The History of Me: Wheels

Coming up to the big four-oh next month. In these years, I’ve seen many wheel’d technology come and go and even had some of it. This should be a lot of fun.

My first set of wheels was, as you can imagine, an honest to goodness tricycle. I remember it was red and on it, I was practically unbeatable. My first two-wheeled experience came at the back of Mom’s bike in the shape of a seat attached to the back somehow. And, since this was the very early 70’s, there were no such things as protective anything, which eventually led to my foot getting shredded in the spokes of Mom’s bike. I had to revert to crawling for about 2 weeks after that. Not sure if it was worth it.

Moving on, my next set of wheels was my very first 2 wheeler. No training wheels either bitch! I went straight to it. It too was red and bought for me by my grandfather. By far the greatest day my 5 year old life had experienced to that date. It wasn’t long until I was jumping the speed bumps at the apartment complex we lived and and even doing ‘pop-a-wheelies’.

Then it was stolen.

I was heartbroken. Grandpa to the rescue with another. Schwinn Stingray with a banana seat and super tall bars. This one was bright yellow and it served me well until I sold it when I was 12 or 13. I had MX bars on it at one point, even crazy knobby tires. Back in the day, that bike was the shit.

Sometime after that I got my first skate board. Wooden deck that might have been 12″ long. I remember there were trucks, but they were super narrow. And the wheels were made of clay with real live ball bearings in them! No foolin’. It was replaced with a kick ass Bonzai board complete with Independant trucks and crappy, flea-market wheels. Boy it was fast.

Eventually I outgrew the StingRay. It was replaced one glorious Christmas morning when I was 13 with a brand new Mongoose BMX bike! Oh man oh man oh man! Talk about rad, that bike was it! It looked pretty close to the one I have put here when I got it, but I went a bit mod crazy with it, changing everything except the frame to turn it into a proper BMX Racer. This bike won me many trophies that I still have in a box up in the garage. It was later replaced with a GT that had a longer frame and some better parts. I raced that until I lost interest in racing, mostly due to my getting a car.

(this goes long, so more after the jump)

The cars

Most of you already know my first car. It was a 1965 Chevrolet El Camino. When I got it is was icebox white, had a little camper shell on the back and an 8-track player in the dash. Under the hood was a great running 327 with matching intake and carb, plus glass packs out back to give it that proper hot rod sound. Spent all my money on gas and water pumps in this thing until I got into my first accident. That got me new paint (Cadillac Metallic Grey), new interior (grey velour tuck and roll on the seat, new carpet and I repainted the dash and headliner) and a new stereo (finally upgraded to a cassette deck!). I love that car. Sadly, I was in another accident and it was totalled. I still have the key and have the license plate number memorized.

From that I moved into a red Austin Healy Sprite. No, not a bugeye sadly, but a Mark IV. Removable top and I was living in San Diego. Sweet ride.

While this was going on, I also owned a Schwinn Beach Cruiser that was practically brand new and a ’49 Schwinn Cruiser (with Bendex 3 speed) that I was in the process of restoring. Both of them were stolen, including the ’49 which was completely dissassembled. They took all of the parts. Fuckers.

After the Austin, things happened fast. A ’62 Nova that turned out to be less than reliable which was replaced by an ’85 Chevy Sprint that was great until it blew a head gasket. After that, I bought a refurbished ’87 Chevy S-10 Long Bead pickup from Dad.

2.3l V-6 and 4 Speed manual transmission. It was a torque-y little guy and ran forever. The speedo cable broke at 150K miles, but I did the math and I put close to 500K on that truck and only had to replace the power steering pump. By far, the best vehicle I have ever owned. If it weren’t for the fact that it didn’t have A/C, I’m sure it would still be in my driveway again.

During the truck, I also owned an ’82 Corolla and a ’79 BMW 735i that I had to spend 2 days on cleaning the interior. Both of those were very short lived.

After the S-10, I went with the newer, GMC model. Too bad it had that crappy 4 banger that self destructed at 120K miles. That begat the Rat Mobile (’99 Mitsubishi Mirage) that the lad’s mom ended up driving, so I swithed into a ’79 Corolla Wagon. That was sweet and I spent a pile of money getting it running well and putting tires on it. The next day, in the rain without Anti-lock breaks, I put it into the back of Lincoln.

That put me into the MINI. Of course, you can read all about that at

BTW, I accept iTunes credit or Amazon gift cards 😉

Next week I think I will cover technology. That one will be a hoot and surely make jSchwa and Chans drool with delight.

Published by Don

Lead bottle washer at, host at and tech guru for the MotoringFile family of sites.

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