Roomie reminisces about her first car, a '64 Falcon with three on the tree.
Gun nuts know 1968 as the year gun laws changed dramatically with the introduction of the national Gun Control Act. What they may not know is that '68 was also a turning point in cars, with the government meddling in things automotive, too, with the promulgation of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards from the newly-minted DOT.
I've only owned one car from before that period, a '67 Dodge Coronet. In that pre-FMVSS car, you could remove the ignition key from the dash-mounted switch while you were rolling down the road and chuck it out the window, should the urge strike you to be piloting a two-ton missile with no way to turn it off. The steering wheel did not lock when the car was parked. The steel dash was innocent of the most rudimentary padding and bristled with chrome knobs, the acres of sheet metal on its sculpted flanks were unmarred by safety lamps or reflectors, and shoulder belts were eschewed as an effete euro affectation.
This four-door monstrosity, with its vinyl bench seats and three-Hoffa trunk, was a midsize sedan by the standards of the day, and was nudged down the road by the daintiest V-8 in Chrysler's lineup: a 318 cubic-inch engine with a two-barrel carburettor and not even a Christmas tree air-freshener in the tailpipe to give its carbon emissions a pleasant pine-y aroma.
By comparison, my first car, a '74 Ford, was a padded cocoon, with three-point shoulder harnesses and an exterior slathered in chrome bumpers and side marker lights and a plumber's nightmare of hoses under the hood, shunting exhaust gasses and vacuum pressure hither and yon for the sake of the environment. Even the Ford, though, was a stagecoach compared to today's vehicles.
Back then, these Detroit leviathans were just old cars; they weren't collectors' items, rather they were what kids in the '80s could afford to buy with baby-sitting and grocery-bagging money if mom and dad weren't going to spring for a Honda. I miss them sometimes.