friday friday. early october 2010

los corrals y el 1966 dodge dart

los corrals back in the day

well, it’s all fun and games until someone gets poked in the eye.   damn.

i was all set to wax poetic about darlene, our 1966 dodge dart that was our every day driver for a bunch of years when we lived in portland, oregon.  …i guess i still will…

gil and our 66 dart

gil and darlene

i had been harassing gil for an old car for as long as either of us could remember.  so late 1999 he caved and we started looking.  and looking.  and we drove a LOT of very large cars.  1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s models.  you know, where you look out the hood and it really is quite remarkable how much car is in front of you.  and you could fit five of your buddies in the trunk all at once.  if that’s your sort of thing.

darlene in our driveway, getting ready to sell her.

then one day, deep in outer se pdx, we found her.

a 1966 dodge dart that had been taken care of by a viejito out in eastern oregon.  nice dry weather, garaged, and even a gas journal that was kept up for many many years from the 60’s thru the 70’s was in the glove compartment.  we visited her faithfully for a about a week while we weighed the pros and cons. (those who know us know we can really belabor a purchase.) finally, we pulled the trigger and paids the price of admission.

gil and my pa checking out darlene

YEY.  oh man!  not to say she didn’t torment gil some (lots.)  had to replace a bunch of items …?  i used to know all this so well!  all the terms.  well, it didn’t have enough electric current to do things like use your windshield wipers, listen to the radio, have the headlights on and use your blinker all at the same time.  even if you took the radio out of the mix, night driving could get challenging.  so he started with that.  then elements of the dashboard would shake their fist at us and stop working.  and there was the infernal leak around the windshield on the passenger side which would let water in whenever it rained.  which it did in portland, oregon.  on occasion.

oh darlene!

oh man, tho.  she was a JOY to drive!  a bench seat in the front…and a head turning grrrooowl when she started up.  gil drove (and still drives) our toyota tacoma pickup so darlene was my car for driving around town during the week and our family car on the weekend.  soooooo many times i would get out of the car and some very earnest car guy would hurry over and start talking to me about really technical mopar grease monkey stuff.  like how to gap the spark plugs for the best performance, or how slant six engine is the best one ever built.  also, in pdx gas stations are full serve.  most gas-pumper guys would have to stand there and hold the filler-upper thingy since the shape of the tank didn’t allow the little lever to catch for non-holding filling.  but there was my favorite (toothless, dirtrocker) gas pumper guy at a station near our home who knew that if you put the pumper-thingy in upside down, it would catch and he could attend to other motorist while darlene got her fuel.  i was so impressed.  he liked being impressive.

me, cv in my belly, and darlene's old manifold

and then, and THEN we were waiting for the arrival of miss cv, and she was born about a month before expected (altho i really think the drs. were a month off in their assessment, cuz she was crazy healthy and ready to go) and caught us a bit off guard.  so i’m on all fours in darlene’s back seat, while gil drives like a bat out of hell through five o’clock rush hour traffic…on curbs, half on sidewalks, running red lights…and cv was born about two minutes after we got to the hospital.  it was AWESOME!  gil got me upstairs and cv was born.  then he went back downstairs to move darlene from right in front of the emergency room entrance.  he’s a bit pumped on adrenaline but focuses and finds we had left both doors flung open, the keys in the ignition, and his cellphone and wallet on the front seat.  the security guard was leaning on the car to make sure no one messed with it.  right on.  then when gil started her to move, realized she was running on empty (more or less) and powered through the carburetor trouble we’d been having.  but she dutifully moved to a better parking spot.  oh darlene.

big beautiful brown eyes!

so about a year and a half after chloeviolet was born, we decide to move to maine and figured darlene won’t be the best in the ice and snow…so we sell her.  and we felt like maybe we should have a more adult car, i think.

well, i really really want another 1966 dodge dart.  and it really has to be a 1966.  i love the square headlights.  and of course the slant six engine that gets similar gas mileage to our 4-cylinder toyota truck. and and and.  so i’m always looking at this or that…and today.  of all damn things.  i’m cruising online to find photos to illustrate the post i have brewing in my head.

hanging out on our back deck, darlene tucked in, too.

i found a picture of her.  HER.  on line.  i can totally tell.   same gas stain.  same (well, more progressed, but same pattern) rust on top.  same dent by the front left headlight where my pa accidentally clipped her while trying to parallel park near genie’s cafe on division.  the only thing i’m not positive about are the hubcaps…

curtis gregory perry's dodge dart photo from his flickr stream

curtis gregory perry's dodge dart photo from his flickr stream

sigh.  SIGH.  a poke in the eye.  or the heart.

oh man, i almost forgot.  coupon code.  if you order from or today, tell me your most fave car ever in the note to seller box.  wait for an adjusted invoice of 15% off your order.* (*for orders over $45 only, and as always, gold items excluded.)



4 responses to “friday friday. early october 2010

  1. so so so super sweet.

  2. That TOTALLY made me cry. Coco! No way! Oh my goodness. The Portland stuff, the car, the old pictures. Live’s little moments can be so wonderful sometimes.

    My favorite car ever was of course my 1968 PINK VW Bug.

  3. Hey there.

    I’m the guy who took the picture at the bottom of the page. I was just wandering around Lloyd Center in 2006 taking pictures when I came across this beauty. Coincidentally, I used to own a ’66 Dart myself when I lived in California, though it was a beige station wagon. It too had that gas stain down the side. Fun car, though. I wouldn’t mind having another one someday.

    Great story, and I’m glad you found the picture of your old car. Here’s another picture of her:

    '66 Dodge Dart GT


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