My First Love

Similar to Betsy but without the stripes

When I saw my first love, I was not in love with her. She looked old and tired. She had faded paint; her engine needed some work and her tires were not in great shape. You see, I was in my sophomore year in college and needed a vehicle to get from my classes and to my jobs. My dear mother decided to “sell” me her first car, Betsy. Betsy was a 1973 Ford Torino and she looked old. I protested that I didn’t want an old broken down car. Mother reminded me that I had very little credit and no money.

She said she was being kind by only charging me $500 and I can “pay” her in installments. This pretty much meant that she was giving it to me. I reluctantly submitted to her suggestion and I grudgingly accepted Betsy. That’s when my brothers went to work. They stripped Betsy’s paint off and gave her a new paint job: lime green with pin stripes (flames at that). They pulled her engine apart and gave her new parts; they made the engine more powerful. They gave her mag wheels in the back. They had to take out the front seat and put steel plates down to build the seat high enough for me to see over the steering wheel. Yes. I’m that vertically challenge and this was before automatic seats!

When my brothers were done with Betsy, she looked so new. I couldn’t help but do my happy dance and gave them hugs. Throughout the process, they gave me lessons on how cars worked. I had to learn about the carburetor, the camp shaft, pushrods, air filter, oil filer, transmission, gas line, pc valve, solenoid starter, water pump, and most of the parts on a car. They taught me how to change a tire and change the oil. They wanted me to know how to care for Betsy before they sent me out on the road, on a drive more than two and half hours away. To this day, I am grateful to them that I know how to change a flat tire whenever I am forced to do so.

Betsy was a powerhouse. When I turned the keys to start her up, her V8 engine roared to life. Because of her weight, she sat so well on the road and the ride was so smooth. The only challenge was in the snow. Betsy was a rear-wheel drive, thus prone to spinouts on wet and snowy surfaces. Other than that, we work great together. My friends called her the Green Hornet because of her color. Sometimes I could fit 10 of us inside Betsy and go college hopping.  She was our limo when we went from town to town visiting different campuses.

I got my first speeding ticket in Betsy. I was late for class and I had an exam that day.  I was flying down the high way when I saw the flashing light. At first, I wasn’t sure that it was me the cop was after until he got on his speaker and told me to pull over. When he came up to ask me for my license and registration, he was amazed that I was driving the car. He said, “What is a little lady like you doing driving such a big car? I clocked you doing 75 miles in a 55 zone.” I guess it didn’t help that I said: “ You see how I handled her!” I got the ticket. L I should have been happy, I know I was doing pretty near 100 at some point!

I used to love drag racing in Betsy. Yeah, you read it right. What else was there to do in Albany, NY! The place was dead except for the colleges. Besides, there was an area in the mostly suburban (if you want to call it that…more liker rural) part of the town. After 8 p.m.  there was hardly any traffic. That’s were we would race. I chalk it up to being young, dumb and bored…not a great combination for longevity.

One night our friend Timmy came to visit. He had graduated the year before and gotten a swanky job at Wang, a technology company that paid him a lot of money. He bought a DeLorean. I challenge him to a race. Poor Betsy, by the time she got to 90, Timmy’s DeLorean was all the way up the highway. She did give it her best though.

When I graduated from college, Betsy was having some trouble. She kept breaking down and costing me so much money to fix her. I guess all the racing and highway driving finally got to her. It almost broke my heart when I sold her to one of my coworkers. It was like losing a friend. No matter how many cars I have had since Betsy, she will always be my first love!

Live a Diamond Life!  Live a Life of Purpose!

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Leave a comment


  1. bohemianbabushka

     /  October 25, 2012

    Just goes to show you what a total rehaul can do to older models. BB’s looking forward to hers!! ; ) BB2U

  2. Absolutely Babushka!


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