My first car was a bright yellow Chrysler Newport. I always thought it was a 1960, but when I pull up pictures, I think it was more a ’63 or so. It looked a lot like this:
Only instead of costing $2,964, it was $100. It was the car of a friend of my grandfather’s. I can’t remember her name now, but she was so very nice and wanted me to have her old car. So this Chrysler Newport sat in my driveway for almost a year before I got my driver’s license in 1983.
Although these days this would be a classic car and a cool status symbol, at the time, it was just a big, yellow, very old car. My friends called it, “The Banana” due to its length and color. It comfortably seated 8. No seat belts, of course. We would pile in and pile out. AM radio only, so I hung a tape player on the ash tray. No air conditioning, so the windows were always rolled down (hand-cranked, of course). The trunk was massive and frequently featured the worldly belongings of a teenager or two who’d run away from home (they knew I had the room…).
It was made of solid steel and had no working meter to tell me when gas was running low. So I had to fill it up (10 gallon tank) and then could only go 100 miles before it would konk out on me. That’s 10 miles to the gallon. 10.
Summer nights, when there was no school and we were out too late to go home, we’d sometimes just sleep in the car (comfortably slept four). We’d put the White Album or the Alarm on my clunky tape player and zonk out until the Creamery opened and we could go in for coffee and usually nothing else- I’m sure that thrilled the waitresses.
The Banana brought me so much joy and fun and freedom. I have wonderful memories of that big yellow boat car. Which is a good thing, as I don’t think there are any pictures of it, either.