Hooniverse Asks- What Car Did You Learn To Drive On?

We all had to go through it, whether it was Mom’s suburban assault vehicle, one of Dootson’s Sentras, or you’re really old, one of your high school’s battered and flatulent-smelling workhorse sedans, the behind the wheel portion of Driver’s Ed probably wasn’t the most electrifying ride you could have imagined.
Of course at that early age they probably could have given you the keys to a car a pack of wild dogs had been locked in for a week and you would have gladly accepted them. Many of us were taught how to drive by a family member, a dad or older sibling whose casual one-handed driving style was the first thing they told you not to emulate. After that, we honed our skills, and learned the practical application of the rules of the road in the behind the wheel portion of driver’s training. And there, who knew what you were getting.
For me, it turned out to be a Chevy Nova, painted a shade of metallic blue so dull and lifeless you’d imagine no fun could possibly be had behind its wheel. But you’d be wrong. I had learned to drive on an Audi 100LS, spinning its skinny front tires as I tried to get the hang of the proper synchronization of clutch release and gas pedal application. That car’s light weight and easy steering made it eminently toss-able and even at 15 I could recognize this was a fun car to drive. The Nova, on the other hand, felt like its tires were churning through wet cement and it took forever to get up to speed. Having three of the fattest of my classmates as co-drivers on the Saturday sojourns probably didn’t help matters either.
Now, I know that the first thing you should do when getting into an unfamiliar car is to acquaint yourself with the controls, but once I slid behind that thin plastic wheel and dropped the spindly gear lever into drive, the only thing I wanted to do was make tracks. Now, having experienced the Audi, and not being familiar with the instruments on the Nova, I mistook the tiny round tach for a woefully inadequate speedometer, and was watching that climb slowly up past what I thought was thirty when the instructor – who also served as the school’s water polo coach and on of the math teacher’s – pressed down on his redundant brake pedal, bringing our suburban street speed back down below 50. It was then I noticed the delicate needle wobbling back and forth across the wide strip of the actual speedo. Okay, now we’re learning!
I eventually completed the five or six Saturday mornings of driving to Uncle Joe’s Donuts and to the then end of the uncompleted 210 freeway in Tujunga, garnering the approval of the instructor to make that momentous trek to the DMV where I would either come home a victorious solo driver, or a dejected teen still with a dream. I passed my test the first time, and took to alternating between a small Honda motorcycle and my first set of real wheels, a 1962 Chevy Corvair.
To this day, so many years later, I can still remember that Nova, its smell, the lethargic adjournment of every action, and the unbridled freedom that was promised even by its pedestrian comportment. How about you, do you still remember the car on which you cut your driving teeth? Was it a family wagon, or a school car? Did anything eventful happen while you were behind the wheel, or was it just biding time until you could get the only person you really cared about in the passenger seat- the DMV tester – with the ultimate goal of getting someone even more important alone and into the back seat?
Whatever it was, what was it?
Image source: [NYTimes.com, Phrank.com]

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72 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What Car Did You Learn To Drive On?”

  1. M44Power Avatar

    The driver's ed car at my school was a ratty old late 80s/early 90s Pontiac 6000. I remember it had the second brake pedal that the "coach" (he had to meet some teaching requirement apparently- it was clear he had no desire to interact with people not playing football) would randomly stab to "keep us on our toes."
    My real learning happened in a 1976 BMW 2002, as well as a Ford F-150 that my Dad used to teach me how to drive in the snow.

  2. Chris Avatar

    The car los padres took me out in, and which ended up being my first car, was a silver '96 Taurus with the 3.0L SOHC V6. In driver-ed class, we had a '95 Caprice Classic wagon – the Shaggin Wagon.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      That is an uncharacteristically cool drivers ed car.

    2. Ryan Light Avatar
      Ryan Light

      There was no SOHC Taurus

  3. discontinuuity Avatar

    One of these fine machines
    <img src="http://img2.netcarshow.com/Honda-Accord_Sedan_1986_800x600_wallpaper_03.jpg"&gt;
    I also occasionally drove my mom's Dodge Caravan, and had a Dodge Stratus and a PT Cruiser for Driver Ed.

    1. muthalovin Avatar

      Awesome! A Vette! You SO LUCKY!

