• Oct 1st 2013 at 12:00PM
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Kiley's first car was a 1964 VW Beetle similar to the o... Kiley's first car was a 1964 VW Beetle similar to the one shown here (Jack Snell, Flickr).
Each month, we'll be turning to our readers to tell us their story on a specific topic. If yours is one of the handful of stories we feature, it could be read and shared by millions of readers. Click 'Let's Hear It' below to share your story.

This Month's Topic: Your First Car. Submit by October 7th.


I was 18 in January 1982. To my Father's great displeasure, I was taking a semester off from college to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I got a job on a loading dock in Manhattan on the west side, facing the Hudson River. And I needed a car.

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This Month's Topic:
Tell us about your first car! Your first car was undoubtedly special to you. We want to hear about what made it special, how you came to possess it, your fondest memories in it and everything else about it that puts a smile on your face. You can either type your story up or send us a quick video. Don't forget to include a picture!
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Our neighbor Margaret Wolff was a widow and she decided to sell the 1964 Volkswagen Beetle she and her husband drove for many years. How much? She was asking $250.00. The price was right. It ran okay. I already knew how to drive a stick. This was going to be the first ride I could call my own.

First things first. My wonderful Mother, at my request, sewed together imitation sheepskin seat covers. The running boards were rusted out. I knocked them off, and replaced them with hand-cut oak running boards I fashioned in my basement and coated with the same stuff boat-owners use on teak. I suspended them from the wheel arches with ordinary L-brackets from the hardware store.

Next, the stereo. I purchased a $30 Kraco AM-FM cassette deck and installed it myself after removing the stock AM-radio. Since the trunk in the Beetle is in the front, the job was easy as the back of the metal dashboard was wide open to me. But there was one problem: The Beetle battery is 6-volt and the stereo was 12-volt. That took me all day to figure that out before a $30 transformer had to be purchased. Brown indoor-outdoor carpet from (now-defunct) Channel Lumber was fitted to the floor and tacked down with double-sided tape.

I soon discovered water was coming in the car during a hard rain. The source: big rust holes around the edge of the floor. When I sat in the driver seat, the rusty floor literally sagged and made the holes bigger. Yikes. I was off to the local metal-smith to get a piece welded on to secure the floor.

I loved the crank-open sun-roof. But it worked only about eight or ten times before it gave up. Fixed by the local VW mechanic, it worked another dozen times, before it, and I, gave up on it. Oh well. The car had triangular vent windows, which I loved to tilt in to have the wind rush in at me on hot days. There was no AC, of course.

The beautiful thing about the original Beetle was its simplicity. When it wouldn't start, I crawled underneath and rapped a screw-driver on the solenoid, or took the wires off the distributor cap and re-fastened them. Worked every time. The engine, in the back, looked kind of like a sewing machine.

Six months into driving the Bug, I was T-boned in Manhattan by a yellow Ford Crown Victoria taxi. The light weight of the Beetle resulted in my car being bounced, rather than smashed, and sliding sideways about twenty feet. I was, unbelievably, unscathed, though a bit dazed. The dent pounded out.

After another year of driving it, and a re-built engine being installed and my re-enrollment in college, Fordham University, I sold it to a friend for $750.00. She had 127,000 miles on it. About six months later, the friend told me that a rear tire literally exploded off the side of the car for reasons still unknown. He sold it for parts.

I know that buried in one of the boxes of childhood book reports, sports trophies and letters in my basement or attic, I still have one of the keys to that car. Why? Because you always remember your first.

Now, what's your story? In 300 words or less, share with us your story about your beloved first car. And if you don't have a picture of it, upload us a picture of yourself you are willing to have seen by potentially millions of people, and we will find a picture of your car. If you do have a photo of you and your first car, by all means upload them to us by following the Share Your Story link above.

AOL Autos Editor-in-Chief David Kiley is author of Getting The Bugs Out: The Rise,Fall and Comeback of Volkswagen in America. John Wiley & Sons, 2001.


