Memory Lane: The Family Car

We never really had what you would classify as a “normal” family car.

That’s me in our 1948 Singer 9HP roadster convertible – a car so Britishy it even had right hand drive. I loved it and never really understood why everyone stared at us when we drove it to Canadian Tire or K-Mart.

Then there were the Cryslers, or “funny cars” as we came to call them. This one is a 1948 Windsor sedan, which replaced a similar 1948 coupe of the same model. It was the car my Mom drove us to school in, much to the amazement of the other kids. Other families had station wagons, we had this.

The ’48 sedan took me to my graduation, and to my wedding.

Dear Old Dad is a mechanical engineer (retired now) who also happens to really dig old cars. He particularly digs finding them in various states of disarray – from lightly rusted to a mishmash of rusty pieces in cardboard boxes – and restoring them.

This process would often take years  – Dad hunting down and ordering obscure parts – the exotic brown packages arriving by mail, covered with colourful stamps from faraway places. He would open the packages with us kids hovering around him in excited anticipation, only to produce some undistinguishable piece of metal that would make us groan in disappointment. For him, it was Christmas.

Our cars were special. Very special.

You have to be careful around very special cars. Especially if you are a little kid with a bicycle.

One summer afternoon, my Dad called for me, my sister and my brother to come out to the front yard. His tone told us we should not keep him waiting. Once assembled, he instructed us to get our bikes from the back yard, which we did quickly and silently. He then got us, one by one, to wheel our bikes parallel to one of the cars (we always had several parked in the front driveway) to see who’s handlebars lined up perfectly to a new and conspicuous scratch on the side panel.

That’s all I remember, which makes me think it was probably my bike that matched.