1930 Buick Seven-Passenger Phaeton Advertisement
(this is a 1931 vehicle shown in ad--See the wire wheels? 1930 Buick had wood spoke wheels)
Today was a gorgeous, warm sunny day in the Northwest. By 9:30 in the morning it was already warm enough to drive with the windows open. What better weather to back my dad's 1930 Buick Seven-Passenger Phaeton out of the garage and get my first driving lesson. I called my parents.
"Okay," they said, "meet you in an hour."
My father, Ralph, started it up and backed it out of the garage. He let it idle while we looked for the front passenger floorboard, which we could not find. We had removed the floorboard to attach the trickle-charger to the battery a few days ago. Oops. We hope it did not get thrown away.
We piled in, along with a neighbor that happened to be walking by, and my father drove us around the block a couple of times, smooth as satin on a hoop skirt.
Then I got behind the wheel. "So what is this here?" I asked.
"That is the parking brake," Ralph explained patiently.
"Okay, so what is all this stuff on the steering wheel?"
"You don't have to worry about that, just put it into gear and ease out the clutch," he said.
Ralph's shoulders met his ears, but he didn't say a word.
I heard a whimper.
Griinnd. Okay, it was in first. I eased out the clutch and we jerked forward, eehhaa eehhaa eehhaaaaa.
"Give it less gas," Ralph shouted as our necks snapped back and forth.
"More gas," my mother, Luanne, mewled from the back.
"Oooooh, my--" my sister, Nina, moaned.
"Put it in second," my dad shouted.
"That's reverse," he groaned on a sob.
"Sorry," I said.
"We're coming to a stop sign. Go right," my sister warned. "Start stopping now, now. It doesn't have ABS."
"Put in the clutch," Ralph wheezed.
"Signal your turn," Luanne cautioned.
We jerked up to the stop and I ground it into gear.
"That's reverse again," Ralph panted. I glanced at him and noticed his eyes were unfocused and his knuckles were white where he gripped the dashboard.
"Sorry." I ground it into first and we jerked to the right. After a while I decided to put it in second.
Groans came from all areas of the car. When I let out the clutch the car jerked and moaned, jerked more, shimmied.
"Try third," Ralph pleaded.
I pushed in the clutch, pulled down the gearshift and it slid into third with only a short grrrrrthunk. As I eased out the clutch, it responded in a smooth transition from bucking bronc to carriage horse. We were off, all around the residential streets, honking the four-note horn, waving, driving into the golf course parking lot, swinging a wide u-turn, back out onto the street, around a couple more blocks, dodging bicyclists, dashing past dogs on leashes, swerving around girl scouts with armloads of cookie boxes.
We finally slid to a stop in front of the house and I applied the brake. We all hopped out. Except Ralph.
"Dad?" I said. I waved my hand in front of his face. "Dad, it is okay. I've stopped driving it." He began to suck in great gulps of air and color returned to his face. His eyes refocused.
"Want me to drive it into the garage?" I asked.
"NO." He began to cough and Luanne thumped him on the back a five or six times. "No, I'll pull it in, thank you."
I think it went pretty well. I can barely wait to get it on the freeway.