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What did you learn to drive in?


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I learned to drive with my Dad’s 1974 Ford LTD Country Squire, my Aunt’s 1973 Pontiac Lemans, and the school’s drivers ed 1976 Pontiac Lemans. My drivers test went well until the examiner had me pull the U.S.S. Enterprise sized Country Squire next to a little Toyota (they were much smaller back in the day) to do my parallel parking test. Up til then I had been practicing with cars around the same size as the wagon. Needless to say I botched the test. Fortunately the examiner allowed me to try again using a car closer in size to the Ford and this time I passed parallel parking portion of the drivers test.

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I learned to drive with go-carts. Dad didn't drive at that time and step monster wouldn't let me, but Dad did buy a 78 Ramcharger that I got to drive once, first. Boy was she mad. School had Corsicas and a Beretta. Took the test with my Mothers 84ish little Ford Ranger extended cab.

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Ok...  I first learned to drive my Grandfathers 1950s Farmall tractor in 1970 ( I was 4 )

My first real driving  began in 1973 ( when I was 7) was in my Grandfathers 1970 Diamond Reo dump truck. We used it twice a year to haul stuff to the dump 14 miles away. ( we always seemed to bring more stuff home than we took there ) it had 2 gearshifts, and you needed 4 hands and a trained monkey to shift it.

I drove many vehicles when I started high school. ( 1981) but I DIDNT have my license yet ! 

I finally took my drive test in 1983 in my mother's 1973 Ford Econoline van. ... passed on my first try 95% correct. ( the guy giving the test dinged me for not turning on my turn signal while backing out of the parking spot ... what ?!?!?!? 

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I started driving the lawn mower when I was so little that my feet wouldn’t reach the running boards. My Grandpa would set the throttle, let out the clutch and turn me loose. Up and down the driveway I would go, of course I would have to pull back up beside him to stop. I progressed to go carts, then fork lifts, then tractors. The first vehicle was my dad’s 69 Chevrolet long bed pickup. It had a T-10 Borg Warner 4 speed in it. My first car (that would run) was a 66 Plymouth Satellite. I took my driving test in my aunt’s 78 Honda Civic because everything that we had was huge. The first big truck that I drove was an R-Model Mack.

Great thread Carl!

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12 hours ago, Daddyfink said:

Yes indeed, the Datsun 310! I learned to drive manual in one that a girlfriend of mine had. It was a good little car and it was great on gas! 

Indeed, although not the most refined car - I remember the 4-speed in mine had a very distinctive whine. Had a go in a 5-speed coupe more recently and that was much better.

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Back in '69 I learned on a 1961 Dodge Lancer wagon (the A-body before it became the Dart). Rust, slant six, rust, push button transmission, rust.

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If we’re getting technical here, I learned to drive in the many different farm trucks that we had over the years (I grew up on a dairy farm) and our Kawasaki Mule 610. I learned to drive on the road in my Dad’s 2002 Ford F-250. And, I took the road test for my driver’s license in my Grandmother’s 2008 Ford Escape. When I got my learner’s permit, my grandmother got a new car and gave the ‘08 Escape to me for learning how to drive. Fast forward a while, and that same Escape is still my daily driver.

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On 2/8/2022 at 3:43 PM, DPNM said:

Great topic Carl.

My Dad was into Cadillac's. He had two 1964s and two 1968s. I did most of my practice in one of the '64s and that is what I took my test in.

My first car was a '67 Cougar. Yes, I do so much wish I still had it.

Took my motorcycle test on my brothers Kawasaki 500 Mach III. We had gotten a minibike when I was in 5th grade and I got a dirt bike in 9th. It was dual purpose but it did have a license plate and was Pa inspected so I did what any 14 year old would do. I rode it on the roads in my town.

That was a different time back then. Early '70s. We had to take our tests at the State Police barracks (closed course) in the county we lived in. I failed my first drivers test because I followed my mothers advice. I passed the second time doing it my way.

When I took my MC test the trooper told me how how he wanted me to do the course. Since the Kaw didn't have turn signals I made sure that I did all the hand signals correctly, When I approached the end I saw that the trooper wasn't even watching me. He had his head stuck in the drivers side window of the young girl taking her driving test in the car that was behind me. I guess he figured if I could ride it there to take the  test I knew how to ride.


Two nice Cadillacs to Lear to dive in.  Kinda nice the trooper was distrac ..

