CARS OF THE PERSHINGS
Van's first car was a 1953 Henry J. He paid $65 in 1962. We have no pictures of the actual car. It was like this one, that we bought years later and it was painted white with spray cans. It was in a fender bender and subsequently replaced. The Henry J in this photo was one that was purchased in 1967 and sold when van was drafted in 1969.
Van's second car was a '51 Chevy. $125 in 1963. Again, no picture of the actual car but this was the model. It was blue and in a little better condition than the one shown here but not by much. A call to serve a mission resulted in the it's sale.
This was Vicki's first car. A nice '57 Chevy Two-Ten. She paid $500 for this beauty in 1966.
This 1960 Corvair was a gift from Van's parents when he returned from missionary service in 1966. He drove it from Enid, Oklahoma to Corona, California where it went from "my" car to "our" car as a result of marriage. Here it is the day after the wedding.
The '60 Corvair gave way to a '63 Corvair Spyder in about 1967 or '68. Purchased from our local Chevy dealer for $800. This isn't the actual car but it was the same color and had stock wheels and wheel covers.
  In 1969 Van was sent to Vietnam and, not wanting to leave his lovely bride at home with two old cars, the '57 Chevy and the '63 Spyder were traded in for a yellow 1969 Buick Skylark similar to the one shown here. It was a year old and cost $3,200, if memory serves.
Upon Van's return from Vietnam, the search was on for a second car for him to drive. A 1965 Corvair Corsa was located for $300. It was in great shape except for the paint. Van's first try at painting a car, except for the spray cans on the Henry J, is shown here. This car remained in the family until 2005 when it was totaled in an accident. It was "rebodied" and most of it is still on the road today.
A year later and with school placing a bit of a financial strain on the family, the Buick was sold and the Corsa became the "family" car and a '54 GMC, similar to the one shown here, was purchased as the second car. Van used it in his work as a carpet and tile layer.
In 1973 the family was to move to Fort Wayne, Indiana. With an 1800 mile trip with all the family belongs in tow, the GMC gave way to this 1963 1/2-ton Chevy which towed the Corsa to Indiana during the move.
While in Fort Wayne the '63 was sold and a 1972 Chevy pickup was purchased similar to the one shown here. It wasn't a fancy Cheyenne model but only a Custom and it was a nice yellow. In 1974 it moved the family from Indiana to Colorado with the Corsa in tow.
The '72 pickup gave way to a 1973 Nova Hatchback similar to the one shown here. It was maroon with a vinyl top. It was perhaps the worst car ever owned by the Pershings.
While in Colorado the Pershings owned many cars. One of Van's past-times was buying wrecked cars, fixing them up, using them for a while and then selling them. One of these was a 1971 Vega Kammback like the one shown here. With parts from another Vega it was converted into a GT model and was painted a two-tone silver. It was Vicki's favorite for hauling the kids and getting groceries.
A '74 Vega GT was another resurrected wreck that was restored and driven by Van while Corsa rested in the driveway. Many other Vegas were restored and sold but none was ever used by the family.
Another restored wreck was a 1969 El Camino. It eventually helped the family move from Colorado to Tucson in late 1980. It was two-tone dark red.
Vicki's cousin had this 1963 Corvair Greenbrier parked in front of his house with cobwebs holding it to the street. He had used it for his parking lot striping business but couldn't keep a clutch in it. The city finally cited him for having an abandoned vehicle in front of his house and so it was a gift to the Pershings. After a lot of work, it came to be a part of the family for over 10 years and over 100,000 miles. Never had to replace the clutch!
A 1978 Monza was purchased while in Colorado. It was orange and was equipped with small block V8. Vicki drove the car and enjoyed the pep that it showed whilst leaving stop lights. It was surprisingly easy on gas. It made the trip to Tucson, along with the El Camino and, you guessed it, the Corsa.
While living in Tempe in 1972, Vicki's boss bought a brand new Datsun 240Z. On one of her many visits and after taking the car for a drive, Van jokingly said "If you ever want to sell it, let us know". In 1981, she called and asked if the offer was serious. So, Vicki now had a sports car to get around in and so the El Camino and the orange Monza we sold. The 240Z was red like the one shown here but had a nice set of slotted aluminum wheels.
In 1981, after our move to Tucson, the Monza proved impractical for day-to-day family transportation, so a '61 Corvair Lakewood was purchased for $200 and restored to the condition seen here. It stayed in the family for a few years and saw the oldest Pershing daughter through high school. When she went off the college the Bananamobile was sold.
When the 240Z was totally worn out, a fond adieu we bid and it was replaced by this '84 Fiero 2M4 which was equipped with a 4-speed transmission and a 4-cylinder engine. It was Vicki's pride and joy.
The Greenbrier made one too many trips to Rocky Point pulling ther family's tent trailer and when it was time for it's third differential it was decided that a new trailer puller was needed. The new stand-in was this '78 Suburban. We painted it red and instantly became known by one and all as "Clifford, the Big Red Dog". It pulled the tent trailer so much better that we bought a bigger tent trailer and it hauled family and Scouts around for several years.
As kids turned into driving machines, more cars were needed. This '62 Corvair Monza was purchased from a dear friend for "what he had in it": $12 for title fees. It was completely restored and it served well until the day it was t-boned on the passenger's side by a careless driver running a red light. The car totaled but no one was injured. With the fender puller away from the rear tire, it home made it home under its own power - very slowly!
In 1986 it was decided that a brand new car was in order for the family. So, with help of Quebedouex Pontiac in Tucson this little Grand Am was purchased. I was a pretty bare-bones model with the 2.5 Iron Duke engine and an automatic transmission. After 156,000 trouble-free miles it was retired. It's the only new car the Pershings ever purchased.

