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Cars > jrdeleon1’s Garage > Blog > 1971 Chevelle


jrdeleon1’s Profile Photo


M –41
Patterson, California
United States


jrdeleon1’s Blog Posts 1 – 2 of 2

Twists of Fate
Fri Mar 9, 2012  |  1 comment
1971 Chevelle
Fri Mar 2, 2012  |  8 comments

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1971 Chevelle

By jrdeleon1

This was originally posted on my Tumblr (

My first car was a 1971 Chevelle. It was a beater that my Uncle Pol gave me. The grill was missing, there was significant rust damage all over the body. The floor pan on the driver’s side was gone, replaced by a piece of plywood. There was unfinished Bondo patched here and there. It only had a Straight Six engine.

But, I’ll tell you something: I loved that car.

It was my first. It was my gateway to freedom. It was driving down 237 West with no traffic, windows rolled down, sunset gleaming red/orange/yellow behind me, heading home to Milpitas. It was getting myself to Mark’s Books on East Calaveras without having to ask my dad for a ride. It was driving down to San Jose to meet my prom date’s family.

Sure, it wasn’t sexy or exciting. It wasn’t shiny or impressive. But, it was my first car.

I loved that car.

She had a few choice nicknames when I owned her. I called her the “Battle Wagon”. My high school buddies called it “The Bomber”. Later on, it became “****-Mobile” and “Endless Frustration”.

The Chevelle was breaking down. My dad and I weren’t gear heads. Trying to maintain it’s drive-ability was getting more and more difficult. We replaced the starter twice (later finding out that Chevelle’s had frequent problems with the starter). The wind shield wipers stopped working when I was driving home in the rain. The list of things to fix started piling up. She was starting to show her age. The luster of owning my first car had dimmed to owning a piece of broken down ****.

I had started to forget why I loved that car.

Eventually, I decided to give it up. I was embarrassed driving her around. I was young and eager to impress pretty girls. I gave her back to my Uncle Pol and never saw her again. I bought an 86 Accord LXi with a moonroof and nice wheels. I was caught up in the superficial. I never looked back.

I had totally forgotten why I loved that car.

This was before eBay. This was before the Internet opened up opportunities to find replacement parts, before learning how easy it was to find car clubs and online communities that would’ve guided me in her restoration, before the Chevelle became a sought after prize. If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve held on to her. I would’ve been patient. I would’ve saved my money, bought replacement part after cherished replacement part, and learned to bring her back to her original glory.

That was fourteen years ago. My memories of her, my 1971 Chevelle, are not as vivid as they used to be. And, though I regret letting her go, I now remember why I loved her.

She was my first. She was my gateway to freedom. She was driving me down 237 West with no traffic, windows rolled down, sunset gleaming red/orange/yellow behind me, heading home to Milpitas. She was getting me to Mark’s Books on East Calaveras without having to ask my dad for a ride. She was driving me down to San Jose to meet my prom date’s family.

She was my constant companion for three years.

I loved my first car.

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Read comments on this blog post 1 – 7 of 7

trubluukfan’s Profile Photo
Mar 8, 2012 at 3:09 pm
Very cool story. We all remember our first. Mine was an ugly green 4 door Dodge Polara. What a boat, she was popular on 5 bucks a car load Drive-in night though. smile image
Mar 6, 2012 at 10:07 am
The Accord sounds like a a better car. Probably far more reliable and efficient. Don't grieve over the Chevelle, it was just a machine and could never love you.
Littlewing’s Profile Photo
Mar 6, 2012 at 6:45 am
Great post YES it was good times.
CorvairJim’s Profile Photo
Mar 6, 2012 at 3:29 am
My ****mobile was a base model '65 Chevy II 4-door sedan. Straight-6, 3-on-the-tree. My grandmother bought it brand new on New Year's Eve, 1964, and my dad spent most of New Year's Day 1965 installing seat belts in it! My mom inherited it in 1968, and she passed it along to me when I got my license in 1979. It was beat, it was rusty, it was painted in the factory light aqua... and a couple of spray can colors that came close to the original color... and a couple of different shaded of primer... and lots of lighht surface rust on all the top surfaces. The shift linkage had a nasty habit of hanging up in 2nd gear. But it ran. It got me, and later my wife and newborn daughter too, from here to there. It was my FREEDOM! Then, as with your Chevelle, things started breaking. One night, I decided I'd had enough, and sold the car to a guy my dad knew who wanted it to build a bracket racer. I got $300 for my grandmother's last car. I cried that night. Seller's remorse.

The next day, I bought my first of what's become more than a dozen Corvairs, and I haven't looked back. But every time I see a 1962-65 Chevy II, especially a 4-door, I think somewhat whistfully of my first car.
classictrendman’s Profile Photo
Mar 6, 2012 at 12:49 am
Thanks for sharing such story that really took me back to the moment i got my first car "key" which meant to me the MASTER key of many doors back then.
Rainnxamx1’s Profile Photo
Mar 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm
Thanks, My first car/truck was a custom ordered 78 Dodge Power Wagon 400 4x4.My X-Husban & I ordered her when we were dating.When I got divorced,I should have taken her.My x & I are best friends.We both regret getting rid of her.He sold the old Power we called her years after our divorce.Thanks for posting the Chevelle.I noticed she was a 71...My AMX is a 71.I phoned a dear Mechanic friend my Fiance worked for.Hes making a house call.Im pretty sure its my Alternator.I have a few other guestions to ask him.My late Fiance was the Best troubleshooter.I never Dreamed I'd be the troubleshooter....special Thanks for sharing.....
Kayleigh’s Profile Photo
Mar 4, 2012 at 10:45 am
This is a great post and very well written! A wonderful memoir for a once loved and fondly remembered first car!

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