Most everyone remembers their first car. Let me rephrase that. Most ‘guys’ remember their first car.
I’m not trying to be sexist, it’s just the plain truth. Remembering their first car to a young man is akin to a girl recalling her first kiss.
My first automobile was a 1961 2-door Mercury Comet. I believe it was the ugliest car I ever laid eyes on. On reruns of The Andy Griffith Show, there’s one just like it. The Mercury is often parked in front of the police station.
I didn’t have a choice in model selection because my ’61 was a hand-me-down from my brother. Jim gave me the ‘good brother deal’. $300.00 spread out over several months with zero interest. I was 16 at the time.
The Comet was blue with stylistic swept back fins. I suppose the fins were for stability at speed, although the Mercury would only go 73 and that was downhill. My brother named the car “Comet Cleanser”. I’ll tell you how this came to be in a second.
Jim and I purchased transportation vehicles with our own funds. We owned motorcycles before cars ever entered the picture. Unlike some parents, dad or mom never came to our rescue.
We were labor intensive in creating income. The usual mowing and raking yards, delivering morning and evening newspapers, plus a short lived foray into the car wash business. Our car washing gig turned out to be an absolute nightmare.
A neighbor approached our father about ‘the boys’ washing his rig. What the man didn’t tell dad was his car sat under a tree, and now had sap now all over it. We eagerly took the job quickly finding soap and water wouldn’t touch the goo. I can’t remember if Jim came up with the brilliant idea or me. As Hillary Clinton would say,
“At this point does it really matter?”
One of us decided Comet sink cleaner would take the sticky stuff off. To make a long story short the abrasive totally destroyed the paint.
When the owner came home from work he was not happy. We tried waxing the Ford and that helped some. The angry man initially thought about making us pay for a paint job, but thankfully didn’t follow through. That was our first and last foray into the commercial car wash business.
Whenever I drift back to the ‘good ole days’ I start wondering if “Comet Cleanser” is still around. Could she have survived the crusher?
If you’re wondering if I’d like to find and buy her back; think again.
I truly believe that was the ugliest car I ever lay eyes on!