My First Car: '57 Packard Hawk, the Rev. Norm Hatter, 67, Clearwater

'57 Packard Hawk

My first car was a black 1957 Packard Hawk. Having just returned from the Philippine Islands, where I finished out my four-year tour of duty in the U.S. Air Force in 1964, I was home in Flint, Mich. While waiting there for my fall term to begin at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, my father advised me that a friend of his (a retired policeman) had a car he was willing to sell at a reasonable price. Although it was 7 years old and affected by some rust-through in several small spots (road salt during Michigan winters played havoc with cars in the '50s), it was love at first sight and I purchased my chariot. When college began in September, that car enabled me to be a little big man on campus as I tooled from venue to venue. Parking was an issue since freshmen had to live in the dormitory with no parking privileges. Later that year, when I met my eventual bride, Phyllis (second picture and another example of love at first sight), the rust holes presented a minor problem. Not wanting to be seen as the driver of a rust bucket, I carefully cleaned my car and covered the small holes with masking tape. After this makeshift repair was painted with glossy black spray paint, it looked great (especially from a distance). Surprisingly, that temporary repair stood up for many months. This was our main mode of transportation during the first year of marriage in 1965, but eventually met its demise due to mechanical failure. However, there have been times when we wished we had kept that old Hawk throughout our 44 years of marriage.

Tell us your story

Do you have an interesting story about your first car? We're looking for more submissions. So dust off the photo albums and send us your tale. Here's what we need:

• Your name.

• City where you live.

• Age (with your date of birth).

• Year, make and model of the car.

• A description of the car.

• A high-resolution photo or a scanned image. (The photo must be of the actual car you owned, not a car that looks like yours on a website.)

• Send these to drive@

tampabay.com.

My First Car: '57 Packard Hawk, the Rev. Norm Hatter, 67, Clearwater 06/28/10 [Last modified: Monday, June 28, 2010 7:23pm]

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