  4. NoCAlDude Avatar

    Datsun B210 with the honeycomb hub caps and a 73 powder blue VW Beetle. after geting my license, i layed of driving for awhile to let the wounds heal

  5. Jim Brennan Avatar
    Jim Brennan

    There were 2 distinct cars that I learned to drive in, and then you will know why I have an affliction (spelling intentional) for the Corvair. The first car was my Mom's 1961 Corvair Monza Coupe, with the Powerglide! Just like this one:
    <img src="http://bringatrailer.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/1963_Chevrolet_Corvair_Monza_Spyder_Turbo_Coupe_For_Sale_Front_1.jpg&quot; alt="" />
    At the time, my dad owned a 1963 Corvair Greenbriar Van with a 4 Speed Manual, and I learned how to drive a manual with that thing. It looked almost like this:
    <img src="http://memimage.cardomain.com/member_images/5/web/2213000-2213999/2213260_1_full.jpg&quot; alt="" />

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      That explains so much.

    2. dukeisduke Avatar

      UDMan, that Monza coupe pictured is a '63 (note the grille bar across the front). Here's a '61:
      <img src="IMAGE URL" width="600">
      To embed the picture above, you’d do:
      <img src="http://oldcarandtruckpictures.com/Corvair/1961_Chevrolet_Corvair_Monza.jpg"&gt;

  6. lilwillie Avatar

    In drivers Ed I did a one day drive in a Lumina and the instructor said "good nuf" and gave seat time to the kids who had never had any. Practice driving I had driven my Dad's '76 Chevy 3/4 4×4 around the farm and marsh since 12, his '79 Ford Fairmont for practice and took my test in a '88 T-Bird.

  7. BGW Avatar

    A mix of my grandmother's '79 Caprice, the family '88 Regal (Exploding) and my brother's 1980 Olds Cutlass. By the time I made it to Driver's Ed school, the clapped out Sunbirds and Cavaliers were even less stellar than I'd imagined. I do recall the guy who owned the driving school telling us many times that he felt all students should learn to drive manual transmissions, yet he- the guy who owned and bought the cars- bought the slushiest of late '80s GM slushboxes. Go figure.

    1. zaddikim Avatar

      He had a point, but think of the repair costs of having to R&R all those roasted clutches and ground-up gears. Not everyone really has the coordination to operate clutch, gas. brake and gear shift. Being a drummer, I had the limb independence thing going for me. That, and the bootleg driving lessons when I was 14.

  8. P161911 Avatar

    Mostly used Mom's car at the time a 1986 Buick Electra Park Avenue with FWD. Overboosted power steering and a nice floaty ride, decent for the time pickup with the FI 3.8L. I'm pretty sure that was the one I took the driver's test in. I think Dad still had a company car so I didn't get to drive that. The first vehicle I was turned loose on my own with was a 1973 Chevy C-10. I drove the Chevy for about a month before I got a 1981 Buick Regal Turbo.
    My wife currently works as an instructor at a private driving school, they use Toyota Yari (what is the plural of Yaris?!?)

    1. Alff Avatar


      1. P161911 Avatar

        They actually work OK as a driver's ed car. They come standard with the speedo and gauges in the center, they are small enough the instructor can easily grab the wheel, and they have an open footwell for easy installation of the passenger side brake pedal. Low power is a good thing for new drivers. Apparently there is a law in Georgia that a car used for driver's ed can only be so many years old, so they don't keep them very long.

      2. zaddikim Avatar

        Yup, nailed it.

  9. tonyola Avatar

    Dad's 1968 Mercury Marquis – ours was light beige with black roof and interior.
    <img src="http://www.lovefords.org/68bic/68/68_marquis.jpg&quot; width=500>

  10. Goingincirclez Avatar

    <img src="http://goingincirclez.com/Kaleid2G/Albums/Automobilia/AeroBarge.jpg"&gt;
    My family's infamous truckster, a 1990 Ford Aerostar XL dubbed "The Aerobarge" by my friends owing as much to my traffic-barging tendencies as to its own handling characteristics. But my only incident of note (and public admission) came when I hit a patch of ice turning a corner and skidded into a parked car; fortunately the other guy couldn't tell which dent was mine, so no harm no foul.
    The "custom" paint job was courtesy me calling my dad's bluff on his patented El Cheapo Approach To Rust Repair. "Eh, I should just have you get a bucket of paint from the garage and have at it", he'd deadpanned one idle afternoon. Which, to his dismay, actually sounded more like a splendid idea to a bored teenager and his best friend. In our defense, my dad had turned our bombed-out 1979 Ford Granada into a Partridge Family insult over the years, so we thought he was being serious. Nonetheless, there wasn't much in the garage save a thick black epoxy-paint. And again in our defense, we did try and spice up the ghetto paint repair with a bit of unique stylistic flair which – I kid you not – was later seen copied by another gold Aerostar in the Chicago area!

