My Grandpa’s Stable

This week I figured it would be a good time to share the cars my grandpa currently owns. He is the reason why I got into cars at such an early age. When there are several Road & Tracks and Car and Driver magazines lying around, how could you not get addicted to anything with wheels? He has had numerous cars. Cars from a ’29 Ford Model A Sedan to an ’04 Mazda 6, and the majority of them have had manual transmissions and some sort of sporting nature. As you can imagine, he has had a thick portfolio of vehicles. He is quite an amazing guy: he is a WorldWar II veteran, and he’s been a Mayor, a high school principal, a teacher, a newspaper editor, as well as had a fair share of sales experience. You can find out more about him by visiting his website: He is 89 years old, and he still is driving across the country!


Here he is with my grandma.


He and my Grandma were an amazing couple, and I was very lucky to have been raised by them. They are where I got my love for being on the open road. My Dad did too! My grandparents would travel coast to coast, and even Canada to Mexico. Sadly, my grandma passed away a few years ago. She was a wonderful, loving women who wanted nothing more than for her family to be happy and we all miss her.  My grandpa though, is still able to get out there on the road. You just might happen to cross paths someday!

Here’s a photo of them both traveling in central California.


There are many things my grandpa enjoys doing. Being behind the wheel is certainly on the top of the list.


Well, let’s see some of the cars. Here are the three that stay outside. Thankfully, they get some shelter by the car port. They are in need of some cleaning but overall, they are in good shape.


Does this look familiar? It’s my old ’95 Nissan Pathfinder SE I used to own and explore the desert terrain in my area. My grandpa now is the 4th owner and has taken good care of it.


When I first got it, the paint was nice and glossy. The desert New Mexico sun in Las Cruces didn’t exactly treat it well.


The interior has held up quite well.


Today, she currently has 141,097 miles, and it runs absolutely perfect. The 4-speed automatic still shifts smoothly and promptly. The suspension and steering are tight and stable.


A common complaint about the 3.0L V6 is that there isn’t much power to be had. I gave my share of low power complaints as well. When it was shiny and new in 1995, it had just 153HP. That’s not a lot of power to haul around a 2ton vehicle.


Despite the power issues, this is a solid motor. The manifold may leak, the lifters may perform a short tap dance for you at cold starts, but I see these go 200 or even 300,000 miles without any major engine work. I still love seeing it every time I visit.


Next is the 1969 Jeepster Convertible built by Kaiser Jeep. This is before Chrysler got a hold of the name. This is quite a rare one. The more common Jeep in this era was the Jeepster Commando which is basically the bare bones version of this Convertible. This was the more “luxurious” version, and it didn’t carry the Commando name. What makes this even more rare is that it is equipped with the 3-speed manual. She still runs good, but I’d stay clear of taking her anything over 60mph. Or any windy days.



To help with the upscale feeling, Kaiser equipped the Jeepster Convertable with a Buick-built V6 and two tone paint with aluminum trim.


A couple of years ago, we got it a new top installed which dramatically transformed the appearance of it.



It came generously equipped with…an AM/FM one speaker radio and…a locking glove box!


The “Dauntless 225” Buick supplied V6 was a smooth and powerful motor. Rated at about 160HP, it would easily handle the demands of off-roading. If it were tuned right, it probably could out run the much newer Pathfinder we just saw.



My grandpa is the 2nd owner, and it has just 91,636 miles.


This is the beast. A 1987 Ford F-250 HD truck. Crazy to think this is just one year younger than me!


Here it was when my grandparents bought it new.

Truck when new

Here’s my dog, Gypsy getting ready for a drive.


The interior is your typical 80s brown velour. I love it!



This truck is the XLT Lariat trim which was the top of the line in the day. This included a luxurious (there’s that word again) wood-look trim, standard cruise control, air conditioning, upscale upholstery and padded headliner, and chrome trim on the exterior.


The engine is quite a torque monster. It’s a 6.9L International Harvester IDI (non-turbo) V8 Diesel engine. It’s rated at 170 Horsepower, and has 315 ft-lbs of torque! With the low gearing of the 4-speed manual, you can accelerate from a dead stop in 2nd gear! For the sake of the clutch though, let’s not do that often.