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  • 70 Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
      hey every body its justin Lanciault i have a girlfriend name jaleen Anderson love me care about me cute . i want to maney he her because she love sweet girl I love her so much and i take to the dance this friday night. shes say to love you justin bcause i love so much in my life because she love for ever and ever ever because . she is so cute because she want to go out with her because she love me if you here it jaleen plaese submit . and Commet me thank you every one love jaleen anderson . love jaleen anderson form justin lanciault. thank you everbody by everbody.
        B-MAN
        • 1 Year Ago
        What the Hell does that mean????????? what an imbacile!!!!!!!!
      • 1 Year Ago
      I had the same problem Robin. Nothing worked when I tried.
      braunsys
      • 1 Year Ago
      1962 Karmann Ghia convertible, paid $400. used, ran great during High School until it was converted into a dune buggy, had I know then what I know now..."Betsy" would still be here. RIP
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Let's hear it link doesn't open for me?
      pbrista
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hey AOL, I would like to post a story, but your ?<>{:C{?" page does not allowed it.
      • 1 Year Ago
      My first car was a 1968 Chevelle SS 396 big block. Did 12.8 in quarter mile. Burned out the throw out bearing bringing it home. Boy I learned fast how to drive a monster like that. What joy to have and work on, not to mention bringin the girls in. Spent every penny I made on upkeeping and improving car. Didn't have a garage so the car was a instant theft option. Living near Newark, NJ surely didn't help. Sad day was when I went to the military and no one in family could move it. Brings back lots of memories.
      • 1 Year Ago
      this was my first car too!! Towed it home on a rope after spending $100 on it, my dad put an engine in and i painted it metallic blue. My friends would hang out of the top sunroof, as there were no seatbelts laws back then. We had so much fun in that beetle. I drove it 7 years and eventually sold it to a guy for $550 who turned it into a dune buggy. loved my little love bug!
      softshoe2u2
      • 1 Year Ago
      My first car was a 56 Chevy. 2 door post. 265 V8, Blue and white. I thought it was fast until one of my friends with his Dads 59 Chevy farm truck, 6 cyc. out ran me. Had a lot of fun with that car. I kept is spotless all time. My second car while a senior in High School was a 64 Impala ss 327 and 4 sp.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hi! My name is Samantha. I'm a 1957 Chevrolet 210 2 Door Sedan. My owner and I met in Dallas, Texas in 1979. He was 15 and I was 22. (He likes older women). I was his first car. When his older brother drove me to Ohio, I was so upset over leaving Texas, I burned 44 Quarts of oil and dropped 2nd gear! But as luck would have it, he really cared for me, fixed me up and drove me to Colorado in 1982 so he could go to college. Yep, we have been through a lot together. In 2003 he tore me apart and put me back together with all new tinted glass, new wiring, rubber, chrome,paint and upholstery. What a nice owner ( every women wants a make over ). Now he shines me and takes me to shows and for ice cream on Sundays. I am glad he found me in 1979! Sorry I burned all that oil, Forever Grateful, Love, Sam.
        jlsntx
        • 1 Year Ago
        GREAT story Samantha. If you're in Texas, then you should come to Henderson on the second Saturday of the month for the Syrup Festival. There's a place there you could see some old friends. http://www.hendersontx.us/index.aspx?NID=14
        • 1 Year Ago
        Great post!
      BILL911SC
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is news? I still have the first car I ever owned. A '64 Corvette coupe. I don't drive it but I start it monthly.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Did you receive my submission and photos for your contest? I never could find a submit button. I either sent it 3 times, or not at all.
      DADCO/IMTG/CA
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well, I took 30 minutes to tell a great story about my own '64 bug, and when I tried to submit it, it vanished. Too bad the world will never know about the bug that got away......AOL, I've been with you since 1995. You really need to fix your submission procedures. My time is scarce, and I had a really good story to share.
        nickmon1234
        • 1 Year Ago
        @DADCO/IMTG/CA
        I have a feeling that all submissions disappear when one clicks on the submit link because that's what happened to me too.....It probably means that it was sent.......Good luck to you.......Nick
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