    1. Goingincirclez Avatar

      This stalwart trooper of a vehicle had a rough life! I recall a 5-figure-mileage interval between oil changes once. It went through tires like a cop through donuts. It fell victim to Rocker-Panel-Rotitis as all Aerostars did, but kept on trucking…
      …it (or maybe it was just me, hah) even made an impression upon a Porsche driver one night on the Stevenson Expressway. I somehow managed to pick-and-dodge my way through traffic well enough to keep pace… enough such that when he saw me signaling to exit, he backed off to give me a thumbs-up out the window. What other minivan has ever earned that honor?
      This van would not die. Soon after my 1988 T-Bird became the daily whip in 1997, the Aerobarge passed to my younger brother, who called it the "Tan Ticking Timebomb of Terror" (T4), referring to the sticking lifter that caused an amusing – if not slightly alarming – ticking noise with engine RPM. He was mad that only I could figure out how to drive it without causing the ticking sound. Still, it ran happily this way for a few more years until he totalled it in spectacular fashion by skidding sideways through a fence and into a pole in 2001. Previous to that, my still-shy-of-her-permit sister had wrecked it by crashing into a garage (women…). Lest you be forming any opinions, you should know that not only did all three of us kids have a turn branding character into the poor van, my dad even fender-bent it… not once, but twice! So it was duly wrecked by every member of the household. I guess this means my brother should get some sort of prize for putting it out of its misery?
      <img src="http://goingincirclez.com/Kaleid2G/Models/Auto/Aerostar/Aerobarge_CustomRear.jpg&quot; width=400>

  11. Alff Avatar

    There were two…
    <img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_MiZ-UqDwf6c/S25EbPuNyAI/AAAAAAAACLE/hA3lDwDzUVI/s400/1979+Mazda+626+2+Door+Coupe+1.jpg"&gt;
    <img src="http://cabby-info.com/images/Models/Rabbit-Cabriolet/80DiamondSilver.jpg"&gt;
    Unfortunately, Dad sold this weeks before I got my permit. I don't think that was a coincidence…
    <img src="http://vista.pca.org/stl/aniv911s.jpg"&gt;

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      I always liked those first-gen 626 coupes. Just wished they'd made a rotary-powered version, like with their previous sedans.

  12. Festiva_Movemnt Avatar

    My first driving experience (at age 12) was in my dad's 1989 Ford Probe (LX- booo), which years later became my first car. Did a majority of my legal driving with a learner's permit in the fam's 1990 Ford Taurus wagon. Learned to row gears unofficially on Ridge Racer at Alladin's Palace in Crossroad's Mall, but officially in my brother's '95 Camaro V-6.
    What kind of saddens me (and saddened me then as well) is that at the time I was learning to drive, my parents owned a largely rust-free 1978 Ford Fiesta Ghia 4-sp. It didn't run at that time, but needed only minor work. It was originally planned to be my car upon turning 16, but the parents decided to sell it to a pizza delivery guy (also rolling in a '79 Fiesta) who offered more money than he should have for it. :/

  13. packratmatt Avatar

    A 1974 Pinto Squire wagon in Ford Oval Blue. Even the shift knob had wood grain on it. Unfortunately, by the time I got my hands on it, the body was so rotten that the passenger door had been bolted shut permanently and a carpet kept the water from coming in on the passenger side floor. Eventually, I got to drive that bastard to the junk yard. http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4041/4338795153_ff

  14. Plecostomus Avatar

    I learned how to drive in a 1989 Ford Taurus GL, then I learned to drive stick in a 1995 Infiniti G20 (which I later wrecked).
    As far as what car taught me the most about how to drive, it was probably my first 'real' car, (which was actually my 3rd car) a 1979 Datsun 280ZX DX 5MT. That car was looser than a Las Vegas hooker yet I loved it with a passion, for all of its disco-malaise badness.
    Yep, definitely taught me how to drive, how to 'feel' the car and read the road. I also thrashed the living hell out of that Z-car.

