Thinking of my 5×6 Plymouth


I know everyone remembers the first car they ever bought. If you paid for your own, like I did, the first one usually had a few problems that came with it—to make it affordable.

My first one was a 1956 Plymouth convertible that I bought in the summer of 1963 for $165.00. And boy did it ever have some problems.

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First of all it didn’t have a top but it was a convertible and it was summer so what was the big deal. And it didn’t have a heater either but cold weather was months away. It also had a dinged up rear fender but that didn’t affect how it drove.

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I think what really got me was the 318 Dodge V8 that had been installed in it by one of the previous owners who was a known hot rodder. It was one of those “horses that had been rode hard and put away wet.”

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Not only did it not have a top, the brackets that the top would normally be draped over were broken and since they were aluminum it took special welding to fix the broken struts. I found someone to weld them but now cannot remember who did it.

Then I ordered a brand new top from Ray Matz and he put it on for me. When that part was finished I thought I had arrived. It even had a zipper for the back window that could be zipped open and then you had the flow of air from that area even with the top up.

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The next thing that needed attention was the transmission. It was a three-speed stick shift and when it was in second it would slip out of gear, so a lot of times I just went from first to third. There was also a big oil leak from the engine that dripped down into the clutch area so the clutch would slip really badly.

There was a cheap fix for that problem. I just drove the car up against a tree and slipped the clutch until all of the wet oil burned off of it and it was good for a while.

After months of this maneuver the clutch plate wears out—it then means another repair.

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Eventually winter rolled around and it got pretty cold in there without a heater. I had a new girlfriend then (my wife now) and I believe a trip or two without the heater forced me into taking a trip to a junkyard to find a “new” heater core.

I think the previous owner thought it had more power without channeling the water through a heater core.

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I couldn’t afford new tires so bought some retreads. That was an okay idea until one hot summer day I was driving out to the county lake and I heard a loud thumping in the back.

I stopped and opened the trunk and saw where the tread had come off and pounded a hole in the floor of the trunk. I put a big box over it for the duration of my ownership.

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In the summer of 1964 I upgraded to a 1956 Chevy and wish I still had it today. I knew that Ken and Bonnie Funk had owned it so it wouldn’t be the money pit I just had.

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Cardiologist to patient: “What fits your busy schedule better, exercising one hour a day or being dead for 24 hours a day.”

This little health message is taken from a cartoon, by Randy Glasbergen, on the wall where I take my annual thallium treadmill test each year. I have taken that message to heart somewhat—my limit is about 30 minutes most days.


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