Linda's Dream Car
1. Bill Ross bought his first car in the summer of 1943, before his 16th birthday. Since he couldn't legally drive it, he tinkered with the engine until he was old enough to get his driver's license. It was a 1934 Oldsmobile Sport Coupe.
2. 1938 Plymouth – Dad said it was a real lemon!
3. 1939 midnight blue Cadillac Series 75 Imperial 7-passenger limousine. This is the car he was driving when he dated my Mom. He bought this car from Greenlease Cadillac. It was not brand new, but had been used by the Greenlease family as their personal vehicle. (Value today estimated at $80,000.)
4. 1947 light blue Buick. Bill and Betty drove this car to take Della (Dad's mother) to Chicago to reunite with Mason Miller Ross (aka "the old man"). They had a flat tire near Hannibal, Missouri on the way back. Betty had wanted to visit Hannibal because it was Mark Twain's birthplace. The car came with a scissor jack, but with the tire flat, the jack wouldn't fit underneath the car. Someone stopped to help them and used their bumper jack to raise up the car enough so that the scissor jack could be used to change the tire. Dad said, "After the trip to Chicago we went down to see Betty's folks and went on down to Bull Shoals to see the new dam that Lem had worked on. Took the Ferry across the lake."
5. 1950 Nash Rambler -- Dad bought this car in 1953, sometime after I was born. He said, "The Nash Rambler was a small version of the Nash. It was yellow like the picture in your E-mail. It was an economical car to drive. That is why I bought it while I was working for the American National Ins. Co. The reason I sold it was because the front wheel suspension broke twice dropping the car down on the wheel (makes it hard to drive). It was similar in size to a VW."
6. 1941 Pontiac Torpedo. Dad told me, "In 1954 when I was having so much trouble with the Rambler I bought a 1941 Pontiac. It was dark Brown with a slanted back. I think it was called a torpedo model. It was the car that would not start the night your Mama said it was time to go to the Hospital (March 25, 1955) so we had to call a cab and take you to Leota Halloran's on the way to the Hospital. Dick arrived after Midnight." He also said the "41 Pontiac was a good car for the money, it cost $75.00."
7. 1950 Buick Special. It had a Dyna Flow transmission that slipped a lot. The estimate to have it fixed was high, so Dad started pouring regular motor oil in the transmission to avoid fixing it. By doing this he was able to drive the car for another year. Dad bought this car after he and Mom were married (August 18, 1951) and he used to drive it downtown to pick Mom up from work. He told me about the time he was involved in an accident in this car. He had the right of way, but the woman driving a Chevrolet (whose last name was Ross) thought he had a stop sign and pulled out in front of him. He hit his brakes and nothing happened, and he hit her. He said it knocked all the bars out of the front grill. Both drivers had to appear in court and the other driver told the judge it was her fault. She was not fined, but Dad had to attend traffic school for a week. Dad told me he took the car in to have it fixed and they couldn't find anything wrong with it. When he left the dealership he headed downtown to pick up Mom, and at about 15th and McGee the traffic light turned red. He hit his brakes and "sailed on through" the light. The brakes had gone out again. He took the car to another mechanic, who found that the hydraulic plunger was loose and would get stuck and not go down. Those were the only two times the brakes failed. Replacing the master cylinder fixed the brake problem.
8. 1957 green Studebaker – Dad's first brand new car. It was a Scotsman model (a stripped down Champion with only a heater and AM radio). He put a piece of plywood in the back seat floor to build a level bed so that Dick and I could sleep on trips to Grandma's house. He later traded this car for a carton of cigarettes in the 1960s after it sat in our yard on Colonel Drive for a while, and Dick and I decided to "customize" it by painting the interior with house paint and fingernail polish.
9. 1955 green & white Buick, bought from Nash, a man that Dad knew who owned a restaurant on the Independence square. The picture below shows the 1955 Buick in the driveway, and the 1957 Studebaker parked on Colonel Drive.
10. 1962 red Buick Invicta convertible, bought from Dick Bloch. The Invicta series in 1962 had all of the features of the LaSabre plus Deluxe wheel covers and a four-barrel carburetor. 13,471 convertibles were produced at a factory price of $3,617. The Invicta name was derived from a Latin word that signifies unconquerable, invincible and unbeatable. The Invicta line joined the standard size Buick LeSabre body with Buick's big block 401 cubic inch Nailhead V8 engine. Nicknamed "the banker's hot rod," it delivered 325 horsepower at 4,400 rpm and 445 pound feet of torque at 2,800 mm. Dick said, "Mom loved to floor it and hear the 4 barrel kick in!". (In 1971-72 Dad decided to sell the car. He was asking $150 and I wanted to buy it, but Mom said no, so Dad sold the car to Lloyd Cook. When someone stole it from Lloyd, he drove up and down the streets of KC until he found and recovered it. He worked as a collection agent and sometimes repossessed cars.)
11. 1968 yellow Volkswagen convertible with automatic stick shift – Mom's car. Dick and I learned to drive in this car. It was pale yellow and had a black convertible top.
12. 1971 or 1972 blue Buick LeSabre (1971 pictured below).
13. 1972 red Volkswagen Superbeetle with automatic stick shift. This car was Mom's car, and it was a lemon. We had a lot of trouble with the automatic stickshift. The clutch was engaged when you grabbed the shifter, but on this car it did not work well.
14. 1974 maroon Chevy Malibu with a 350 cubic inch V8 engine. This was Mom's car and Isobel learned to drive in this car. Dick took it to Wisconsin after graduate school. He later had someone drive the car to Omaha, where Louis Zuniga picked up the car. Isobel and Louis had this car when Philip was about 2 years old. Dad finally ended up selling the car to Bill Blatt's son Ray for $250, and Ray got a lot of use out of it. This car probably sets the record for belonging to the most number of family members.
15. 1977 Naples Yellow Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham – later driven by Dad's sister, Grace Tothill, and finally donated to charity.
16. 1983 GMC Conversion Van with captain's chairs. Isobel says the van "was brown and the wheels were stolen off of it one night as it sat in the driveway. We woke up to find the van without wheels sitting on some firewood logs. The thieves were kind (?) enough, ha ha, to set it on logs. I took that van camping a few times, once with Tommy David at Watkins Mill and once with Lori at Smithville Lake. Fun times, and it was too windy for the huge tent so I slept in the van! Didn't Dad & I drive it out to Colorado for Linda's birthday? I know I went across Kansas in it, it floated!" Dad also described the van as "floating on the highway" with a soft suspension. Dad and Isobel drove the van to Colorado for my birthday in 1983, and the three of us took it to Wisconsin for Dick's wedding in 1986. Dad said that when he went to the dealership to trade in the van and buy the white Buick, the dealer sold the van before Dad left. A couple came in and couldn't believe how low the mileage on the van was. After confirming with Dad that this was the actual mileage, they bought the van on the spot.
17. 1985 or 1986 white Buick, which was about a year old. The owner of the dealership had been letting his father drive the car, so it had about 5000 miles on it. Dad later sold this car to Terri Lang for her mom. Pictured below are Dad and Philip in Wichita, 1988.
18. 1991 Red Blazer, sold to Linda for $1.00 in 1998 when Dad got his Envoy. The "dollar" cost about $35.00 and came from the coin shop in Longmont.
19. 1995 Gold Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. Dad drove this car to Colorado in 1996 with Isobel, Philip and Richie to visit us. He later loaned the car to Michelle, who ended up keeping it for about two years.
20. 1998 Silver GMC Envoy – Dad's current car.