  15. muthalovin Avatar

    1990 Dodge Daytona Shelby
    <img src="http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/2/4597/4641/23992320001_medium.jpg?ei=a6VqTOX_GIH-8AbU5OmtAw"&gt;
    5 speed. Turbo. Hatch. My childhood was a blessed one. At least when the damn thing wasn't blowing up.

  16. LaFong Avatar

    I took driver's training in high school (back in another century). The school had 2 or 3 Dodges equipped with 4BBL 383s. My neighbor, an early pioneer in unintended acceleration, managed to launch one across a T intersection instead of stopping. Going all General Lee, it landed on the frame on the opposite side of a ditch. I believe the hump-backed Dodge was then totaled.

  17. SSurfer321 Avatar

    I took out our mailbox attempting my first drive in Dad's 79 Regal. Training courses utilized Geo Prizm Sedans.
    I was best in class and the only student allowed to drive with the radio on (at a barely audible level).
    Last day of class the instructor told me to park around back of the school. Once parked she told me to back out. I engaged reverse after checking over my shoulder, and proceeded to back up, slowly turning the wheel to turn around. She stopped the car with her brake and corrected me: "Back all the way around the school." I realigned the car with it's parking spot and began backing all the way around the school. Once into the open parking lot, with a turn coming up, I began acceleration. The panicked instructor immediately stabbed her brake, just as I was spinning the wheels to lock. I did my first J-Turn while still in driver's ed 🙂

  18. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    My mom drove a '73 Pontiac Bonneville 4-door pillarless hardtop. Which is why she hired a slightly creepy, Jim Rockford-esque middle-aged guy come by the house and take me out to drive in a '78 Malibu 4-door sedan with a brake pedal on passenger floorboard and a big "Venture Driver Training School" sign on top.

  19. LTDScott Avatar

    I have to ask my dad about this, but I honestly don't think that anyone actually taught me to drive. I remember studying my dad driving for years, but I don't think I ever got behind the wheel of one of a car until I took driver's ed in high school in Texas, at which point I had it down right away. The driver's ed car was an early 1990s Ford Escort.
    I completed my Texas driver's ed requirement shortly before moving to California, and found out that CA requires two more hours of behind the wheel experience than TX. So I had to go to a private driving school to get the additional two hours in a wonderful mid-80s Nissan Pulsar.
    I taught myself to drive manual transmission because nobody I knew had one. I knew the theory of how manual transmission worked, and in high school I told my auto shop teacher that I knew how to drive stick when he asked me to pick up a teacher's car to do an oil change on. It took a few tries to get the Nissan 720 truck going, but I picked it up very quickly. I think that driving has just come very naturally to me.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Now THAT is a great hotlink image dealy…

  20. Syrax Avatar

    Officially it was in the common boring school's Fiat Uno. Unofficially it was in our B5 Avant 1.8T. Both manual.

  21. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Learnt to drive in an '83 Triumph Acclaim.
    <img src="http://autocade.net/images/c/c0/Triumph_Acclaim.jpg&quot; width="500">
    Passed my test in a '94 Honda Civic
    <img src="http://images01.olx.com/ui/1/28/48/7062048_1.jpg&quot; width="500">
    Learnt to drive properly, and, let's be honest, to hoon in an '83 Ford Sierra
    <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3272/2981643309_128c264a0b.jpg?v=1225227113&quot; width=500>
    That thing was hilarious. Pretty skinny tyres meant it was dead easy to light up the rear wheels, and the shape of the thing meant a nice pendulum effect for easy drifting. That car was a nice, slow masterclass in vehicle handling. And all you guys with vested interests in XR4Tis, you have my utmost support on the matter.

  22. Jeff Glucker Avatar
    Jeff Glucker

    My mom taught me to drive a manual trans in a Mazda 323 (don't remember which year), on a dirt road in San Ysidro, CA… at the age of 10 or 11.
    Later, at 14 or 15 I stole my moms Escort wagon to use for a night cruising my small Massachusetts town…until my father drove by me in the other direction in HIS Escort wagon.
    I really learned to drive (once I got my license) in my dads '97 Mercury Cougar. Fun engine, RWD, and New England weather combine for a solid learning experience.

