'67 Volkswagen Beetle
My first car came as a complete surprise. I was in my senior year when I got off the school bus and found a brand new 1967 Volkswagen Beetle in my driveway. It was wrapped in a ribbon with a big bow and was all mine. My dad, who lived in New Jersey, sent the money for my mom to buy it. The bug — with a 1,493 cc 4 cylinders and 53 horsepower — was standard with only an AM radio as an extra, and cost $1,500. I learned later that my father had intended to give me a car with a moon roof — $150 extra. But my mother pocketed the $150, so I had a hard top. But I didn't care; I had my own car. The paint was Arabian Beige with matching tan vinyl interior upholstery with a four on the floor. I had to lift the hood to reach the gas cap to fill the 10-gallon gas tank. (Those 10 gallons would last almost 350 miles until the next fill up.) I could now drive to school and pick up girls for dates. I had a good job at a small hamburger stand, earning $1 an hour and could afford the 25 cents a gallon for gas. I bought and installed a Kraco FM converter for the radio so I could pick up more stations. Sometimes, to look cool, I would jack up the car and reverse the rear wheels so they would stick out past the fenders. I'd pull up to a hot car at a stoplight and dare the driver to drag. "What have you got?" he'd ask and I'd reply, "53 horsepower." No one ever took me up on the dare. I kept the car until 1972 when I was married with a child and needed something larger. I wish I still had that Beetle. A rebuilt one in perfect condition today would cost more than $13,000.