You might have loved your first car, but would you keep it 80 years?

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You might have loved your first car, but would you keep it 80 years?

We all remember our first car, we even may still have it, but how many still drive the same car they bought nearly 80 years ago?

Mr. Curtiss, 84, of Shelton, owns a 1929 Ford Model A; it has 200,000 miles on it and still runs. He was 15 in 1938 when he bought the car, which sold for $400 when new, from a Derby man for $10. It was during the Depression.

... Quote:
He was out of work, and he was hungry. I drove it for a year with no license, and the day I turned 16, I got my license with this car.
Mr. Curtiss said.

Mr. Curtiss has made one major upgrade, installing a Hudson Terraplane engine in 1940, because, he said, “I raced kids home from high school with it, but there were a couple of cars I couldn’t beat.” That allowed it to go more than 80 miles an hour, compared with 55 m.p.h for a standard Model A. “Then I could beat them all,” he said.

Part of the car’s allure is that it has never been restored. There is a hole in one of the floorboards, cotton is coming out of the seats and some of the paint is wearing off. Mr. Curtiss has kits to restore it, but he can’t bring himself to use them. “People just love seeing it the way it is,” he said.

Mr. Curtiss also has a strong emotional attachment to the car. He met his wife, Dorothy, shortly after he bought it, when he was 17 and she was 14; they had been married 56 years when she died in 1998.

The initials they carved on the steering wheel as teenagers can still be seen.
... Quote:
She was the first and only girl I ever kissed in the car. It’s priceless because of that, as far as I’m concerned. People say, ‘You’re probably glad that car can’t talk.
he added.

Mr. Curtiss takes his Model A to 12 to 14 car shows a year. Signs on the doors proclaim it as his first car, and the handwritten story behind it is taped to a side window. It has won 14 trophies.

“It’s always the worst-looking car at every car show, but it always wins trophies because of the story behind it,” he said.

Mr. Curtiss said the car was not worth much because of its condition, and he planned to leave it to his family. “I’d love to keep on with the tradition of driving the car,” said his great-grandson, Mike Zenisky, 16, of Shelton. “It’s kind of a symbol of the love my great-grandfather and great-grandmother had for each other.”

The Model A is one of about 25 cars that Mr. Curtiss owns, including a 1907 Sears Auto Buggy, a 1937 Rolls-Royce, a 1949 Cadillac and a 1975 Sebring-Vanguard electric car that he still drives around town. But it’s the Model A, which carries memories of that first kiss and won all those high school races, that tugs at his heart.

1927-ModelA.jpg - 67.72kb
By netchicken: posted on 23-8-2007

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