  23. dukeisduke Avatar

    My first ride? '66 Rambler American 440, like this , but in Frost White
    The behind-the-wheel driver's ed car? A Datsun B-210 four-door, with automatic
    <img src="IMAGE URL" width="600">
    <img src="http://www.tuningfever.fr/pics-med-14974-371861-1976-datsun-b210.jpg"&gt;

  24. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    When I was a young hoon, I made do with an '88 Plymouth Reliant and a '91 Chevy S10. Both of which were row-your-own. I don't even remember what pedestrian wheels were on tap for driver's ed, but I do remember that I was constantly stabbing at the non-existent clutch pedal and reaching unwittingly for the console mounted gear selector. Such is the price to pay for learning to drive on nothing but manuals.

  25. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Can't get much more of a contrast than 216 to Mustang. A friend of mine's Dad used to have a 216 Vitesse, I used to think it was awesome, but I'm better now.

    1. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

      For some reason I believe it was "G" registration so '89 or '90. In fact I actually hope I'm wrong and my head doesn't really contain that snippet of information.

  26. Schm Avatar

    I learned in my Mom's acura TL, aka "Lil Red," which I went on to drive for 3 or 4 more years. A good car, came with a ton of options, leather, sat nav, sunroof, all for around 30k in 1999, and it was reliable.

  27. Baron Von Danger Avatar
    Baron Von Danger

    When I was 14, before getting my permit, my brother would have me drive his Accord whenever he was too drunk to drive home. Which was once or twice a week.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/5/53/1993_Honda_Accord_SE_coupe_02.jpg/800px-1993_Honda_Accord_SE_coupe_02.jpg"width=200&gt;
    Then when I had an official permit, my dad taught me how to drive a proper five speed. He showed me how to pop the clutch, which now I realize that taught me how to do quick shifts and stay off the clutch.
    <img src="http://www.niot.net/niot_570/nissan_240_sx_niot.net.jpg%20(14).jpg"width=200>

  28. Al Navarro Avatar
    Al Navarro

    My instructor (Mr. LaValva, IIRC) had some sort of mid size GMC product with the redundant pedal. I learned how to drive stick from a friend, Scott B., using his family's Tercel. But the car in which I truly learned to drive was the 1986.5 VW Scirocco 16V I shared with my brother….since he was away at college, I'd like to think I got the better part of the deal.

  29. engineerd Avatar

    Topaz. Not Taurus.
    Let this be a lesson to you. A lack of sleep combined with wolfing down delicious Thai food while trying to type a comment leads to dismemoryisations.

    1. Ryan Light Avatar
      Ryan Light

      you must have had a special sable engineineered for grannys only because my taurus periodically takes sweeping corners at far greater speeds than 45mph… I guess a man has just got to know his limitations

  30. dmilligan Avatar

    I started learning to drive when I was 12 or 13, driving a '63 International Travelall with a 4 speed manual on the backroads of southern Oregon between Klamath Falls and Lakeview. The family would go out hunting or fishing or just driving, and at some point my dad started having me try to drive when we were way out in the boonies. By the time I was 15 I did almost all of the driving on these excursions, and it was a great time. I still failed my drivers test the first time I took it because I couldn't parallel park.

  31. Black Steelies Avatar

    learned in a pair of '98 Dodge Caravans. One being the school's designated drivers ed vehicle in lilac, the other my fam's Plymouth grand voyager 'expresso' edition in a striking shade of violet.
    Took the test in mom's '04 Montana. I even passed the first try despite bumping the curb parallel parking and turning in front of a pedestrian.
    <img src="http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/vehicle-pictures/2004/pontiac/montana/2198-046-front-angle-260.jpg"&gt;

  32. joe_bloe Avatar

    Learned manual at age 12: 1973 Pinto Squire <img src="http://www.lovefords.org/73bic/images/1973_betterideas_pinto_squire_red.jpg"/&gt;
    Took drivers' ed in high school in a 1984 Dodge Colt with twin stick transmission.

    1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      Cool on both accounts!

    2. engineerd Avatar

      My dad had an early '80s Colt with the twin stick. He traded it in on a newer Colt which then burned itself to a crisp.

  33. buzzboy7 Avatar

    I "learned" how to drive stick on a honda 125. I then learned how to do it with my feet and hands instead of hands and feet in my parents 93 Toyota P/U 5 Speed 22RE. Sigh, good stuff. Then when I got my own car I really learned how to "drive" in my '74 Beetle. That's when I learned skills such as left foot braking to keep the engine alive and push starting a car alone and bailing water out of a car while driving it.

  34. MasterKoofy Avatar

    I learned to drive in a Ford Aerostar XL aka mom's van. The driver's ed car was a Buick Century if I recall. Then I passed my drivers test in a Chevrolet Impala
    Learned how to drive stick in a Dodge Ram 3500 V10 dump truck.

