84 Years Old and Still Driving His First Car - Jeep Wrangler Forum
Jeep Wrangler Forum

Go Back   Jeep Wrangler Forum > General Discussion Forums > Off-Topic

Join Wrangler Forum Today


Reply
 
Thread Tools

Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about them on WranglerForum.com
Old 08-23-2007, 04:17 PM   #1
Jeeper
 
lost's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: ɹǝʌo dılɟ Miami,FL
Posts: 2,167
84 Years Old and Still Driving His First Car

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/19/ny...in&oref=slogin



TO keep a car running for many years, change the oil every 3,000 miles, says Clarence Cleveland Curtiss. His advice is not new, especially for anybody who owns a 1990 Buick, a 1980 Chevy or even a 1964 Volkswagen.
But Mr. Curtiss, 84, of Shelton, has followed the advice with the first car he ever owned, a 1929 Ford Model A; it has 200,000 miles on it and still runs.
Mr. Curtiss said he was 15 in 1938 when he bought the car, which sold for $400 when new, from a Derby man for $10. It was during the Depression.
“He was out of work, and he was hungry,” Mr. Curtiss said. “I drove it for a year with no license, and the day I turned 16, I got my license with this car.”
Mr. Curtiss has made one major upgrade, installing a Hudson Terraplane engine in 1940, because, he said, “I raced kids home from high school with it, but there were a couple of cars I couldn’t beat.” That allowed it to go more than 80 miles an hour, compared with 55 m.p.h for a standard Model A. “Then I could beat them all,” he said.
Part of the car’s allure is that it has never been restored. There is a hole in one of the floorboards, cotton is coming out of the seats and some of the paint is wearing off. Mr. Curtiss has kits to restore it, but he can’t bring himself to use them. “People just love seeing it the way it is,” he said.
Mr. Curtiss also has a strong emotional attachment to the car. He met his wife, Dorothy, shortly after he bought it, when he was 17 and she was 14; they had been married 56 years when she died in 1998. The initials they carved on the steering wheel as teenagers can still be seen. “She was the first and only girl I ever kissed in the car,” he said. “It’s priceless because of that, as far as I’m concerned.”
“People say, ‘You’re probably glad that car can’t talk,’ ” he added.
Mr. Curtiss and Dorothy drove to the New York World’s Fair in Queens in 1940, and he drove to six Army camps from Massachusetts to Georgia when he served during World War II.
The Ford Motor Company made slightly more than five million Model A’s from 1928 through 1931. Chuck E. Christensen, 68, technical director of the Model A Ford Club of America, a collectors’ club based in La Habra, Calif., said there were an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 of those cars left. He said longtime owners like Mr. Curtiss were rare. “In most cases, the cars have been passed around many times over the years,” he said.
Bob Casey, curator of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich., said the Model A had a better transmission and braking system and a sleeker design than its predecessor, the Model T. “The style of the Model A was very much similar to the Lincolns of the era,” he said. “The styling was overseen by Henry Ford’s son, Edsel, and he had a much better eye for the appearance of cars than his father did.”
Mr. Curtiss, who in the 1970s sold the Shelton car dealership that still bears his name, Curtiss-Ryan Honda, takes his Model A to 12 to 14 car shows a year. Signs on the doors proclaim it as his first car, and the handwritten story behind it is taped to a side window. It has won 14 trophies.
“It’s always the worst-looking car at every car show, but it always wins trophies because of the story behind it,” he said.
Mr. Curtiss said the car was not worth much because of its condition, and he planned to leave it to his family. “I’d love to keep on with the tradition of driving the car,” said his great-grandson, Mike Zenisky, 16, of Shelton. “It’s kind of a symbol of the love my great-grandfather and great-grandmother had for each other.”
The Model A is one of about 25 cars that Mr. Curtiss owns, including a 1907 Sears Auto Buggy, a 1937 Rolls-Royce, a 1949 Cadillac and a 1975 Sebring-Vanguard electric car that he still drives around town. But it’s the Model A, which carries memories of that first kiss and won all those high school races, that tugs at his heart.
“I had the first hot rod in Connecticut, as far as I know,” he said.

__________________
74'cj5: 360v8, d30, d44, 32"BFG a/t's
73'cj5: 258, d30, d44
00'tj:242
lost is offline   Quote
Old 08-23-2007, 04:38 PM   #2
Hacks off Parts while Lit
 
whitebuffalo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: The Sandhills of South Texas
Posts: 2,290
thats awesome.....i wish i still had my first car

__________________
'90 YJ, ford 8.8, SOA, lincoln front, aussie rear, 4.88s, swampers.
whitebuffalo is offline   Quote
Old 08-23-2007, 04:50 PM   #3
I luv bourbonz!
 
02Prove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Bartlett, TN
Posts: 3,089
Too cool. I hope his family keeps the tradition going.
__________________
"So long as the presence of death lurks with anyone who goes through the simple act of swallowing, I will make mine whiskey."
W. C. Fields
02Prove is offline   Quote
Old 08-23-2007, 05:57 PM   #4
Jeeper
 
RatherBNarizona's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Arizona
Posts: 12,284
thats pretty awesome
good stuff
RatherBNarizona is offline   Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 11:22 AM   #5
Jeeper
 
debruins's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Needham Ma, Rangeley ME in the summer
Posts: 5,578
Send a message via AIM to debruins
gone 84 years and only 200,000 miles??? what'd he do walk everywhere??
my parents put 15K a year on our cars!
debruins is offline   Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Download our Mobile App

» Network Links
»Jeep Parts
» Featured Product

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:49 PM.



Jeep®, Wrangler, Liberty, Wagoneer, Cherokee, and Grand Cherokee are copyrighted and trademarked to Chrysler Motors LLC.
Wranglerforum.com is not in any way associated with the Chrysler Motors LLC