Cars We Used to Date

On yesterday’s First Date post, Geewits recalled one of her first dates saying:

Dad wasn’t worried because he knew I was only interested in the date because of the car. It was a little yellow convertible sports car. I loved that car.

This reminded me that the dating criteria in my high school were also car-based. Things seem to be a little different when kids live in a city where there is some form of public transportation (not Ottawa, obviously) or where they can walk to movies or restaurants or other entertainment venues.

As I’ve mentioned a million times, however, I grew up rural and went to a high school where everyone’s family were farmers. You were either yellow-bussed to school or you drove a car. And if you were a guy and didn’t have a car, you didn’t date. End of story.

And, guys were rated on their dateability first and foremost according to the type of car they drove. Sad but true.

The guys who drove Corvettes, Cameros,  Trans Ams, Mustangs and MGBs, no matter how creepy they were, (and the Corvette guys were seriously creepy) could get a date with any girl they wanted. At least one date anyway.

Barracudas, Chargers, Challengers, Roadrunners, GTXs and such were second in the string of hot date cars.

Lots of guys, of course, had pick-up trucks and they appealed to a certain group of girls, especially if the trucks were “souped-up”. We didn’t really know what that meant aside from that it made the truck look a lot cooler than our Dads’ pick-ups.

But it was sexy climbing high into the cab and squirming and sliding out of those things in a skirt. And it was fun sitting close to your date, straddling the hump, with his arm around you while the pick-up bumped and jiggled along country roads with little or no shocks. And every so often your date would reach between your legs with his only free hand,  steering with his legs, so he could shift that big, long gear stick up and down, over and up, down and over, way over…

Um…where was I?

Oh ya, at the bottom of the date car barrel were El Caminos, Rancheros, Pacers, Dodge Darts, Comets, Novas and station wagons. You really had to be madly crushing on a guy to date him if he was driving one of these. It was better for a guy to have no car of his own and borrow his parents’ Buick than show up in an El Camino.

Some guys had motorcycles. They were considered to be ultra-cool, bad boy guys, but no girl really wanted to go out on a date on a motorcycle. And no guy in his right mind would even propose a motorcycle date, unless he had his own place,  because there’s really not a lot of make-out space on a motorcycle.

And speaking of make-out space, we mustn’t forget The Vans.

Vans were in a category all on their own. I’m not talking the 7-seater family mini-van we’re all familiar with today. I’m talking the Custom Chevy Van. All tricked out with wall-to-wall-to-wall shag carpet, sleeping bags, a sofa, big honkin’ speakers and many of the other comforts of home.



Man, you better have been ready to put out if you accepted a date with a guy who drove one of these babies.

And speaking of putting out, what sort of criteria do you reckon the guys used when deciding which girl to ask out?


43 responses to “Cars We Used to Date

  1. I was about to say what Bandobras said. As long as a girl is alive, it’s all good.

    And shag carpet has got to be the creepiest thing in the world.

  2. Ellie – Not the putting out criteria anyway. She’s smart and beautiful and talented– maybe that’s this boy’s criteria, in which case he’s wonderful

    Jobthingy – See coment above.

    Bandobras – I don’t know. There have always been plenty of girls who were breathing who would happily have gone out with anyone, but nobody asked them. So I’m postive other screening was done.

    Lynn – Actually, he usually drives the family van (of the 7-seater mini van variety), but he’s borrowing the “good” car for the date

    Dave – A Gremlin, right? Ha ha. My longest-term high school boyfriend used to drive around in his parents’ Pacer. Man, was that an embarassing car. Not only because it was a Pacer, but also because it had like 360 degrees of windows so you couldn’t get up to anything anywhere in the car without everyone seeing you.

    Jazz – They don’t call it shag carpeting for nothing. And like I said to Bandobras, guys say that, but they all still just go after all the hottest girls in the school even if they, themselves, are complete drips. And then they complain that girls won’t go out with them because they’re not studley enough.

    Dr. Monkey – Because of the shag carpeting, right?

  3. Good God XUP – too hilarious

    I grew up rural – and all too true

    Learned to drive in a ’67 3 on the Tree pickup

    We ‘upgraded’ to a ’77 pickup –

    My first car that was my own was a ’76 AMC pacer

    oh god it was pathetic

  4. The “not quiet as cool but still creepy” addition to this list is something I recall seeing at my highschool but not anywhere else – a STATION WAGON dressed up as a “shaggin’ wagin”.
    I owned a Camaro in high school and couldn’t get laid in a whorehouse with a 100 dollar bill hanging out of my zipper.