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On 2/8/2022 at 8:40 AM, deuces wild said:

1967 Biscayne with an inline 6 and a 3 on the tree....

3 on the tree always fun to drive ..

On 2/8/2022 at 10:47 AM, alexis said:

My Dad's 1961 Chevy Pickup.

6cyl, Three on the Tree.

Took my test in a '69 Plymouth wagon, 383 Auto.

Fun to drive to me is a colum stick shift..

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My Aunt let me learn driving her 1975 Buick Regal.  Know what? When you're 14 and just see over the top of the door just about a half a foot, the beg center buckle on that state trooper's gunbelt looks like it's about half a foot tall and 4 inches wide. He informed my Aunt I could get a learner's permit but for now she needed to drive cause I was  weaving a bit.  He saw in the mirror he had gotten behind us and I told her and she did this slight half turn of her body and confirmed indeed he wa right behind us. 20 seconds later I asked if his light (One big red round top bubble-gum light in those days) was on. She told me she wasn't looking again and that's about when we heard the siren go WHOOP!!  Yep, it was on.

My dad had a big Dodge panel van he used to deliver Antique furniture from a shop he ran for many years and I also learned in that.  And our family car was a 1971 Buick Electra Estate Wagon.  A land barge if there ever was one. I always sat in the third seat all the way back on vacations so Dad couldn't reach back there to swack at me when he got annoyed at whatever parent mind peace destroying annoyance my siblings and I were instigating on long trips to Georgia from Louisiana in the summers of my kid-hood. Dad was from La. mom was from GA. and he'd promised her he'd bring her back each year so away we'd go. But I also learned to drive in that monster that you could play football on the hood. And I took my driver's test in that thing too. Parallel parking in on a supremely crowded main street. Stopping UNDER a red light because I miscalculated the braking time to stop properly, so under the light was where I stopped so as to not throw the examiner through the windshield. AND when I got stopped I actually had to lean forward & put my chin on the wheel to look UP through that blue thing across the top of the W/S to be able tosee when the light changed.  I shot a sideways glance at the exam guy and told myself I'm sunk. I destroyed this. And I wanted that license because I had a job waiting at the local AM-FM radio station if I could get that license. We returned to the State Police office and he got out and went in without a word. I went in and sat down and awaited my fate. He came to me with a grim look on his face: I passed. SO at 14 I got my first DL. (It's 16 now but they were very lenient in those days. You could get a DL at 14. You know, to help out on the farm.  I went to the radio station! In 76 I got my first car, a second hand 71 Buick LeSabre 4dr 350 2bbl.  A TANK. But it released the station wagon back to my mom because she and i had to trade it back and forth for different purposes.

Back in my early days when you get new licenses the people at the DMV were supposed to destroy your old one. In those days before instant picture licenses they could hand you right then, your photo license came in the mail about two weeks after you went in for a renewal or whatever. But they'd chop off the pic part and staple to your new temp lic to use till you got the new one in the mail. I saved each one of those chop jobs and later when I became a Deputy Sheriff the nice ladies at the DMV stopped chopping them up and just let me keep them. SO I have them all ever since 1974 in my photo album. You can watch me grow up get old and less hairy every few years. This one is my first renewal in 1977 after the original I was issued in 74 at 14.. The pic you see is off of that first license, that's me at 14 YOA.  Boy I WISH I could go back and tell that kid a few things...    Sorry for being long winded, kinda opened up some things I hadn't thought of for a LONG time..

I LOVED the 70's and 80's.   Oh, and here is a pic of the exact car I took that under the red light driving test in.  It had a 455 but I stupidly tried to make it scratch on a dare by rolling backwards and dropping it into drive and stomping it. All it did was SURGE upwards and forward like a perplexed elephant..  I was lucky I didn't rip out the tranny.  If you look closely you can see my 3rd seat redoubt in the very back of that barge!  I wrecked it in early 76, slid off the road in a rainstorm and hit a tree.  put it in the shop 3 mos.  Boy was my dad p- well, you know.  I hated driving that monster.

 

1974 - 1977 - DL Driv. Lic.  mdfm.jpg

71 Buick Estate Wagon (2).jpg

Edited by DEL
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The Drivers Ed car at my high school was a an '81 Chevy Citation( donated by a local dealer and fittede with a passenger side brake pedal). That got me my license.Dad then taught me to drive stick on a Volkswagen Bus , then later taught me to drive fast on a fiat 124 . 

