• When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

John S. Rehberg, 8/31/1956 to 9/14/2022, Dad you may be gone but you're always with me...

One that fits right in around here. A Dodge dad owned.

1969 Dodge Charger R/T.
(c/o google)

I have no idea of actual color, drivetrain, or options. In fact, in the world of Mopars, I saw dad more of a Plymouth guy than a Dodge guy. I believe he had (1) or (2) more of one than the other as you will see.
Next up is dad's '70 Cadillac Calais. It was a 2DR flavor, 472ci beast of a boat. Few things I remember about this...

1) One of my chores was to check the oil in this daily.

2) This car had a mean one-wheel-peel.

3) Dad's good friend Bob (a die hard Ford guy) had a '66 or '67 Mustang. Blue IIRC. I recall dad one time popping the hood on that Caddy, twisting on the distributor cap to advance the timing and they drag raced up our suburban street. That Cadillac beat that Mustang by at least a car length up the street. I was not expecting that. Neither was Bob lol.

4) We were at a gathering with dad about 20 years having dinner with some friends. This was about 15 years after dad got rid of that Cadillac. A fella at the gathering started talking about old cars and my dad referenced this '70 Cadillac Calais in the conversation. The guy argued left and right that Cadillac never made a Calais. And that only Oldsmobile ever made a model with the name Calais in it (Cutlass Calais). Dad kept his cool because he had nothing to prove. Sorry buddy, dad was right lol.

5) One time, shortly after closing the hood on that car, we heard a small explosion in the engine bay. Upon further investigation the battery had burst under the hood. What caused it? The hood shorted out the terminals? Maybe a wrench got left under there? Both thoughts stand out in my mind but can't recall what the final conclusion was.

1970 Cadillac Calais
(c/o google) - this is the same color as the one dad owned.
A Dodge dad owned.
1969 Dodge Charger R/T.
That's a beautiful car. Now if your dad was like mine (it seems they had a number of similarities relating to cars), then he bought the Charger R/T because it was cheap. So probably, it was a bit beat up compared to the car you pictured!

Next up is dad's '70 Cadillac Calais. It was a 2DR flavor, 472ci beast of a boat.
You could certainly drive around with the family and all needed stuff with that car! I'd like to have one as a cruiser - you can get to your destination in a classic car and be super comfortable at the same time!
That's a beautiful car. Now if your dad was like mine (it seems they had a number of similarities relating to cars), then he bought the Charger R/T because it was cheap. So probably, it was a bit beat up compared to the car you pictured!
I’m not sure the condition of his ‘69 Charger, but wouldn’t be surprised if it needed some TLC. When I’m looking for pics on google to post with this thread I try to find ones that aren’t too glamorous looking. With this Charger in particular it was a bit more difficult to find one that isn’t a 6-figure representative lol.

But dad did have auto body experience. Went to Vocation Tech in high school. He was pretty good at bringing out the shine on many cars that otherwise “lacked luster”. Also had an auto body business on the side for as long as I could remember growing up.
Is that a 69 Air Grabber Road Runner??? Looks like a cool car to work on in auto body class!
Maybe? Ya think? Now I'm contemplating posting it in General Discussion and see what the rest of the guys think?
Maybe? Ya think? Now I'm contemplating posting it in General Discussion and see what the rest of the guys think?
For sure it's a '69 Plymouth B body with an air grabber, has the rectangular side marker. Not a GTX, unless the black lower body paint was removed for surface prep...
l see what almost resembles a roadrunner emblem on the upper door frame in that pic too. You guys see that too?
So the holy grail of all cars dad ever owned IMO... the most talked and bragged about... was his 1970 Plymouth 'Cuda. Don't call it a Barracuda because you would be corrected. "Nick. it was a 'Cuda. Not a Barracuda." He bought it from Transitowne Dodge in Rochester, NY I'm estimating around 1974. Here's some details I heard over and over again over the years:
- It was red with a black vinyl top
- Had gold stars on the hood scoop
- Won 2nd place in the Rochester Auto Show in the early 70's.
- 340ci, 4BBL, heavily built (dad loved to keep it very low idle so the car would shake at a light from the big cam - sounded like it could stall at any moment) IIRC this was not the original motor.
- 727 A/T
- Exhaust cutouts
- Mickey Thompson N50s on the rear and when they got hot had enough traction to lift the front wheels off the ground from a light.
- Raced a '69 Superbee, 4spd on the expressway one time. That Bee was unbelievably built dad said. The Bee missed 2nd gear giving my dad the lead for a moment. But when that Bee finally caught the next gear it's front end didn't hit the ground until he was in front of my dad's Cuda. Wish I could have witnessed that.
- He blew up that 340 eventually and replaced it with a 318, which from the sounds of it it made that 'Cuda a much more mild machine.
- Dad drove it to Florida in the mid '70s to interview for a job and potentially move the family down there. He didn't wind up taking the job in FL. He flew back home to NY without the 'Cuda, leaving it at a relatives house who wound up selling it down there.
- I have only a vague recollection of this car at best.

