There used to be a universal rite of passage for every kid when he turned 16.


‘The driving force was a first car and the subsequent first burst of freedom for its young owner.’


Robbin Dawe had that mindset when he bought his first car in the late 60s as a 16 year old.


And now he’s reunited with that first car.



The car was a well-preserved 1955 Pontiac 2-dr post with three on the tree and a 6-cylinder engine. The car was Robbin’s ticket to freedom, as are first cars for so many other kids from a bygone era. He used it throughout his high school years, but the logistics of university meant that the car was passed along to his sister.




Eventually Robbin took a job on the other side of the country and he reluctantly parted ways with his beloved first car in the mid-70s. That was that in Robbin’s mind, because first cars are a lot like first romances- you remember both with a strong combination of emotion and nostalgia because almost every one of either relationship is over forever. That is usually part of the appeal and mystique.



So Robbin let go emotionally from his Pontiac, but he never forgot the car. The road of life eventually took Robbin back to his home town in the early 90s. Only two weeks later, he was surprised- maybe even shocked-when he saw a 1955 Pontiac that looked very familiar to him. A quick check of the dent inventory on the unrestored car proved that the car was indeed his first car.


A little pressure on the new owner meant that Robbin was able to re- purchase his first car, roughly 25 years after the first time he bought the Pontiac.



Robbin probably has the history gene in his DNA, because his late uncle Wellington and brother Michael have both compiled the history of his community in numerous books. But Robbin would rather drive history than write about it, so he is content to own a big piece of his own personal history.



The Pontiac is likely to get a face lift in Robbin’s future plans, but right now he is quite content to achieve what few guys get to achieve: ownership of his first car- the one that got away but came back.


‘It’s a car guy’s dream.’


Jim Sutherland