1962 Chevy Nova

1962 Chevy Nova
Canon PowerShot S95
2014

Old Cars
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Stories Told

Cars of a Lifetime: 1989 Chevrolet Beretta

I called it The Dentmobile because no matter how hard I tried to keep it in nice condition, it seemed to attract accidents.

My next post in the Cars of a Lifetime series is up over on Curbside Classic. It was my one and only new car, and the one I kept the longest – eight years and 150,000 miles. This car was one constant in a period when I did a lot of growing up.

I adapted my story from a 2007 post that I reposted last yearClick here to read it on Curbside Classic.

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Stories Told

Cars of a Lifetime: 1978 Chevrolet Van

woodside

The second of my Cars of a Lifetime posts went up over on Curbside Classic this morning, about a 1978 Chevy van my dad bought when he went into the cabinetmaking business. It was the first vehicle I ever drove.

Read my story here.

Longtime readers of this blog might recognize it as a slightly updated version of this post here on Down the Road from early 2010. I decided to recycle some perfectly useful words! How green of me.

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Vintage Television

Vintage TV: Dinah Shore for the 1959 Chevrolet

So I have a YouTube channel. There’s not much there – a few DashboardCam™ videos from my road trips and several vintage TV clips I, um, appropriated from around the Internet. By far the most popular video on my channel, with more than 80,000 views, is this commercial for the 1959 Chevrolet starring singer Dinah Shore.

Readers north of a certain age will remember that Dinah was synonymous with Chevy in the 1950s. Chevy sponsored all of her various variety shows on NBC during those years, and the song “See the USA in Your Chevrolet” became Dinah’s signature piece. (See her sing it in grand style here.)

What a grand portrait of American living this video paints! And the key to achieving this joyful lifestyle is, of course, the gullwinged 1959 Chevrolet.

This video has attracted a ton of comments over the years. They’ve taken on a life of their own! It’s been amusing to see them fall into three general categories:

  • “Cars of the 1950s were great! I wish I had a ’59 Chevy!” I didn’t have the heart to point them to this crash-test video of a 1959 Chevy crashing into a 2009 Chevy. The dummy in the ’59 would have died instantly. The dummy in the ’09 would have suffered only a broken foot. (One commenter finally pointed it out for me.)
  • Ongoing arguments over whether or not the 1950s were America’s golden age. Those affirming the resolution seemed mostly to be lost in nostalgia. Those negating the resolution tended to bring up one or two examples of Not Good things from the era and extrapolated wildly to claim the whole era was bad. I tried to suggest that there were as many problems then as today, and promptly got clobbered for it.
  • Disturbing rants, often racist or homophobic, which I promptly deleted. Sheesh.

I keep thinking I should tell them all to just listen to Dinah. She could sing.

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Personal

Beretta subculture

I write about my faith, my personal growth, and my roadgeekery hoping that my posts will resonate with you and that you will leave comments that share your experiences.

Last July I wrote a post called “What’s the use?” about enjoying what God has given us. I told the story of my first brand new car, a 1989 Chevy Beretta, and how my sweating over its care often made it hard for me to simply enjoy my car. Even though my Beretta lasted 150,000 miles, it fell apart, as old cars do. This post is far and away the most popular I’ve written. Check out this screen shot of this blog’s all-time top posts, as of this morning. “What’s the use?” attracts one out of every ten visits to my blog! The next most popular post gets about one fourth the traffic.

If you think that people are thirsty for a message of enjoying our gifts, you would be wrong. Check this screen shot of the all-time most popular search terms that brought people to my blog. Notice how often the word “beretta” appears. (I puzzle over the 14 people who found my blog while looking for dirt mounds.)

In reality, most people come to my site to see pictures of my car. It turns out there’s a whole Beretta subculture that loves this little coupe. Some of them soup them up, slather them in plastic body cladding, and race them. Others keep them original and drive them daily. They get together online to talk about it at places like berettastuff.com, berettaspeed.com, and beretta.net. Sometimes they drive their Berettas cross country to sit together among their cars and swap Beretta stories!

We’re not talking Mustang or GTO or Impala SS here. We’re talking the Beretta, a glorified grocery getter that was pretty tame even with its most powerful engine and stiffest suspension. But these people love this car. It probably helps that used Berettas can be had for less than $1,000. It doesn’t cost very much to join in the fun.

These people are doing the very thing I found elusive in “What’s the use?” – they’re enjoying their cars. More power to ’em.

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