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My first car: a ‘42 Ford club coupe

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Do you remember your first car? Of course you do, if you’re like most every man or woman.

But, do you remember the make and model and how much it cost? Most folks do, and even the rate of interest you paid, too. I am guessing you financed it like most folks did.

I was interested in buying a club coupe (for some reason they interested me more than a sedan, which looked like they were meant for old people). I liked the layout of the club coupe because I actually admired the coupes, but I thought it best to have a rear seat just in case I was on a double date and needed another seat.

I had a ‘46 Cushman motor scooter for a couple of years from ‘47 and ‘48 and after my mother and I moved to Pitman, New Jersey when I was in the seventh grade at New Sharon. I transferred to Hurfville’s seventh grade (about five miles distant) and surrounding area.

That area caused kids attendance either at Pitman (about one mile distant) but out of the school district from my home in East Pitman called Dilkesboro, or an alternative was to attend Glassboro (about three miles distant) and ride a school bus where I found most of the students were from Glassboro.

I was riding a bicycle at that time delivering a small daily newspaper sometimes riding a couple of miles to deliver one paper and return to make one cent. Luckily, I soon acquired the delivery of another daily to help my income.

I hit the age of 17, required for auto driver’s license in New Jersey just like North Carolina (unless you lived on a farm and got a farm license at age 16). After I left my job as a soda jerk in Pitman at Pownell and Lodge, graduated from Glassboro High, and began work at the Pennsylvania Railroad Accounting Office in Philadelphia, I was a strong car buff and read Motor Trend magazine faithfully while riding the commuter Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines trains daily.

After trying to find a reliable old Model A ‘31 Ford for my first car after saving up $200-plus dollars in my glass globe reading (saving for my car) since I was the age of 12, and not finding any, I gave up and settled on the motor scooter for two years.

It served me and my close friend, Harrie, who rode with me on the back of the seat for two years until my next door neighbor, Lydia, saw a ‘42 Ford club coupe on sale at Ace Motor Sales (the close-by Woodbury Ford dealer).

I was really looking closely for a car after now riding that cold scooter almost every night in the winter the five miles between Wenonah where I now lived and Pitman where most of my buddies lived. Oh boy, was it ever cold driving that scooter in winter time! You can bet your boots, it was!

I went to Ace Motors with my neighbor and I decided to buy the ‘42 Ford club coupe for $1,195 after a down payment and financing for the rest.

I wasn’t happy with the rather high purchase price considering that it had about 40,000 miles showing on the odometer. But cars were hard to find at that time following soon after World War II, or if you did find one, the price was high.

Look for next week’s column about what happened when my next door neighbor’s brother, Edwin, learned I had bought a car.

Bob Allen, publisher emeritus of The Wake Weekly, invites comments at 919-556-3059 or