My First Forty Cars

An Automotive Memoir

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About the Book

With a grandfather who drove a horse car in 1900 and who later had a 25-year career as a chauffeur for a wealthy family, Nelson Bolan has a unique viewpoint about the automotive industry during the first half of the 20th century. In later years, Bolan began his own car acquisitions. His first, a 1929 Chevrolet, was purchased for $100 in celebration of his brother’s safe return from World War II and his own high school graduation. It had an outside gasoline gauge, and if the driver forgot to read the gauge before getting into the driver’s seat, he had no way of knowing how much fuel he had. (Chevrolet made the change to dashboard gauges in 1930.) The car also had actual wooden floor boards, which were removed and reinstalled easily when servicing was necessary.
This automotive memoir includes a chapter for each of Bolan’s first forty cars, including photographs of the actual vehicles where possible. Most were well aged at the time of purchase; the earliest was a 1917 Dodge Brothers. A nostalgic but factual recollection of each car in the order it was acquired, the book includes interesting information about each model and Bolan’s mechanical adventures from the 1940s to the 1990s.

About the Author(s)

Nelson Bolan’s lifelong interest in cars led to a career in the automobile business. He lives in Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Nelson Bolan
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 208
Bibliographic Info: 79 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2003
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1624-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0681-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

1. 1929 Chevrolet      9
2. 1934 Oldsmobile      17
3. 1925 Dodge Brothers      25
4. 1921 Ford      35
5. 1923 Dodge Brothers      44
6. 1923 Lincoln      50
7. 1942 Chevrolet      59
8. 1939 Plymouth      62
9. 1941 Dodge      65
10. 1936 Dodge      67
11. 1917 Dodge Brothers      71
12. 1946 Hudson      84
13. 1940 Dodge      88
14. 1951 DeSoto      92
15. 1930 Ford      96
16. 1950 DeSoto      102
17. 1933 Franklin      111
18. 1949 Dodge      121
19. 1948 Plymouth      124
20. 1952 Mercury      128
21. 1955 Pontiac      131
22. 1938 Chrysler      133
23. 1955 Plymouth      138
24. 1940 Chrysler      142
25. 1938 Chrysler      146
26. 1950 Chrysler      148
27. 1962 Dodge      149
28. 1960 Plymouth      154
29. 1961 Plymouth      157
30. 1967 Plymouth      159
31. 1962 Dodge      167
32. 1962 Buick      172
33. 1967 Plymouth      175
34. 1964 Ford      178
35. 1971 Chevrolet      180
36. 1969 Dodge      182
37. 1969 Pontiac      184
38. 1973 Pontiac      186
39. 1971 AMC      189
40. 1983 Dodge      194

Index      201

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “engaging and uniquely personal memoir…recommended”—Midwest Book Review
  • “the book is good, solid fun”—Old Cars Weekly