  35. Duurtlang Avatar

    A (then brand new) 2000 Ford Focus. A 5-door hatch with a diesel engine and not 2, not 3, not 4 but 5 paddles! Which is a legal requirement for cars you learn to drive in here.

  36. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    Same road, identical car, nearly 30 years ago. Crazy uncle taught me how to pitch it sideways and only said "Avoid the bumps, don't spill my beer."
    <img src="http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs362.snc4/44487_1574439125448_1369652107_1517556_4780033_n.jpg"&gt;

    1. zaddikim Avatar

      Replace with a '78 Bronco on a cut-block road, and it's pretty much my experience too.

  37. Tomsk Avatar

    Did much of my learning behind the wheel of the '83 300 SD I still own.
    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2524/3860644017_f062bfe29e.jpg&quot; width="500" height="375" alt="benz" />
    Did quite a lot of time behind the wheel of the SoCal AAA driving school's late-'90s Cavalier sedans as well. Learned to drive stick on a late '90s Nissan Frontier 4×2.

  38. Rudy Avatar

    Sorry I don't have any pictures to share but I traded back and forth between a 26' Winnebago Chieftan and a 1988 Pontiac Trans Am with a 5-speed.

  39. Andrew Avatar

    I learned to drive on a 1996 Saturn SL2. It's also the car in which I learned to do handbrake turns, left-foot braking, and yumps. Dent-proof body panels are a commodity that cannot be overrated.
    I learned to drive stick on a Porsche Boxster S, courtesy of the either exceedingly generous or exceedingly gullible sales staff at my local dealer. Fortunately Porsches have some of the easier-to-operate gearboxes/clutches, and it escaped without any harm done…

  40. longrooffan Avatar

    The first vehicle I drove was my Dad's farm tractor like this one.
    <img src="http://www.ozarkmountainimages.com/OzarkTractor/IH%20Farmall%20Super%20M1280.jpg"end&gt;
    He then let me graduate up to the farm truck like this one but plain jane white, 3/4 ton four on the floor, radio/air delete!
    <img src="http://www.allpar.com/photos/dodge/dude/1970.jpg"end&gt;

  41. coupeZ600 Avatar

    1st Drive: '58 H-61 Mack
    Test Passer: '75 Olds Cutlass Supreme
    But I love Rob's use of the "lethargic adjournment" to describe the Nova's performance. I was given a '69 Nova with the 250 I-6 and a three-on-the-tree on my High School Graduation Night as a "Get Out Of Town Free Card", and it was the perfect car for a dumb-kid set loose in the world. I was bummed at the time that it wasn't the 350 and 4 on the floor model, but now realize that I would have put that thing into the Ditch sooner rather than later.

  42. AlexG55 Avatar

    First time behind the wheel was in my family's Toyota Land Cruiser (1988 FJ62). Also my first solo drive, and my first drive on a highway. 4500 pounds or so of Japanese iron is reassuring- the combination of underpowered six and primitive autobox is not when you want to merge.
    Learned to drive stick in a dual-control (second brake and clutch) 1.6-litre Ford Focus Mk2 owned by the AA Driving School.

  43. Matt Avatar

    My dad took me on the highway the day after I got my learner's permit and had me drive home in his manual 2005 Mustang GT, kind of a do or die. For the most part I spent my time in my mom's 98 Beetle, and spent a good bit of time behind the wheel of the Trabants my dad collects.

  44. ptschett Avatar

    By the time I was 12 I was mowing the lawn with the garden tractor, hooning around the farmyard on a 300cc Kawasaki 4×4 ATV, and also occasionally driving farm tractors. I remember very well pulling a wheelie with the 5288 (much like this one, but its paint wasn't this good) one chilly November morning in 1992. Also my dad started me driving the '78 F-150 about this time, mostly just to follow him to the field and drop off a tractor so he could go back and work later.
    <img src="http://www.lenebert.com/Used_Equip/IH 5288 – 3valve hyd-20.8-38 tires.JPG" width="500">
    When I could finally get my learners permit (age 14 in South Dakota!) the instructional car was mostly the '83 Century T-type, which was decrepit by then (1995) and wouldn't have been much of a loss. I learned automotive stick-shift about the same time, in the '79 F-350 dually service truck (the 5288 being partial-powershift, and the other tractors being of the stop-and-grind variety.) I took the driving test both in the Buick and in the '92 Seville that replaced it as the main family car, and I remember failing the first time in the Buick (something about using the parallel-parking lane as a driving lane, because I knew I beforehand I was turning right in a block) but passing in the Caddy.
    The Buick was slated to be my car but the engine was too far gone, so I got the family's other spare car, the '73 Cougar. That lasted me till I was about to start senior year of high school, then my folks helped me get the '96 T-bird.

