Monday, May 15, 2006

Kids and Speed

It is said that one goes through three phases with regards to Dad:
"My dad can beat up your dad",
"My old man don't know shit!",
"My father used to say..."

I hit stage three long ago. Dad is a terrific guy for many reasons, and he has always been a car guy. Had a Cuda when he married my mom. I was thinking of the Hell I put Mom and Dad through when I was wanting my first car. What made me think of this was a wreck I heard about this last week where three kids got killed. One of the cars involved was a corvette, which is how I heard about it. Kids and speed just don't mix, and I was lucky that Dad knew this.

When I was pleading with the folks to buy me a car (age 16), we went on a few test drives together. I was angling for the hottest car I could get, and Dad was trying to keep me alive. We went out south of town to look at a Mach I once.

It was blue and white, as I recall. Aftermarket rims, and pretty bald tires. Standard trans. 351 engine, 4 bbl carb. The man that owned it was older than me, younger than Dad. He wanted 3K for the car, and allowed us to take a test drive.

Southeast of town there is a housing development named Dove Springs. It's fallen on hard times now, but back then it was still being built out as a bedroom community. There were large sections of road where there were no houses. We went to one such, Dad driving. The seller lived in Dove Springs, so it wasn't a long ride.

I could barely contain myself. The car had a rumble to it that was pretty nifty.

Dad looked over at me.
"What do you think of it?"
I looked back, square and open.
"It's OK, I guess". I have to be cool here. If I let on that I know it's a hotrod, I'll never see this car again. I'd be relegated to driving the VW camper van.
He smirked at me, slightly reproving.
"You buckled in?" He says. I nod.
Quick as that, he rolled up some revs and dropped the clutch. The tires broke loose and commenced screeching. The car stayed straight though, and we hook up and make a run down the new-layed street.
"Has a Posi, I think" he hollers over the engine. We're coming to the end of the street. Before we get there, he brakes, downshifts and turns left into the neighborhood, far over the speed limit.
"Not my car! Haha!" Is this Dad?
We make the block and come back to the new street again, and I see a pair of huge new burnouts where we took off.

We line up and do it again! The car is emmitting a smell now that I would recognize later as brakes and clutch heating up.

We get to the end of the street and stop.
"And that" he says, looking at me, icy blue stare from under deep brows, "is why you can't have this car". And we drove back to the owner, thanked him, but also no thanks, and left.

I ended up with a 318 '73 Duster. I was an idiot for turning down the VW. It had a BED in it, ferchrissakes! I wrecked the Duster on all four corners though, so in retrospect it was a good choice!


Blogger WriterPhotoBoy said...

Dude, nice story. My Dad bought not one- but two - late 60s Camaros. One a convertible, the '67, and the '68 was hard top... I think. But anyway, you need pictures here, and you should check out this guy's photo stream of cars on Flickr.

4:05 PM  

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