One of the projects Van and Adam tried was the restoration of a '65 Volkswagen. Here on the left, the '65 is shown with BFG's* '69. It was a fun father and son project that turned out very nicely.

 

* Best Friend Greg

The '84 Fiero with the 4-speed became a little tiresome to drive in traffic, what with the constant shifting and all. A car with an automatic transmission was needed and with little effort an '85 SE similar to the one shown here was found. It was white and had a V-6 with an automatic. It proved to be just what the doctor ordered.
In hopes of better gas mileage and wanting something a little more up-to-date, Clifford the Big Red Dog was sold and replaced with this '87 fuel-injected version. The fuel injection and the overdrive transmission did little for gas mileage but it was a great upgrade.
When the Fiero SE started to show it age, it was replaced with this '84 Pontiac Trans Am. It was ugly brown but was soon painted white. It was much easier to maintain than the Fiero.
With yet another young driver in our ranks, we were in need of another car. We purchased this '65 Monza that had been restored and left to the pack rats. A little elbow grease and spit and polish and it was really to go. It served our youngest daughter until she married and moved to Kentucky.
Vicki finally got over her love affair with sports cars when she sat in a Jeep Cherokee. This one was an '87 Laredo edition with all the bells and whistles. She enjoyed sitting up high and seeing the world around her. The Trans Am was history!
The cooling system on the Cherokee acted up one too many times and one day on a whim it was traded in on the two-wheel drive Blazer shown here. Looking back, it would have been better to upgarde the cooling system and kept the Cherokee, but the Blazer gave our family well over 100,000 trouble free miles of service. It's just that it would be fun to have an old 4X4 Jeep to go four wheeling with. In 2008 it was stolen and totalled by the perpitrators.
The new Mercedes-Benz Silver paint job was barely dry on the '87 Suburban, when the bug hit us for a newer one. This '96 was found for a good price and served us well. Suburbans have got to be the best all-around vehicle ever made. They're a bus, a truck and a trailer puller. And this newer one was much better gas. But in 2008 a red light runner brought it's life to an end.
Projects are always fun. It had been many years since there had been a pickup in the family, so in 2000 this '65 C20 was purchased at a yard sale and a complete restoration was done.
Apparently the love affair for sports cars wasn't quite over for Miss Vicki. In 2005 this beautiful '87 Fiero GT was purchased from a family in Sacramento on eBay for the grand total of $3800. She's back in the saddle again! At least for a while. In 2009 it was decided that it was too small for Vicki to be driving around and it was sold to a couple in Apache Junction.
When the Corsa was totaled in 2005, a '66 Monza body was located and with a year's worth of work was transformed into this '66 Yenko Stinger clone using everything but the body from the old Corsa. Even though the Corsa is gone its soul lives on!
In November 2008 after the demise of the '96 Suburban, this 1999 model took it's place. We ended up with a 4-wheel-drive in very nice shape.
With the Fiero gone the need for a proper trip car that was easy on the gas and comfortable to ride in became apparent. We wanted a car with rear wheel drive and so we were pretty much limited to the Chrysler 300 or the Dodge of similiar size. The Cadillac CTS never enter our minds because who could afford a Cadillac? We drove one just for fun and feel in love with it. We found this one in nicer condition with less miles and less expensive than any of the Chryslers we looked at.

In 2015 we sold it since we would be gone for a year and half to serve a mission in South Africa.