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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tell Us About Your First Car

By Miguel Caparros

Strangely enough I have not put on paper much about my first car. It was 1968, I was attending Plymouth High School in New Hampshire. I had my learners permit at 14 and could not wait until my 16th birthday to legally get on the road with out an adult. Your past rules your future and mine was thick with European car influences. Among those that influenced me was my apprenticeship teacher,Claude Meder who was an ex works driver for Peugeot, Renault and Dyna Panhard, also my fathers rally tested Peugeot 404 made me want one of my own. I wanted a car that was up to the challenge of the back roads of rural New England, a young man's dreams of the Monte Carlo Rally or the East Africa Safari Rally. I was destined to race with the best, so I needed a world class car to cut my teeth on. Besides my father's 404 a few VW's there were not many foreign cars in central New Hampshire, except for this grey Peugeot 403 that I would see in town every so often. One day I approached the driver of the car and asked him if he was interested in selling it. The answer was yes, as anything he drove was for sale, he was the owner of the local junk yard in Plymouth. The car was a 1959. It ran and shifted well, the sun roof worked and it had all the things a proper New England car has, rust holes here and there but for the most part it was in good shape. The 4 on the tree confounded my friends and the American hot rodder in me wanted to convert it to a floor shift. The French must have had a very serious problem with hub cap theft as all of our French cars had caps that bolted on to the center. $125.00 dollars exchanged hands and I now owned the Junk Mans Car. First thing I did was to take it home and clean it. After I washed it I started to polish the paint with compound. The grey chalky color came off on the polishing cloth and below was a light green color with some great shine.  All the bright trim on the Peugeot's was stainless steel and after I polished all the trim and bumpers it was another car altogether. The summer of this car was full of adventures and happy times that are still fresh in my mind, "give or take a lie or two".

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