Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Was A Teenage Motor Head

In the Spring, a young man's fancy turns to...CARS!(You didn't think I was going to say Love, did you?) Not long after the last of the Winter salt was consumed by the Street Sweeper, every guy in town that could afford it, was looking to upgrade his "Ride". I was 18, had a good job, and was a few months short of Graduation in 1973. It was time to replace "Ol'Bessie", my 1962 Red Dodge Lancer that I bought off my uncle for $125.00 that got me all through high school.

As luck would have it, I went to Kent State University on a Field Trip with a bunch of Struthers DECA Students for a tour. Our Student Teacher conducted the tour and introduced us to two room mates who pulled up to us in the Most Beautiful Car I had ever seen. A 1971 Pontiac GT37, Royal Blue with Silver Racing Stripes down each side. This was a Limited-Edition GTO with a 350 Cu. In. Engine and 3-Speed Manual Transmission. I could hardly contain my saliva as I walked around this Masterpiece of Muscle Car Design! I asked the owner a million questions about the "Goat", as they were often called. He lamented that he was graduating and he was going to have to sell it.

Trying my best to control my emotions, I asked how much he wanted for the car. He said he needed $2000.00 for it. I stammered as I told him I'd take it off his hands if he could wait until I got home and worked out financing. He agreed and I remember nothing else of that day until I got home. Running into the house at 90 M.P.H., "Dad! Dad! Where is Dad?", I yelled in every room in the house. There he was, puttering around in his garden in the back yard. I slid to a stop in front of him, totally out of breath. Nothing rattled My Old Man. It was time for The Sales Pitch of My Life!

Explaining every possible detail to my Father and appealing to his sensible nature, I actually convinced him that this was a good deal. He co-signed my first loan at Mahoning National Bank. Little did I know that someday they would have the paper on everything but my First Born! The Boys from KSU dropped the car off and my Dad and Brother-In-Law brought the car to me at work. How nice of them! They asked for the keys to my old Jalopy and I asked for the keys to the GTO. After checking all their pockets, they realized they locked 'em in the car! A coat hanger, a removed back seat, and more swearing than a Sailor's Convention, the keys were found in the trunk.

I felt immediately, I had The Sharpest Ride in Struthers High School, if not the entire Youngstown Area! My buddies had their Cameros, Fire Birds, and Mopars. I had A "Goat", Baby! I went to work adding all the extras to really make it a Muscle Car. Mag Wheels,(Craiger S/S, of course), Air Shocks, L60 Wide Tires, and a Killer Sound System, complete with a Mini 8-Track Player.

My buddy's famlily owned a local body shop. After drinking a six-pack to steady his hand, he did the most beautiful Paint Job ever! He used 18% Metallic Paint which is very difficult to work without creating sags. We checked it over with a Fine- Toothed Comb, not a flaw anywhere! He got a lot of work by people seeing my car.

I blew the engine in the Pontiac. Pistons and Rods flying everywhere! A Good Ol' Boy I knew, put in a 455 Cu.In.,4 Barrel Carb., with a Hurst competion 4-Speed. and a 411 Rear End.(how's that for Motor Head Talk?)The GT37 was now so fast, it would literally come off the ground in first and Second Gear! I had the car for a couple of more years. Before I got carried away some night on Rt. 422 and wrapped it around a Telephone Pole, I traded it in on a Little Fiat X19. My Motor Head Days were over!