  5. My first ‘serious’ boyfriend (who later became my husband, and even later became my ex-husband) had no car. We went on dates in my mom’s car — a station wagon. Those rear seats fold flat, did you know that?

    He had a friend who we used to double date with. The friend drove a bright yellow barracuda. The steering wheel was made from fused steel chain links. I thought it was the coolest car in the universe.

  6. Ooo, and one thing I remember from highschool — the shag-carpeted vans had murals of scantily clad warrior chicks and Conan the Barbarian dudes airbrushed on them. Or maybe that was just a Windsor, Ontario thing….

  7. Bob – I think they do because there have always been a lot of dateless girls.

    Missy – You’ve never seen the inside of a tricked out Chevy Van? Wow. Go to a vintage car show sometime. They were super cool. Scary. But cool. (not that I’d know)

    Elliotross – What? You had a sexy pick-up and you bought a Pacer? That’s the most anti-makeout car ever built. All windows, for pete’s sake! And so wide, your date is almost across the street when you’re in it.

    Lebowski – I find that very hard to believe, dude, because you were smokin’ hot as a teenager. AND a Camero? You are such a liar.

  8. You have to be 17 before you can even start to learn to drive in the UK and it is almost unheard of for anyone still at school to have a car, or even access to a car. I am wracking my brains trying to think of what the UK equivalent of grading guys according to their cars would be, and all I can come up with is what clothes they wore, which is a bit lame.

  9. Hmm, I was never lured by a guy’s vehicle. By the time I was dating, I was usually the one driving because I lived outside Dartmouth city limits while they usually lived inside it. And I was (am?) a control freak — I’d rather be able to kick the guy out of my car than have to find my own way home after jumping ship. My vehicle of choice was my Dad’s king cab pickup truck — gotta love those fold down back seats. Um, helped christen Portland Estates when it was still under constuction in that truck. 😉

  10. I passed through my teens in far Northern BC. Pick-up trucks were the only way to go… preferably with an (illegal home-brewed) lift-kit or two, roll bar, 4WD, winch on the front, and a steering wheel made of chain welded together. I can still spot a Dodge grill at 500 meters as a result of the days spent with that particular boyfriend… *grins*

  11. Loth – Ya, cars don’t feature as prominently in the UK, Europe or anywhere else in the world, except maybe Australia, as they do in the North of America. Maybe “footie” and guys who play is a hot date item over there? I don’t know. I get all my UK knowledge from Coronation Street and there it seems to be footie or money.

    Louise – You must be a lot younger than I am. No female would admit to having a driver’s license in my day. We all did, but I think we were automatically labelled lesbians if we admitted it. I’m sorry. It was in the stone age,

    Susan – Wasn’t it cool when we knew what all the cars were? I was thinking that earlier. I used to be able to tell a car make and model by its headlights. Now they all look the same and I wouldn’t know what anything was if I examined it at length.

    Lebowski – See email.

  12. What a funny post! 🙂

    I must admit that one of my favorite “cars,” while in college, was a motorcycle. Holding on tightly for dear life was so much fun. What a rush! Oh, those were the days.

    Thank goodness my baby is just 3-yrs old…I have some time to prepare myself for her silly antics. 🙂

  13. XUP, not a lot younger, but probably a few years. And I not only had a drivers license, I had (and still have) a motorcycle license.

  14. Oh man, I WISH the car thing was still in effect today. I’ve never had a guy drive me anywhere. I’ve driven lots of guys places, but I was a keener with my license. And, of course, now that I’m in University, the longest I walk to hang out with a guy is a 30 second walk across the Quad. Sigh.

  15. I grew up in the city, so none of us had cars. Not even the guys. We were expected to walk everywhere.

    But totally moot point, because not one single guy asked me out on a date in high school.

    Excuse me while I go re-live the sorry wallflower existence I lived.

  16. I dated my first boyfriend mainly because I was 15 and he was 16 and had a car. It was a white Vauxhall Viva. The next one had a Ford Pinto. The next one had a Trans Am. The one I eventually married had a Datsun 240Z into which he dropped at V8 engine. The one I am with now has a Porsche 944 S2.
    Do we see a theme here???

  17. i’ve been told by many men that what bandobras says is true. as another commenter said, it’s not true for all guys. if your daughter is anything like you, i’d say he’s smart enough to know when he sees someone special.

  18. Ironically, after dating the two sports cars and finding both of those guys very “BLEH,” I never thought about cars again. When I was 19 I was picked up in a Jensen Interceptor III and thought it was a Toyota.

    The one guy in our high school with a custom van started dating a girl with a very nice rack and eyebrows were raised all around. They are still married. I even have them as facebook friends.

    Oh and so true about corvettes. Eeew, ick.

