sleeper. A sleeper is a car that looks mild on the outside, but runs wild. It was a 1963 Oldsmobile, two door hardtop, with a 394 cubic inch engine, but it only had a two barrel carburator. The result was great low end torque to get the car moving quickly. It didn’t have posi-traction rear end so only one rear wheel put the power to the ground.

On a hot day on asphalt, it would make a black line a 100 yards long. I would drag race it on Saturday night at Milan, MI. In those days the class to compete in was horsepower to weight ratio. I raced I/Stock Automatic. I won a very nice trophy one on of my trips. There are a few more stories connected with that I will save for later. The first is the hiding of the trophy and the second is getting busted by my dad for racing.

Back to almoOlds 68st getting killed. I wasn’t racing, I probably wasn’t even speeding because I was on my way to work. I probably was screwing around, because I smashed into a tree on a clear, dry afternoon. The left side of the car was mangled from front to my door. It crushed my left leg and cracked my noggin. I spent three months in the hospital in traction for the leg. Ninety days without getting out of bed!

Dad continued to buy Oldsmobiles until he died. He took great care of them, the last two or three had well over 150,000 miles. The last car he owned had over 150,000 miles and we donated it to a grandmother raising her grandchildren. Up in recently, I’ve seen it tooling around.

When I got married, our first car was an 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible. Nice gift from my parents. Some idiot ran a stop sign and I broadsided him. The car never was the same. I wish I had it now.

They stopped making Oldsmobiles in 2004, but I won’t miss them, I have my memories.

Mark Van Patten writes a blog called Going Like Sixty and has been married to the same woman since 1968.

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