'53 Ford Convertible
I bought my first car at age 17 for $350 in 1960 with money I made working summers as a lifeguard. It was a 1953 Ford flathead V-8 convertible. First week I had it, I blew the motor from lack of oil. I decided I wanted to learn to fix it myself, so, with a mentor and an old swing set, I pulled the engine out in my driveway and sent it to a speed shop to have it reworked. I put it back in the car, but it wouldn't start. Turns out I had put the rod caps on wrong. I put the right caps back on, and the engine cranked right up. I painted it gold, and shaved the chrome off the hood, trunk and door handles. I installed a '53 Chevy grille for looks. I have fond memories of my first car and my start as a lifelong "shade-tree mechanic."