In the November 2008 issue of SHIPMATE, page 63, Dave Cruden commented on how in 1953 he and Tom Murtagh, shipmates on USS QUINCY, had purchased a 1941 Buick in Long Beach for $100. The story reminded me of the ritual at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in the 1950’s, ’60’s and 70’s. Just about the time a submarine entered the shipyard for overhaul, another would be leaving. Thus there were always several junkers for sale by the departing wardroom, for the going price of $100. The officers of the incoming submarine would always buy up the lot and keep them in running condition until they departed the shipyard, at which time the $100 sale would continue the tradition.
In the mid-1960’s I was XO of JACK precommissioning unit and classmate Herb Tibbetts was Weapons Officer on JOHN ADAMS. One Friday evening, after celebrating T.G.I.F. at the shipyard officer’s club, Herb offered to give me a ride home and I accepted. As soon as I got into the passenger’s seat of his $100 station wagon, Herb commented that I should “Hold on until I get the car moving.” I asked “Why?” and he replied “Because the seat is not fastened to the car.” Herb started the car, the forward motion caused the seat and both of us to tilt backward a bit, but holding onto the door and dash we were off on our homeward journey. What can you expect for $100?