Cars I've Owned

The topic came up on Facebook when I friend asked, "What haven't you owned?" So I thought I'd try to put together a list of cars I've owned. This is that list.

You’ll notice some of the cars have an asterisk (*) after them. These were cars owned jointly with my ex. She drove them sometimes and so did I.

I've added photos but most are not the exact cars I've owned. I regret that I didn't take pictures of all my cars. The cars are listed by their year from oldest to newest.

1937 Ford Deluxe 4-door – I bought this from a co-worker at Moriarty Bros., Gilbert Fortunato, probably around 1967. I can’t remember how much I paid for it. I lived on Avery Shores, Coventry then. I got it running and we drove it on the association road because it wasn’t registered. After I was drafted my mom, with my permission, sold it.

1949 Chevrolet Fleetline 4-door – My first car. I bought this before I turned 16 from a guy that rented a garage from the Rankin’s on Wall St., Coventry. The garage was off Monument Hill Road. It had a cracked block but it ran (until it overheat, then you had to wait for it to cool off). I don’t remember what became of it.

1949 Chevrolet panel truck – Bought this in Ottawa, Ontario, sometime in ‘71. The engine was in pieces. I put it together but couldn’t afford any machine work. It smoked terribly and often had to be pushed to start.

1953 Ford Crestline Sunliner convertible – No idea where I got this or why. The top was all torn up, it barely ran. Flathead V8 with automatic. Lived on Wall St. It may have been my second car.

1956 Ford 4-door wagon – A friend brought this back from Colorado for me, must have been around ’75. I’d asked for a ’57 2-door wagon but got this. It had no engine when I got it. I put in a 390 GT engine and C6. Had it painted, upholstered the door panels. Took it to Connecticut during one of the gas shortages (that was fun, looking for gas stations on the way down) where my mom sold it.

1956 Ford 2-door sedan – This looked like a black & white cop car but I don’t think it was. It originally had a 292 and 3-speed manual. I intended to install a 390 police engine (solid lifters) and four speed but that’s another story (see 1961 Ford). Ended up installing a junkyard 332 (first FE) with a 4-speed. It could have been a really nice car if I’d ever finished it. Did have some fun times with it.

1957 Ford 4-door wagon – I bought this from some guy on the western uphill part of Twin Hills (Rte 44), Coventry. It was just transportation – 292 w/automatic. Don’t remember much about it except I was working at Sloane’s (sp?) Garage, Rte 83, Vernon.

1957 Ford 2-door sedan – I know I was in high school when I bought this. Another 292 auto. I remember my uncle insulted it twice on the same day; first saying it looked like an accident waiting to happen, and then telling me I should jack up the radiator cap and drive a new car under it. I bent the center link driving through a snow pile on Brigham Rd., Coventry. I think Sanborn’s fixed it.

1959 Ford Galaxie convertible – Bought this from a sleazy used car lot in Willimantic, near where the old Burger Chef was. It looked good. That’s about all I can say. First engine I tried to take apart. Can’t remember why but it never went back together.

1961 Ford Falcon 4-door wagon – Bought this as transportation in ’67. Two events stand out for this car – sliding down an icy Buena Vista Rd. onto Main St. (Rte 32), and getting pulled over in Tolland with 3 cases of beer (lost my license for 3 months).

1961 Ford Sunliner convertible – Bought this from a used car lot on Rte 83, Vernon while I worked for Sloane’s. Really wanted a ’61 Vette with 2 four barrels. Got the Ford instead – 390, 3-speed stick. Never wanted to start in the cold.

1961 Ford Galaxie 4-door sedan – Bought this before I was drafted in early ‘69; it was a trade-in at Moriarty’s. It smoked the worst I’ve ever seen. Driving from my house in Coventry to Moriarty’s, a distance of about 12 miles, it used one quart of oil. Later when I worked for Carl Shelto pulled the heads and found a huge gouge in one cylinder. I believe a piston pin had come loose.

1961 Ford 2-door sedan (cop car) – Bought this from a postal worker from Wethersfield, CT. It was pretty tired but I really only wanted the engine, a solid lifter 390. I was going put the engine in a ’56 Ford I owned (see above) but before I was ready to do the swap a friend wanted to borrow it and put it in a nice ’57 Ford he had. We worked long into an early November night putting the engine it and finally got it started. We needed to finish off some little things and left it for the morning. It got cold that night and the block split. Very sad.