  45. Froggmann_ Avatar

    What a coincidence! I just found a pick of ol' Blew. My dad's 1984 Crew Cab Dually.
    <img src="http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q53/Froggmann/Misc/Previous%20Cars/001.jpg&quot; width="600" img="">
    Yes that's my 14 year old self in the photo.

  46. Ryan Light Avatar
  47. zaddikim Avatar

    In order, more or less –
    Late 60's Volvo – manual transmission.
    1978 Bronco – 351W, 4spd
    1974 Super Beetle – 1600CC of pure…air-cooled wheezing.
    The Bug, I still maintain, is one of the best cars to use as a learning tool for the art and science of driving.
    Not enough power (in stock form) to get you into trouble, yet _just_ enough to get you out of it. No power-anything, so no stupid crap to break, and since there is no power-anything (steering, brakes, etc.) you get the pure, unfiltered mechanical feel of driving.

  48. Hopman Avatar

    I first got behind the wheel on my dad's old Areins riding lawn mover. My I then learned to drive in out old '87 K5 Blazer. Dad figured I couldn't hurt it too bad.
    Last but not least, I earned my CDL-A (and learned how to drive a stick shift on) a 2005 Freightliner Century.

  49. TheOnlyCannoli Avatar

    I was fortunate I guess. I learned to drive in a Fiat.

  50. Paul_y Avatar

    I took driver's ed classes in a dismal '97 Altima.
    …but I did much of my early driving in a 1986 Buick Electra Estate – 9 vinyl seats, fake wood, the works. It had the same dimensions and handling characteristics as a barge. I loved it.

  51. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    Basic vehicular operations in a parking lot: my parts car (1989 Volvo 244DL).
    Ordinary commuting and parking: our spare car (1997 Mercury Mystique).
    Driver's ed: theirs (2003 Chevy Impala)
    Hoonage: mine (also a 1989 244DL, in far better shape).
    Manual gearbox, adequately: Mum's car (2001 New Beetle turbo).
    The Volvos are perfect – slow, but not dangerously so (despite what my mother claims when she has to drive it), excellent visibility (especially compared to any modern car/SUV), rear-wheel-drive, and with slightly heavier steering than many non-sporting cars (even my grandfather's Forester felt like the front wheels were on ice when I last drove it). Most of all, the panels are thicker than most – my friend used to weigh about twice what I do (he was somewhere in the mid-high 200s) and barrel-rolled across my hood a few times, leaving almost no warping – and the bumpers are legendarily sturdy.
    The Impala was the worst car I've ever driven. Not the worst car, perhaps – it was a perfectly serviceable appliance – but outside of passenger comfort, everything was wrong with it. The handling wasn't (even vaguer than my grandfather's Sable wagon; I swear the steering wheel in the Impala was attached to a sleeve bearing with an optical sensor guiding a motor that turned the wheels), the accelerator didn't (at least the torque steer in the Sable is entertaining, but no, this Impala was a 3.4), and the brakes refused to (no ABS, even, on a driver's ed car; the brakes are another aspect of the Sable that, while twitchy, are hardly lacking). Ugly as sin, too, and the rear visibility was just as bad as any modern sedan's (I'm used to a Volvo, after all).
    The Mistake, well, that would have been a genuinely good car if it had had a five-speed manual (like my mother's old '95 Contour) instead of the CD4E that tried to shake the car apart at idle and never managed to shift when it was meant to. Sadly, it wasn't, because it didn't. My grandfather donated it to charity.

  52. Lacy Prinzivalli Avatar

    Tractor is a machine that is used to perform heavy work. Work of tractor can do depends on its size, number of attachments, and capacity. Tractors are always used for agriculture purposes, as they perform each and every activity in a field from plowing to cutting. Technically, a tractor is an engine of the truck trailer vehicle. If you’re looking for lawn tractor ratings I put together a site.

  53. kyle Avatar

    the first car i drove was my dads porsche gt2. i loved it and now have my own carrera!