  19. Dating yourself with those cars and that pic 😉
    I never had a car myself through school, had to ride around trying to look cool in my parents Chevy Caprice Classic with the wood-grain paneling… (now i’m dating myself!) The only redeeming feature was that the entire back seat area folded down into a big bed 😛
    Growing up in Northern Ontario, I don’t think there was much of a status with cars in school – basically, if you had access to one – you were a god…

  20. haha! love this. growing up a little bit country, some guys actually drove tractors to school! no one seemed to discriminate, as long as you had wheels, you were cool.
    i dated a vespa moped and a harley, which left the winter months kinda lonely….. 🙂

  21. CP – Oh ya, the motorcycle was great for going for rides. Motorcycle guys were very popular, but they still needed a car to date.

    Louise – Cool. Do you have a bike? What kind?

    Davis – Ya, we had it made in the shade. You’ve NEVER had a “car date”? That’s so sad.

    UP – That’s outrageous! And you’re such a babe, too. See, and here are all these guys trying to say that they would have been happy to date any woman who said yes. Big disconnect somewhere.

    LGS – Oh ya? Did you all read Urban Panther’s comment? Explain that.

    Pinklea – Trading up, girl! Trading up. I see the car criteria has evolved for you.

    Leah – That’s another reason why I want to meet him — to see if, and make sure he knows he’s with someone special.

    Geewits – Jensen Interceptor III ?? I’ve never heard of that, but I looked it up and that is one hot car.

    Ian – You just contradicted yourself saying no status with cars and following that up with if you had a car you were a god. Perhaps slightly different criteria, but still…

    Meanie – Tractors, eh? No one ever drove a tractor to our school and we were very rural. But a Vespa and a Moped? What were you thinking girl? At least you eventually traded up to a Harley.

    Deb – Oddly, beer wasn’t a big hit in my day. We were more into hard liquor and soft drugs or sometimes soft liquor and hard drugs. In any case, you didn’t need much of a trunk for either.

  22. Ian – Ya, I know… different sort of standard, but still the car was the focus of the criteria. Still features prominently in all of our lives.

  23. I guess I was weird in H.S., my car wasn’t a big deal to me. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal because I didn’t need a make out spot.

    My girlfriend’s mother was divorced and going through a midlife crisis. She (the mother) opened her house up to us to do whatever we wanted. Really. She encouraged us to enjoy ourselves (have sex) in the house. Her attitude was, “Don’t do what I did, get married to the first guy she met and never sowed her wild oats.”

    Oh yeah, she from time to time would also buy us wine/beer to help our romantic evenings. These days they’d throw her in jail for corruption of minors.

    Did we complain back then? NOT.

  24. Oh yeah, I am older (46) and that was back in the 70’s. People were still holding onto the free love and self-indulgence of the 60’s and early 70’s.

    Before AIDS, before Just Say No.

  25. Reeky – Ah, the good old days. If my daughter has a long-term steady boyfriend and she’s sure that she’s ready to have sex with him and they’re being responsible, I would rather she does it in our house – her own territory than in some car or park or wherever kids get down these days. I also have no objection to my daughter having a glass of wine or beer as she’s not driving and can enjoy it without abusing it. But I wouldn’t give it to other people’s kidsl — that’s just not on. I don’t suppose this free-love chicky is the one you married??

  26. Check criteria number 1. There are lots of women that give/gave the impression they won’t go out with you even if inside they are dying for a date.
    No guy I knew in HS would set themselves up for the extreme, mortal, got to go die now or join the foreign legion horror, of asking someone out and then being turned down.
    So number 1 was do you think she’ll say yes.
    The breathing part was always kinda nice too.
    Thinking she might say yes to other things was ok too.

  27. you know what’s funny? i thought my parents would be outraged that i was dating boys with two wheels, but now i know they were likely secretly pleased that there were no seats to fold down, no shag carpets…..

  28. No, she wasn’t the one I married. Luckily for everyone involved, I waited to get married. It took two+ decades after that for me to grow up and rippened into anything remotely considered marrying material.

    I hope to have the same mindset as you when my kiddies grow up. Open mind and open dialogue.

  29. Bandobras – Probably guys lost out on a lot of good dates if they were that petrified. How the hell would he know if she was going to say yes unless he asked? I know there have been plenty of times when I talked to a guy I knew ages ago who told me he wanted to ask me out at some point in the past but figured I’d say no, when lots of times I actually would have said yes. So there.

    Meanie – Gee I don’t know. I think I’d rather have her out in a car than tripping around on a Harley.

    Reeky – You will, dude and if you don’t your blog readers will set you straight!