1962 Ford 2-door sedan (cop car) – There was a time when Connecticut State Police cars where the thing to have. They were often 2-door Fords like this. Bigger brakes, bigger exhaust, special springs and sway bars. This one had bucket seats. I believe the engine was a solid lifter 390 with cross-bolted mains but I’ve been told there was no such engine. I know it had cross-bolted mains. It was a 3-speed manual. I bought when I worked for Pelletier I think.

1962 Mini – In the running for the worst car I ever owned, definitely not a winter car. I was in Ottawa when I bought it so maybe ’70? The distributor was always getting wet. Then the darn floor rusted. It had the stupid hydrolastic suspension and it leaked. Piece of crap.

1962 Ford Ranchero – Bought this from a kid that worked at a hot rod magazine in maybe 2007-08. It had been converted to a ’63 spec V8 – 260 V8, 3-speed manual, five-bolt wheels and 8”rear end. The engine overheated almost immediately after being started. After months of trying this and that, and replacing every part of the cooling system I found that cam gear pin had broken and the cam timing was the problem. I fixed that and it never overheated. Ended up selling it for peanuts when I had to leave my Pacifica house in 2010.

1963 Mercury Breezeway 4-door sedan – I bought this in ’72 when I worked at Woolco (a department store in Canada) from my district manager. It was originally from Manitoba. It is the only reverse slant window Merc I’ve ever seen with a single piece, non-retractable, rear window. 352 auto. Ran like a champ. Gave it to my brother but he couldn’t get it registered in Illinois so he sold it.

1963 Volkswagen Beetle – Bought in Ottawa. My first VW. Drove it all over Ontario and Quebec for about six months until the body collapsed from rust and cut the accelerator cable coming back from a Can-Am race at Mont Tremblant. Sold the engine to some kid from the US whose van broke down in Ottawa.

1964 Dodge 4-door sedan – Must have bought this mid-‘70s when I worked for Ken Coppin’s Gulf, Pickering, Ontario. Plain Jane sedan with a 225 slant six and push-button auto.

This is the actual Ranchero I own. The pic was taken as it was coming home.

1964 Ford Ranchero – My current project car. It feels like an eternal project car but I swear I’m going to finish it soon (soon is relative). It was a 260 V8 auto car but now has an ’85 302 with an AOD.

1964 ½ Mustang coupe – What should have been my masterpiece but it was unfinished. It was a 289 automatic when I bought it. I installed a semi-hot 5.0 (mild cam), 4-barrel, headers, 4-speed, 9” diff, front disc brakes, HD suspension, big front bar, rear bar. And then things started going sour at home, money was tight and I sold it.

1965 Ford 4-door sedan – Bought this from a tow yard in San Bruno, CA early 2000s. Strange car. 352 4-barrel engine (kind of rare). Eventually sold it to some guy who ran it in some dumb rally. It was pretty rusty by then (that’s life in Pacifica, CA).

1965 Mustang coupe – Bought this in ’68 from a used car lot in Manchester, CT. Traded my ’67 Fairlane GT for it and they paid off the Fairlane’s loan. I loved/hated this car. It had a solid lifter 289 with Tri-Power, headers, Mallory dual point ignition, and a 3-speed stick. I later put in a top loader 4-speed that I had when I was at Carl Shelto’s shop. The two end carbs would always stick closed, the Mallory distributor cap was prone to cracking when the air cleaner got wet and drip on the distributor, and the headers eventually rusted through. Oh yeah the diff was a 9” inch that someone had put together with no fill hole! Drove it to Canada when I left CT. Then sent it back home for my mom to sell.

1965 Ford Ranchero – My first Ranchero. Got it for back DMV fees from a shop in San Francisco that had a lien on it. 289 with a 4-speed. It really was a piece of junk, rusty as all get out and I think a
junkyard car. The transmission was the “paper” 4-speed used with 1st gen Mustang 6-cylinders (I think it was borrowed from England). I owned it for about 5 years though and it ran decently. Think I got it in the late ‘90s.

This is the Falcon Sprint I owned in Vegas.

1965 Falcon Sprint - Bought this when we lived in Vegas. Never finished it. Sold it to some guy in the mid-west.

1967 Ford Fairlane GT – The love of my life. If only I had been smart enough to properly take care of it. 390 w/4-speed. It was quick, fast, and comfortable. I almost burned the darn thing to the ground when I decided to disconnect the factory tach (a dinky thing on the top of the dash) with a real Stewart Warner steering column tach. Cutting the wires to the factory tach killed the car and I guess twisting them back together created too much resistance. Burned up the whole under dash harness. But damn it was fun while it lasted. Turned a 14.6 at 96.6 mph at Connecticut Dragway.

