74°F
weather icon Clear

Like songs, cars hold special memories

One of the many attractions in Boulder City are the car shows in the park. These gatherings are terrific for the automobile enthusiast and, frankly, the nonenthusiast, too, with everything on display from muscle cars to European classics.

The other day a friend of mine asked me what my favorite car was. I paused with my answer, since I had so many in mind.

My first car was a 1961 Pontiac Tempest two-door sedan. It was an interesting car mechanically, with an automatic transmission located at the rear axle called a trans axle. The engine was also unusual, a slant four cylinder that was literally fashioned from a V-8 cut in half — weird and unique.

I loved that little car. I had it painted turquoise and refurbished the interior by transplanting the interior from a wreck I found at a junkyard. So was the Tempest my favorite?

During my senior year in high school, my next car was a 1963 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport with the stock 283 V-8 engine. There are a lot of memories with this machine. I replaced the smaller 283 engine with a pepped up 327 that I had built. I drove it down to Tijuana, Mexico, and had a black diamond tuck and roll interior installed. What a beauty.

It had a power glide automatic transmission originally, but I really wanted a manual shift, so out came the power glide, and in went a Saginaw three-speed stick. Back to the junkyard to find a clutch pedal assembly, and another transplant began.

One day I was hot rodding around after school and broke the gears in the rear differential. Oddly, the car would no longer move forward but seemed to run well in reverse. Since I didn’t have enough money to repair it, for the next month or so I drove it to school backwards. My folks thought I was nuts. I was. Could the ’63 be my favorite?

My next car was a muscle machine 1968 Chevrolet Impala SS427 with a four-speed stick, Hurst shifter and factory eight track in the console. This car was rare and magnificent: gray with a black landau top, black bucket seat interior with enough power to tow a house. It was great until a friend of mine borrowed it one night, lost control in the rain and sideswiped another car. It now was damaged goods. Even after it was repaired, my enthusiasm waned and I lost all interest. Favorite? Maybe.

After that I acquired a 1977 GMC Sprint, identical to the Chevy El Camino, part pickup, part car. It was more practical for the work I was doing.

I just loved the two-tone blue and white paint scheme and the lines of that car. I recently found the same vehicle for sale in New York, purchased it and had it shipped out here. You don’t see too many of them on the streets anymore. It definitely would make the favorites list.

Another rare car that I had the pleasure of restoring was a 1965 Sunbeam Tiger Mk1. Originally designed by race car legend Carroll Shelby, the Tiger was basically a British-built Sunbeam Alpine with a Ford 260 V-8 engine providing power.

Painted British racing green with gold and silver wheels, she was very special. Following our wedding ceremony in 1981, my wife and I drove away from the crowd in it, top down with tin cans clanking in tow. It was certainly a memorable moment.

I had to sell it a few years later due to our first child being born. Our medical insurance company at the time had gone belly up, and I had to ante up for the hospital bills. Oh, well.

Just before I was about to list it for sale, I received a phone call from the Tiger Club president’s wife. Her husband, Howie, was recently involved in a fatal rollover accident in another member’s Tiger. In his memory, the family wanted to buy the best-looking Tiger in the club, and ours turned out to be the most loved. She wanted to know if we would sell it. Timing is everything, but certainly it was a bittersweet moment.

Unbelievably, the day before she was going to pick it up, I drove it to work for the last time. I parked out in front of the office so I could keep an eye on it, and, to my disbelief, a woman backed into the side of it, crushing the passenger door. I put off the delivery for a week, had it repaired and then bid it a sad goodbye.

Old cars, like oldies music, can bring back many memories. My favorite? I’m still paused. And don’t get me talking about our love affair with VWs. Don’t miss the next car show in the park. What is your favorite car?

G. Kevin Savord is currently a professional pilot and former small-business owner. He can be reached at gksavord@gmail.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Electric vehicles not really friendly to environment

As somewhat of a gearhead, I am fascinated with the newest technologies relating to electric-powered vehicles, otherwise known as EVs. Tesla is thought to be the leader in these technologies. Still, others, such as Hyundai, Honda, Toyota and Kia, along with the major car manufacturers in the USA, have been making significant strides in developing electric vehicles with outstanding performance.

Pictures of past tell many stories

I know this is an opinion column and what I’ve written here is less of an opinion piece and more of an amusing anecdote. I hope you’ll forgive me for that. It was simply too good not to share and I think it’s a nice, if mundane, example of why Boulder City is such a lovely place to live.

Water conservation efforts to thwart drought delusional

I was entering my junior year at Boulder City High School when Lake Mead reached its top elevation of 1,225 feet in 1983. Water rushed over Hoover Dam’s fully extended spillway gates with such force that even an umbrella didn’t keep us dry from the downpour caused by its rebounding spray. Since then, the lake has dropped 185 feet, including a 170-foot decline over the last 22 years during the worst Colorado River system drought in recorded history.

Guest commentary: Are fair elections possible in digital age?

I am wondering whether or not we should be paying attention to how our elections are being conducted in Nevada as to whether or not our votes are actually counted fairly. I suspect that the voting machines have a lot to do with the situation.

A retreat to push us forward

Succeeding in today’s business climate is not an easy task. It’s even more challenging for women, who have had to overcome decades of inequality in the workplace while juggling traditional roles of keeper of the home and family.

Keep ‘wet blankets’ out of water talks

“Blanket statements” are usually meant to cover wide swaths of a topic. A “wet blanket,” on the other hand, implies stifling everything it touches or, in this context, greatly limiting a topic’s discussion. If this column comes somewhere between one or the other, I’ll consider it a success.

Reparations needed from president’s supporters

What exactly are reparations? The Merriam-Webster definition is: “The act of making amends, offering expiation or giving satisfaction for a wrong, injury, or something done or given as amends.”

Human presence essential for meaningful conversation

For those I speak to in person, I am better able to receive kindness, love and meaning. The consciousness of the soul is available from our hearts. For those who are willing to continue to communicate in person, there can continue to be love flowing from the hearts of each person in any conversation.

Balance between work, school volunteering tough to find

Back-to-school is one of my favorite times of the year. I loved school supply shopping as a kid and now, as a parent, I love taking my kids shopping for their school supplies. Watching my daughter choose from the colorful folders with her supply list in hand is too adorable for words. I genuinely enjoy attending the back-to-school nights, meeting my children’s teachers and learning about their curriculum for the year. But guilt often overshadows that excitement when the teachers try to rope parents into joining the parent-teacher organization.