I bought my first car with money I earned plowing fields on the south side of the Washita River bottoms south of Davis Oklahoma. I paid $275 for an old two-door hardtop, 1954, V8 Ford.
Besides plowing, I worked for Harold Clary in the Ray Roberts Chevrolet Auto-Body and Fender shop while still in high school, and afterwards.
Harold told me if I would water sand, and primer the old Ford, that he would let me work off the paint cost, and he would paint my car for me. We did just that. The paint was a solid blue.
I bought some fender skirts for it at a salvage yard. Later, I added twin glass-packed mufflers to it, and I truly believe they were as loud as any mufflers in Murray County.
I had lots of adventures with that old car, but none as scary as this story.
I had a date one Saturday night, and after taking her home, I decided to drive down to the Turner Falls tavern where all of the young high school kids of southern Oklahoma hung out on summer Friday and Saturday nights.
As I traveled south on US 77, I got into racing against another 1954 Ford. I passed him just before we crossed the Washita River bridge, south of Jollyville.
Soon, I entered the Turner Falls area and drove up to the Tavern. No cars around, and I entered the Tavern, and no one was there as far as people my age.
I walked back outside, started the Ford, and began driving to leave the park. In the next instance, the left front end of my Ford dropped down to the road, and stopped abruptly.
After inspecting it, it was found that the spindle bolt that held the wheel and all of its components together, had been rusted half way through for a long time. Was I driving on borrowed time or what?
Someone called my Dad, and he called White’s Auto Wrecker, and they came down and towed the Ford to our backyard. In a few days, Dad repaired it as I watched him.
My Dad, Tom Bumgarner, was as good a mechanic, as most mechanics who lived in the Davis area when he was able or had the time to do it. Dad only had an eighth grade education. His education in life, came from the School of Hard Knocks and common sense.
About two months later, as me and a friend were crossing the old railroad tracks in Davis in my old Ford, the right front wheel fell off the car, just as the left wheel as done earlier. After Dad fixed it, we sold that old car. It had almost gotten me killed, twice.