1970 Plymouth 'Cuda (c/o google)
Next in order of year(again, not chronologically here) is a 1971 Buick Skylark dad had. I have no memory of this one personally.

1971 Buick Skylark
(c/o google)
The next car I do remember pretty clearly. It was a rust bucket.

1976 Chevy Nova (this is the actual color)
(c/o google)

This was a 4DR car. Very similar to above. Dad paid my aunt and uncle about $400 for this car IIRC. Pretty sure it had a 250ci, in-line 6. Automatic transmission.

The rear floors, rockers and quarters were shot. Dad riveted some sheet metal to the rear floors to “rejuvenate” them lol. One time my mom was driving it and had to stop suddenly. My baby sister was in a car seat in the back. But mom had forgotten to buckle her into the car seat. My baby sister flew out of her car seat and onto that riveted sheet metal floor. All I remember hearing is the crinkle of that tin as my baby sister slammed onto the floor. And then her screaming from fright. That floor patch dad did saved my baby sister from going through the floor that day. Absolutely zero injuries FYI.

This car was also the car dad took me out in around 10 years old and had “the birds and the bees” talk with me in.
Here's the 1977 Ford LTD Wagon on dad's list. Owned it in the mid 80's. It had a 351 "M" in it. "M" for Modified I believe. This was a bit of a curveball engine ID for me as I was used to hearing 351 Cleveland or 351 Windsor until we got this car. It seated 9 people IIRC.

The far rear seat gave the passengers a view looking at the road behind you, making it a unique experience. I remember one time dad went up a huge icy hill with some of us in the far back seat. A long way up that hill the rear tires started spinning. Attempting to turn around at that point would have been disastrous. So dad stopped the car, put it in reverse and went back down the hill backwards. That put us kids in a position where we felt we were in the driver seat because that's how we were facing back there. Fun and frightening at the same time.

This car leaked oil more than any of the others I recall. Part of our chores with this one was to scrub the driveway with Dawn dish soap when the oil got excessive. Used a push broom and hot water. We also hooked up the hose to the hot water tank in the basement so we could wash the car in the wintertime. Nothing like sliding a sheet of of ice off the car with a towel as we were attempting to dry it when done, as it was freezing out lol.

The rear door on this car opened two different ways, one like a normal car door and the other like the tailgate of a truck. Neat feature.

And I vaguely recall honing in my pinstriping skills on this car. Dad taught me how of course. Long sections at a time give you the best shot at keeping it straight and not looking choppy. And follow the contour of the body line referenced. Thanks dad.

You can barely make out the pink shirt my mom is wearing on the far left. That's my sister and brother on the rear
bumper. And I'm pretty sure that's me in the back of the car facing downward.

This is me on the left. My grandfather on the right facing the car. We were changing a tire together.
As I'm reminiscing today I recall another memory with the '56 Chevy from post #44 and #45 on this thread I feel worth mentioning.

We lived near Letchworth State Park from '89-'91(ish). One time dad was working on the timing of that 235 in the '56. He never used a timing light. Always by ear. But this time posed more of a challenge than was typical for him. I don't know why exactly. We took the '56 into Letchworth Park where he knew a very steep hill was. This was so he could test if his adjustments would suffice daily driving (I presume). So up the hill we went 2 or 3 times, each time the car wouldn't make it all the way up. Dad would back it down to the bottom of the hill, give it a little more timing and try again. Finally on the 3rd or 4th try it was clearly dialed in and sounded strong, and made it the whole way up the hill. He may have been playing with the points gap that instance as well. Can't recall clear enough.
1979/1980 brought several new cars to the list of cars dad owned. These next (3) cars I have clear memories of each being in our driveway. And I seem to recall they were very short lived. However I can’t recall spending any time in them personally.

