Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Definately Un-Gran Torino


A few week-ends ago Joe and I went to the movies to see the latest Clint Eastwood movie, Gran Torino. The movie was pretty good. What I thought was a predicable Clint movie surprised me, really caught me off guard. As did the music they used in the closing credits! I loved that song!

I was also taken by surprise at the flood of memories that came over me when I saw the star of the show, the Gran Torino. "Oh My Gosh!!" I thought to myself, how could I have not made the connection until I saw the 1972 vehicle being lovingly presented to the audience as one of the ultimate Muscle cars of that era. Was there any other era for true muscle cars?

Because one fine day, my Dad drove home the latest addition to the family, a 1970 Torino. Mind you, not a Gran Torino, (because after all he had two teenage drivers at home with a third coming up fast!), but a gold four door beautiful Torino. We could not believe it! How cool was our dad!! We all knew he always bought the cars on the showroom floor, the ones they were discounting enough to roll off before the newer models were rolled in. This time, it was a mind blower (as we said back in those days) and we stood in line to drive this beauty!

A very young me and a very young Kit in driveway with Torino - circa 1970

When we got home that Saturday night from the movie I called each of my three brothers and asked for their memories of the Torino, and if they could recall what happened to it!

I called T. first, because somewhere in the back of my mind I thought he may have wrecked it. Why? Because he was always wrecking the cars, being the worst driver of us all. I do believe he moved to NYC just so he would have public transportation that would allow him to never have to put the pedal to the metal ever again.

"No, I did not wreck it!" he said in a thoughtful manner, "I don't remember what happened to that car. But, I had my first date in it."

Next, I called N. "I took the car to Quicksand (a place in the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Kentucky that hosted the University of Kentucky in their forestry program) for the that final year. I brought it home and bought the Mustang. I don't remember what happened to it?"

N. standing by car (in same driveway)with what appears to be a beer in his hand!! Notice the plastic Jesus on the dashboard! What a riot! - circa 1971

Then finally I called P. "The Tan Terror?" he asked chuckling. "I drove that car all the time. I don't remember it being totalled by any of us. I do recall driving around in a parking lot, doing donuts in the snow, and getting too close to a shopping cart and knocking the passenger side mirror off. The next day Dad got in the car and found the mirror in the back seat. I think we were able to reattach it somehow, a pop off mirror maybe." He also fingered our brother N. as having hit something and caving in one of the front fenders. Then he and I continued to have a nice chat about all the cars that he and I remembered from those times.

Then I called Mom. She laughed and remembered that car. She thinks it was traded in for a Pinto a long time ago.

A Torino for a Pinto!!?? Surely you jest Mom! Beat up and battered, it would be wonderful to see that car again.

Torino in background at new house, 1977. Sure was a good car that withstood four hard drivers. Dad, Omega, N. and Kit. Mom dressed K. & O. alike. They hated it.

My memories of the Torino?? I was always late for my shift while working at Shaker Village the summer of 1972. I would drive the Torino the 20 some odd miles on Rt 33, a two lane country road that descended down the limestone walls into the palisades of the Kentucky River, at break neck speed passing everything that Monster would come up on...because I could! That was some muscle car, that four door family sedan.

The Tan Terror.


Indigo said...

I love this! They don't make cars to last like they used to. Wonderful family memories. (Hugs)Indigo

Far Side of Fifty said...

Great stories ! I really enjoyed all the car memories! :)

Beth said...

We had a gold Torino also!! A two-door. I'll have to ask Dad if it was a Gran Torino or not.

I've heard excellent things about the movie.


Nelle said...

OH my this reminded me of MY Plymouth Satellite Sebring (electric blue and brand new in 1971. I married that car err I mean the man who bought it and promptly tried to take it over leaving him with my 66 gold Chevy Nova. I drove that car until it had over a hundred thousand miles and was replaced by a Dodge Omni. I remember that car fondly and it sure could fly. lol

Captain Smack said...

Please, God, no... not a Pinto...

That's just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Lisa :-] said...

We all have great "car" memories, don't we?

But a Torino for a Pinto? Well, I guess the Torino was kind of road hard and put away wet...

Becky said...

Ha! This reminds me of my husband and his ruminations on the cars he drove in the 70s.

pia said...

I loved this story and have the most stupid question. Was your house a brick split? Sure looks familiar--ours had some fieldstone--and my sister has modernized it. I have said I'm going to put it in the National Register of Historic Homes
She thinks that's a compliment

I forget what kind of car my boyfriend had but it was called Putney Swopes

My family always had Buicks (don't look showy but the Electra has or had a Caddy engine)