The odometer has rolled over once where it’s actually 153,159. All the power train components are original. It’s spent nearly 1/4 of those miles towing a 7,000lb RV. This truck has been retired to just an on-demand work truck, but she still runs great. I love driving it around when I go to visit.


I managed to catch the “Diesel” badge before it fell off somewhere on the road. It’s now in the glove box.


This truck proudly displays my grandpa’s New Mexico Purple Heart plate.


When we move into the garage, there rests the 1974.5 MGB Roadster. This is another car that my grandparents bought brand new and had ever since. The MGB was the more popular model in the MG lineup besting the ” MG Midget.” What makes this particular car special (besides having owned it for nearly 40 years!) is that this is a “B” built in small numbers. In 1974, the MGB had chrome bumpers and dual SU carburetors. In 1975 the “B” got black rubber bumpers and was downsized to one carburetor. The 1974.5 had both the rubber bumpers and dual carbs. One source I saw a while ago said that MG only imported 1200 models over here in the U.S.


That soft top you see there was not fun to install when I completed it 5 years ago! It complements the “Harvest Gold” brown exterior though. I guess the British had their own opinions on what looked good back then.


It’s been in the garage all winter, and I haven’t had a chance to clean it up yet.


It has a few bruises here and there but aside from the new convertible top, it’s all original.


A few cracks in the dashboard are the only main flaws in the interior. I love the classic look of old British sports car interiors.


The oil pump failed while my grandparents were driving several years ago, and that sadly was the end of the original engine. The car was put in storage for several years and then we finally pulled it out to get the engine rebuilt in 2001. It runs great and still does to this day.

Here’s a shot of the odometer. That’s 59,455 miles on the chassis and 992 miles on the new engine. It lives in the garage most of the time.


The 1.9L 4 cylinder engine was rated at around 81hp with 103ft-lbs of torque.


This is the only car I’ve driven that has a manual choke. It can get tricky on cold days.


No MP3/AUX/CD here…only a single speaker AM/FM radio.


Here’s my grandpa last year taking it for a spin around the block.


And here’s some shots of it with my RSX when I had it.



Last we have his daily driver: a 2004 Mazda 6 i. This is the newest car of the family and the one that’s been the most faithful. This was purchased new in 2004, and it’s been all over the country as well as Canada. This summer, it will be going on a massive 10,000 mile journey across the U.S. my grandpa and his friend have planned.


I feel this is still one of the sharpest designs Mazda has created.



This is a fully loaded “i” model with the touring and sport package. These packages add to the base model heated leather, sunroof, electroluminescent gauges, 6-CD MP3 BOSE sound system, 17″ wheels, under body spoilers, and fog lights (which are integrated into the headlights).




Here’s a photo of it with my grandma.


The 2.3: I-4 has great power delivery at mid-rpm. Rated at 160HP, it’s quite peppy with the 5-speed manual. My grandpa can get a consistent 35-37 mpg on the highway.


It now has 139,035 miles. Amazing thing is that the only issue this car has had is a loose connection to the side indicator lamp. That’s it! Two sets of tires and numerous oil changes are the only things done. I would not be surprised to see it achieve 160,000 miles by the end of the summer.


How many 89 year old grandpas do you know who still love to row through the gears?!


This car displays his USAAF 91st Bomb Group plate frame and POW plate.


And finally, a shot of where my Accord usually parks when I visit. In the afternoon, there will be really nice shade from the nearby Juniper tree.


Hope you enjoyed the stable! Now it’s time to get to the work week…

6 thoughts on “My Grandpa’s Stable

  1. Jason, this was an awesome post! Your grandpa has quite the collection. That old F-250 XLT Lariat brings back a lot of memories. My dad had several of those while I was growing up – I spent a lot of my childhood riding in the back of it. We used to to a camp trailer with it and head for the hills. The MG looks like a ton of fun. I’m impressed that he’s got all 5 cars in running mechanical condition so he can pull them out of storage at any time. And I’m even MORE impressed that he’s still driving a stick shift at 89. That Mazda looks like it’s in really nice shape. Btw your link to your gpa’s website isn’t working when I click it, but when I type the address into my browser it does. I’ll spend some time checking it out today.

    • Tyson, those F-250s were great. I loved the body style and the solidity of them. Were any of your Dad’s Diesels? My grandpa’s is super noisy on the highway and I often wonder what an EFI gas engine would be like. Thanks for the heads up on the link. It should be fixed now.

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