Most of the guys out there - the real ones that didn't play with dolls - had Matchbox cars as a kid. I understand some of those old cars may actually be worth something today, but as a kid I didn't care. I loved racing them around the shag-pile carpet and up the wood-paneled walls of my little house in upstate New York. I made all the noises and added the crashing sound effects, too. At one point, I had a car much like the Ferrari F50 in the picture, but I accidentally stepped on it. At first I was crushed (no pun intended), but then I realized it was even cooler now that it was flatter. Aerodynamics, baby!
Do NOT Speed on 684!
Mom had a lead foot. Mom had a Chevy Impala. Mom drove fast.
After I got my license, I figured out that certain cars had an extra little umph when you stepped on them. This was that car. A big ol' 8-cylinder engine is a dangerous thing in the hands of an 18 year old. We had a road that ran between Poughkeepsie and Connecticut called Highway 684. It was notorious for cops. There were speed traps every 5 miles or so. Being the clever kid I was, I figured out where all the traps were and found out that if I timed it just right, I could drive really fast without getting caught. Well, I passed the cut off and gunned the engine. I watched that needle slide to the right. 110. 120. 130. I passed a mile marker and checked my watch. When I passed the next mile marker only 26 seconds had elapsed. The speedometer said I was doing 140. Off the gas and feather the brakes. Down to a more respectable 55. Check the mirror. No cops. Whew.
Fine Corinthian Leather
I can still hear the voice of Ricardo Montelban on the commercial for the Plymouth Volare. Dad got a deal on it from his buddy, Bob. It had 4-on-the-floor and it was much cooler then the green station wagon (or the Volkswagon bus that I can barely remember). One day Dad says to me, "Wanna see a power shift?" Before I could ask what that was, Dad punches the gas and starts flying through the gears. He had this intense look of concentration. I was about 13 years old and just giggling from the passenger's seat. After we slowed down, Dad explained that he used to race an old TR3 when he lived in Kerhonkson. I knew it! Dad was a racer.
Next up - the final installment.