1979 Plymouth Volare
No recollection of any details except that dad bought this car for mom. The color brown comes to mind with this car as well.
(c/o google)

1979 Honda Civic
This car was not with us very long at all. Little lighter blue than this was the one we owned.
(c/o google)

1979 Pontiac Bonneville
This had a 301 in it. It was white like this.
(c/o google)
Next is a 1979 Chevy Blazer(similar color)
(c/o google)


I recall a photo we had of my little brother when he was about 3 or 4 years old with this truck. Dad jacked up the front and took a picture of my brother pushing up on the front bumper, making it appear as though my brother was lifting up the truck. Couldn’t locate that pic, sigh…

I also recall one time dad taking the top off the truck and taking us down to Durand Eastman Park beach. He drove it into the water about as far as the truck could handle. It was a different experience. Never did anything like it since. But a blast nonetheless.
In 1979 or 1980 dad had a new or newer Trans Am.

1979 Pontiac Trans Am
(c/o google)

I can’t recall the engine in this one. But both 301 and 6.6 I can recall being discussed when I ever heard dad reference this car after getting rid of it. And he’d explain the difference between the 400 and the 403 when talking about the 6.6 as they were both options that year.

Dad’s car looked the same, if not identical, to the one pictured above. I recall a time riding in this car and dad pushed a button on the dash saying it was the “turbo”. Quite certain he was pulling my leg. But the car went faster when he pushed that button. Years later I somehow was convinced it was just fancy foot and finger work by dad, just playing with me.

Dad loved Smokey and the Bandit. Quite certain that movie had at least little to do with inspiring dad to buy it.

One other thing I recall surrounding this car. Dad was working night shift for a time and he was sleeping during the day. One day, a local guy kept “hot-rodding” his muscle car up and down our suburban street, preventing dad from sleeping. Dad got all hot and bothered, hopped in that Trans Am and chased the guy down to his house. I suspect he gave him a piece of his mind. A few minutes after dad arrived back home the “hot-rodder” pulled in our driveway. He walked up to the passenger side of dad’s Trans Am and kicked the door in. Dad was a physical force to be reckoned with and let’s just say he let the guy know it. I’ll leave it at that.
Moving clearly into the 80's cars dad had...

He had a 1984 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
(c/o google)

Dad bought a dark blue version of this car around 1988 or so. It was in excellent condition. No rust and it shined real nice. The drive train wasn't something I paid much attention to with this one. This car's luxury far outweighed what may have been under the hood. Especially compared to anything we had previously. A neat feature on this car is that it had a "load leveler". The suspension automatically accommodated for the weight in the vehicle. My girlfriend and I were just 15 years old when dad took us for our first ride in this car together. 7 years later I'd marry that girl. I still call her my wife to this day. (Hi mama, if you ever read this). Mama still comments on what a smooth riding vehicle that car was. Don't think I've ever been able to match the ride comfort of this '84 Caddy in anything I've ever bought for my wife to drive in. Thanks for setting the bar so high dad lol.
What a great story about a great guy. You've been blessed and I knew you outstanding personality came from some great up bringing. A mom and a dad!!
What a great story about a great guy. You've been blessed and I knew you outstanding personality came from some great up bringing. A mom and a dad!!
Thank you for the kind words. Mom and dad beat the odds raising us four. Especially starting so young. Wish I could say it was all sunshine, lollipops and rainbows but I'd be lying. But "all good things are worth fighting for" I was always taught. And those moments worth fighting for showed themselves in many ways over the years in our home growing up. Unfortunately, some didn't end in the "win" we'd hoped for. But looking back there is far more to be grateful for than to complain about. I thank God for the family mom and dad fought so hard to provide for us. Lord knows it wasn't easy by any means...

Edit: And stick with me on this if you so choose. There's still more to come over the following weeks.