1969 Ford Ranchero – I think I bought this in around 2007. It wasn’t running but the body was solid. It was a 302 automatic (C4). The shift linkage inside the steering column was seized. I got the engine running but after owning it for about six months decided to move on.

1971 Toyota Sprinter* - Bought this used in ’72 in Toronto. Kept it for about four years. I think I replaced the head gasket 4 times, each time having the head milled; in the end it needed premium fuel. Fond memories of street racing cars with bigger engines – the Sprinter had a 1200cc slant four.

1971 Ford Ranchero – I owned this for about 5 years. Here’s a clue – never buy an already rusty car when you live within a quarter-mile of the ocean. It came with a 351 C and 3-speed automatic (clunk-o-matic). I bought a low mile 351 C 4V and C6 and swapped it in. Ran well but the rust, oh the rust.

1972 Plymouth Duster – Bought this from some guy in Santa Clara, CA in ’84. Plain Jane 2-door hardtop with slant 6 and auto trans. Drove it home to Toronto in January ’85. Very reliable car. Finally sold it soon after going to work for Honda Canada.

1972 Ford Ranchero – Bought this for $1300 from a guy in Belmont, CA in about 2005. 351C with automatic. Cracked a cylinder head and I was planning on installing the 351C 4V from the ’71 Ranchero when finances forced me to sell off everything except my ’87 Toyota truck (below).

1972 Volkswagen Beetle – Can’t remember when I bought this except it was late ‘70s. Used it for a commuter for about a year.

1973 Toyota Corolla* - Didn’t have this very long. It was bought used in late ’73. 1.6-liter w/4-speed manual. It was rear-ended after about 3 months. Fought with the insurance company for another 3 months before they finally totaled it (it was 3 feet shorter).

1973 Dodge Dart 4-sedan* – Shortly after moving to CA in 1991 we needed a second car. College student in San Francisco was selling this for $400 because he thought it had a rod knock. It was a 318 automatic. Gladly gave him the money, drove it home and replaced the exhaust manifold gaskets. Drove it for about 3 years. Sold it for about $800 to a kid from Oakland. About 3 months after selling it I got a call from police telling me that it was in impound (the kid never transferred the ownership) and I could have it back for fees. Problem was it was full of bullet holes!

1974 Toyota Corolla SR5* - Another great love. Many people looked down on the SR5 as not a real sports sedan. It handled fine, was peppy, and the most reliable car. Rust was the enemy (you folks back east understand). I replaced the front fenders with fiberglass versions and before passing it on to my brother I’d welded patches onto patches. With over 200,000 miles it still had two original tires and the original rear brakes.

1974 Volvo 142 – My mom’s car. 4-speed with o’drive. Drove it for about four years during the late ‘70s, early ‘80s.

1976 Toyota SR5 pickup – Bought it brand new and kept it for about 5 years. Rust again was the enemy.

1980 Honda Accord hatchback* - Bought new. I remember picking it up at the dealer during a raging snowstorm. Drove it until 1988 when I went to work for Honda Canada.

1985 Toyota Corolla GT-S* - After I sold the ’73 Dart we needed another car. Picked up this for a song. It needed a timing belt and some other little stuff. 

1987 Toyota Celica ST – Bought this from some guy in San Francisco when I needed a daily driver, probably around 2005. Sold it for about what I bought it for in 2009.

This is my '87 pickup.

1987 Toyota pickup – Bought it from a girl in San Francisco for $900; it had a burnt valve. I put in a new valve, lapped in the others, did the timing chain, guides, and tensioner and had it until 2014. My brother used it as his work truck for a few years. Hated to see it go but it was getting a bit ragged. Had about 250,000 on it.

1989 Ford Mustang 5.0 – Bought new in Ontario. About $16,000 Canadian. Drove it to California when I moved here in December 1990. Finally sold it around 1999 with over 160,000 kilometers on it.

1995 Chevrolet Lumina – My current driver. Bought it when I sold my ’87 Toyota pickup. Looks terrible (typical clear coat peeling), the interior is seriously sun damaged, but the 3.1-liter V6 runs like a top. Almost 80,000 miles on it now. Has power windows and working a/c!

2002 Ford Focus – Not really my car but it’s in the driveway. Nadine bought it new. It has just over 100,000 on it now.

I think that’s it. You’ll notice some of the cars have an asterisk (*) after them. These were cars owned jointly with my ex. She drove them sometimes and so did I.


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