Geoff Paddock, director of Headwaters Park and 5th District City councilman, well remembers his first car because he still drives it.
Not all the time, mind you, but when the weather is nice you can find Paddock out on the road in his '65 Buick Riviera. It was his grandfather's. When Dee Fryback originally purchased the car he was in his 60s and the sporty, two-door car was the talk of Decatur. Paddock said it wasn't the typical car that men of that age purchased. His wife, Ireta Fryback, objected to the two-door car because her bridge club partners had a hard time climbing in and out of the back seat. But Paddock remembered his grandfather told her he hadn't bought the car for the bridge club.
Paddock remembers his grandfather would let him sit in the front seat and pretend to drive the car. Paddock shared his grandfather's love for the snappy blue two-door. Over the years he worked part time at after-school jobs and saved up his money. By the time he graduated from high school he was able to purchase the car from his grandfather in 1973 for $1,100. He used the car to travel back and forth to Bloomington, where he attended Indiana University.
He continued to drive the car for a few years but eventually decided he needed a newer car. His mother thought they should keep the car, because it had belonged to her dad, and he had since passed away. So instead of trading the car in, Paddock keeps it covered in the garage during the bad winter months, redoing some things on the car as needed. The car is the same color, robin's egg blue, that it always was, with the last paint job being done in 1985.
The engine is still the original. Paddock said it is built to go up to 140 mph and could give a Corvette a run for its money. The upholstery is also original but the carpeting is new. The car has no air conditioning, typical of cars built at that time. The car also lacks cruise control, but instead it has a way to set a switch for a certain speed and when the diver passes the set speed a warning buzzer goes off. Paddock remembers his grandfather liked to drive a little fast and would frequently trip the buzzer down Interstate 69 while Paddock was riding in the backseat.
The front lights have a louvered cover that peels back when the lights are turned on. Look under the hood and you will see a horn, and it really looks like a horn, attached to the underside of the hood. The car has wing windows in the front to help with the circulation and, of course, vents in the dashboard.
Paddock said he still takes great pride in driving his first car, and keeping it around has given him a lot of driving enjoyment over the years.