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I learned how to drive @ 11 yrs old in 1989 in one of the family Model A's, in this case a '29 Pickup we used around our orange groves and property. I must've put 5000 miles on it while never hitting the street! Took my driver's test in my Dad's '55 Ford Convertible in 1994. 

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I learned to drive in a 1974 Dodge wagon towing a Champ Dirt Car on an open trailer. My father and I worked on the race car at DuQuoin , Illinois that afternoon. It was a 100 mile race in about 105 degree temperature. it was miserable, We stopped at a gas station after leaving the fairgrounds, and my dad climbs in the backseat.I say what are you doing. He tells me go nice and easy, and don't chase the trailer . After about 15 minutes of coaching , he has me set the cruise control , and I go north on 57. He goes to sleep, gets about after three hours of it, and drives from Terre Haute to Indy. That's how I learned to drive.

 

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First time behind the wheel in my early teens was in this '69 Olds Delta 88 with a 455. Dad let me drive it around the empty high school parking lot; first thing I learned was how to brake smoothly without throwing us forward:

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Took driver's ed at Glenbrook South High School; we had a couple Datsun B-210s to learn manual shift (on the Dan Ryan Expressway, no less :wacko:)

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I also recall the school using an ivory '76 Monte Carlo with no vinyl top and a brown '75 or '76 Chevelle sedan.

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I learned to drive a stick in my brothers '68 V-Dub Beetle. You can choose to believe it but this is the truth.

Early in my learning he let me drive it home from South Hills Village Mall. There is a traffic light at the intersection of South Park and Logan road. It is on an uphill. The light was red. I was first in line.

A Rolls Royce pulled up maybe a foot behind me. I looked at my brother and asked "now what"? He said simple. Pull the emergency brake on. It was a lever between the seats. Then he said that when the light changes to ease the clutch out until it starts to engage. Once it does push the release button on the E brake and slowly let it down.

Easy Peasy. Worked like a charm. I did not drift backwards and all was good.

It's a technique I have used since, when needed.

Edited by DPNM
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Learned to drive in grandpa's 1954 Chevy Belair with a Powerglide trans. He would let me move it from the street into the yard to wash it and then let me drive back roads when we went fishing.

I was driving my self to school every day freshman and sophomore years before I had a license. When I got the behind the wheel part of drivers ed I drove a few locks when he had me stop and get in the back and never drove the rest of the class. He said I didn't need the training as he had seen me driving to school every day already and figured if I had not been stopped for it by now I must already be good enough..

Learned to drive a stick shift in a 1950's grain truck when I was around 11-12 years old while working for a local farmer in the summers. He had to block the pedals so I could reach them!

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I learned to drive stick on my fathers old 33 Ford Doodlebug, I could barely reach the pedals. We moved alot of cars around in the junkyard with it and skid more logs than I can count. I learned to drive on the road in my fathers 1966 Ford wrecker (390 4 speed) and his 1977 Ford E350 van. We still have the old Doodlebug and use it all the time.

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10 hours ago, mchook said:

I learned to drive stick on my fathers old 33 Ford Doodlebug, I could barely reach the pedals. We moved alot of cars around in the junkyard with it and skid more logs than I can count. I learned to drive on the road in my fathers 1966 Ford wrecker (390 4 speed) and his 1977 Ford E350 van. We still have the old Doodlebug and use it all the time.

Captured 2010-12-5 00011.jpg

Nice to see old Fords still earning their keep! Is that a load of AA chassis parts on the trailer?

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I mentioned I learned to drive and took my test in an old Cadillac and learned standard shift in my brothers Beetle.

What I REALLY learned to drive in was a 1977 Datsun 280Z that was set up for autocross. This car would corner. I could chew up and spit out big block American cars in the twisties. If there were long straight a-ways I was at a disadvantage but I'd usually catch them in the next set of corners.

The car was a hoot to drive.

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10 hours ago, RSchnell said:

Nice to see old Fords still earning their keep! Is that a load of AA chassis parts on the trailer?

Yup, most of it has been turned back into running and useable machines.

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1 hour ago, mchook said:

Yup, most of it has been turned back into running and useable machines.

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Nice! If I ever get a place with some acreage, an AA would be the "farm truck". I've got a soft spot for stock Model A's, between my dad & my grandfather we had a bunch of them.

 

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