According to what my mom told me as a kid, my dad also loved British sports cars when they were dating in the late 50s. He also liked to race
autocross (gymkhana?) and spent his money
frivolously, so she took over his finances, which is how she managed to save up enough money
for him to get that car.
They got married in Yokosuka and around the summer of '59, he came home all excited and told her he'd put a $500 deposit down on a MB 190SL and it would arrive in about 9 months, at which time the $4,500 balance was due. She flipped out because that was a lot of money, especially for a CPO in the Navy
who only made $500/mo. He countered that because of her thriftiness, they already had the $4,500 saved up in the bank.
She countered with her own good news - she was pregnant! Where were they going to put the baby in a 2 seater? His reply - there's a sideways seat in the back, more like a package tray, actually. A couple of months later, his parents wrote that they were behind on property taxes
and needed $4,500 or they'd lose the ranch. She told him, "That's fine - it's not a ranch, it's a dilapidated old house with a bunch of junk in the backyard!"
He mailed them a check anyway and she went nuts! She made him sell his car (Jensen Healey? something like that) , reduced his beer
and cigarette allowance, made him ride a bike to work, they moved out of their apartment and in with her girl friend who didn't charge them rent. She worked at the Officer's Club on base and worked longer shifts, brought home all of their meals
from work, flirted a little for better tips and sold the discarded, opened but refilled Log Cabin
syrup cans to friends for $5 ea. By the time the car arrived in March of 1960, not only did they have the money saved up to take delivery
, I also arrived.
Dad died in Vietnam
in Feb. 1965 and mom kept the car, his flight jacket and a few pictures of him. I remember falling asleep in the package tray and waking up in Santa Monica, or visiting dad's folks in San Pedro, or in AZ as we explored the southwest US in that car.
I grew up washing
and waxing that car with Johnson's paste wax and my mom often referred to it as my brother. When I was 11 or 12, I spent a few weeks under it, painting the entire undercarriage with undercoating. When I was 15, I started sitting in it, practicing how to shift gears. I practiced in it, with mom screaming in my ear. LOL
I took off the top and took my driving test in it at 15-1/2 and got a very good score, with the driving tester shaking his head
and grinning the whole time.
In 1991, the hot car was the Mazda Miata and mom just had to have one. I managed to find her a brand new one about $10k below the usual markup and she drove that thing like she stole it. In 1997, she also wanted a Camry as her 2nd car so she finally gave me "my brother" to make room in her garage.
It's sitting in my garage now, protected by a car cover and two layers of thick quilts in case anything falls. It hasn't been driven since 1991 when the Miata replaced it as her sports car, but it still has the protective plastic on the door panels
from when it was delivered. Considering that it never once broke down or left us stranded, Bosch did a pretty good job on the electrical