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Thread: Would anyone share some stories on getting their learner's/driver's permit?

  1. #1

    Would anyone share some stories on getting their learner's/driver's permit?

    When I got my driver's license I brought my 4-speed '66 Olds 442 to the test. It was maybe 15 minutes in length. The examiner was impressed with both my car and my safe driving skills (my car was not equipped with power steering, and he commented on the rarity of that option). 10 minutes into the test he told me that he had no problems passing me right then and there.

    He also told me that most kids don't pull up in manual transmission musclecars for their exams and it was a refreshing change from the litany of tiny, automatic econoboxes. He asked me if he could drive my car as he used to own a 3-speed '66 Cutlass convertible in his youth. We spent an additional 40 minutes cruising around while he regaled me with stories of his Cutlass in his youth.

    It was fun.

    On another note, When I was taking driver's ed in high school for easy extra credits, my Dad wanted me to play a trick on my instructor. My father was a classic auto broker back in the day so he always owned a few interesting cars at any given time. He loaned me an Emerald Green 1950 Desoto Custom convertible equipped with a rather unusual column shifted clutchless semi-automatic transmission (no power steering, no power brakes). You could see where this is going.

    I point my car out to the instructor when the time comes. We hop in with him at the wheel. He looks at the pedals and seeing only 2 pedals presumed it was fully automatic. He starts it up and the car lurches forward and stalls. I ask him what the hell he thinks he's doing to my Dad's car. He looks at me sternly and tries again. Same thing happens, this time he's dangerously close to hitting the car in front of me. I take this moment to tell him there are only a few thousand of these left and if anything happens to the car he's paying for the damage. He sneers at me, throws it in neutral and starts the car up. He throws it into reverse gear and backs the car up. Then, after struggling to put it in first tries to turn the steering wheel to find out the only power steering the car is equipped with is whatever his spindly arms could supply. He stalls again halfway out of the parking spot. I ask if I could take over. He allows me to do so. I take the car on a 10 minute cruise, driving flawlessly the whole time. I park uphill and downhill legally and at the end of the our drive I parallel park the Desoto back into it's spot perfectly.

    Needless to say I'm grinning from ear to ear and the instructor's fuming. He then declares that the car is not roadworthy. He tells me to get the steering fixed. I inform him that this car is not equipped with power steering. He then tells that 3-point seatbelts are mandatory for safe driving. I retort that the 2 point lap belt works perfectly, and you were lucky to get safety belts at all in the 50's as they were optional then and you had to pay extra for them. He huffs and puffs and finally tells me I have no sideview mirrors and at least the driver's side mirror is required.

    He got me on that one. I had to come back in a couple of days with another car.

    Grouchy Bastard.

  2. #2
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Would anyone share some stories on getting their learner's/driver's permit?

    Great story!

    (And even better cars.... )

    I don't have anything to match; took the test in the family Oldsmobile 98 Regency (coupe); no drama - and the car had all the power options. (As an aside, I really liked that car; it wasn't especially powerful but when you flipped over the air cleaner lid to let the 307's Quadrajet breath, the sound it made was music to my teenaged ears!)

    But I do have a story... .

    At around age 14 I secretely made copies of the ignition keys to both my mom's Olds and my dad's '77 Camaro (305 auto). I drove these cars whenever I had the chance and never got caught - amazingly.

    So I had almost two full years of experience before I even took "behind the wheel" at school!

    I 'fessed up years later and we all had a laugh about it....


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    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    Re: Would anyone share some stories on getting their learner's/driver's permit?




    It's been so long ago that I have trouble remembering what all happened. I worked and unlike my older sisters, mom couldn't wait untiul I got my license. I wasn't allowed to have my own car but one was sitting there for me to use. When I turned 16 and one month, we went to the license branch. we went back the next day as Indiana required you to be 16, one month and one day.

    I had learned to drive at about 8 on a tractor and when I was 14, mom let me take the family car down the road. She made the mistake of telling a very literal minded kid to NOT hit any pot holes. I didn't but her hair turned a little whiter as I was all over the road to miss them.


    The current drivers training in Indiana is pretty much non-existent. You have to have a professional school teach you now. When I was 15, the school took care of all of it. Since I did well enough in class, I didn't even have to take a driving test. Some of the other school corporations still have drivers training but I worry about the quality of it. For instance, when two vehicles reach a stop sign at the same time, the vehicle to the right legally has right of way. One instructor was telling his students that is wrong. I believe he has been informed of the error of his ways. A local reporter had to take a defensive driving course and wrote about that in the paper later on. ;D I wonder what the reaction from the traffic judge was when he saw that piece?


    Back in the early 1970's, I drove a truck for a living. After 20 years of doing other things, and Indiana was phasing in the CDL laws, I decided to renew with just an operators permit since I never drove a truck and didn't feel like all the tests and medical exams. It was pretty much "Read line 5 and give me $6". I think that pretty well explains the traffic we have today.
    Honk if you love Jesus.

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Would anyone share some stories on getting their learner's/driver's permit?

    "It was pretty much "Read line 5 and give me $6". I think that pretty well explains the traffic we have today."

    I think so, too.

    How ironic, given all the talk/agonizing about "safety" that all the focus is on enforcing dumbed-down "technical infractions" (statutory "speeding" and so on) while very little is done to impart or require meaningful skills behind the wheel. I don't expect most or even many drivers to have SCCA-levels of ability. That is not realistic and it would disfranchise probably 80-plus percent of currently licensed drivers. However, what we have is the other extreme - a system under which virtually anyone, irrespective of how marginal a driver they may be, can be duly licensed.

    And that is an outrage.

  5. #5
    D_E_Davis
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    Re: Would anyone share some stories on getting their learner's/driver's permit?

    How times have changed! When I took my driving test in 1947 the paper test was 4 pages and I needed 95% to pass. The actual driving was in Dad's 36 Chevy Standard, and only took about 30 minutes - the starting/stopping on a grade was the most difficult but I passed (somehow). From what I see here, it appears that the exams aren't nearly as rigorous as they were.

    As each of the 5 kids grew I made him/her practice and take the test in a manual transmission car. A tad more difficult, but once learnt you never forget.


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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Would anyone share some stories on getting their learner's/driver's permit?

    "From what I see here, it appears that the exams aren't nearly as rigorous as they were."

    In VA, they're certainly not. About 25 perfunctory questions (most on the moron level) with a "pass" grade that allows several wrong answers. The so-called "road test," meanwhile, is a brief run around the parking lot or the sidestreets near the DMV office. If it is even required....

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    Re: Would anyone share some stories on getting their learner's/driver's permit?

    I flunked my first road-test (passed the written test with flying colors, though).

    The examiner had me go down some roads I wasn't familiar with, and we came to a 3-way interchange. I bore right, as instructed, went down the road a ways, did my 3-point turn, and on the way back, drove right through the stop sign that was partially hidden behind a tree.

    Ooops.

    Never even got to show him how good I was at parallel parking.

    Chip H.

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    Re: Would anyone share some stories on getting their learner's/driver's permit?

    On my first driving lesson the instructor asked me if I'd ever driven a car before. I truthfully answered 'no'. So, he carefully explained to me how to set off in first gear - which I did...then changed up into second. The instructor said 'hmm, I hadn't intended to cover changing gear until you'd done a few practice starts...are you sure you've never driven a car before?'.

    My reply: 'Yes, I'm sure I've never driven a car before...tractors, pickups & motorcycles aren't cars, are they?'

  9. #9
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Would anyone share some stories on getting their learner's/driver's permit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Brand
    On my first driving lesson the instructor asked me if I'd ever driven a car before. I truthfully answered 'no'. So, he carefully explained to me how to set off in first gear - which I did...then changed up into second. The instructor said 'hmm, I hadn't intended to cover changing gear until you'd done a few practice starts...are you sure you've never driven a car before?'.

    My reply: 'Yes, I'm sure I've never driven a car before...tractors, pickups & motorcycles aren't cars, are they?'
    Good stuff!

    Growing up on a farm/around machinery is a great thing because you get introduced to "driving" (as well as a practical course in mechanical engineering) at a young age... .

    Some of the best athletes begin at very young ages; skaters and gymnasts, for instance. I'd bet that it's equally true of driving skills.

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