My Dad writes too. Guest blog post from my old man (isn’t that what they would have said in the 50’s?):
“I came across this high school graduation picture of me. All the seniors had to sit for the formal pic and wear a coat and tie. Of course, there were the rebels who would not wear a coat and tie. I remember one guy, a weightlifter, who showed up in a muscle shirt fresh out of PE class. He had no idea what day it was so all he had was the muscle shirt he usually wore to school. He was told that he could not take his picture in the shirt so he took it off. He was a crazy one. No one ever argued with him. They just left him alone.
Notice that I had a lot of hair on my head at that time. Almost every guy carried a black Ace pocket comb in his back pant pocket. It was cool to pull out that comb and start combing… especially in front of the girls. I remember one Friday night, weekends were “dragging” night… usually after going to the record hop and then to the drive-in for burgers and malts we would end up drag racing (dragging) our cars around midnight. If we had a date, we took her home early enough so as not to miss the midnight drag races.
On this particular Friday night, I took on a guy who had a ’58 Pontiac with a big engine. I had a ’55 Chevy… but not with the Chevy engine. It had a ’58 Pontiac engine that was souped up with three carburetors, a magspark transformer for ignition, a full-race (almost flat lobed) camshaft, a 4:11 ratio rear end, traction bars, headers and dual exhausts, and a 2000-lb hydraulic Ford tractor clutch. It was a screamer!!! Anyway, the guy I was to race had no idea what was under the hood of my Chevy. He had won many a midnight drag race. And, he was ready to do it again.
As the starter began the countdown… “on your mark”…. “get set” … my shotgun man on the right front passenger seat told me that the guy in the Pontiac had a smirky grin, didn’t like the look on his face and had just given him the high sign… if you know what I mean. I told my shotgun man not to worry, that he would be in my rear view mirror before we finished the quarter-mile race.
As the starter counted down to … “GO!!”, the Pontiac went by me burning rubber. My Chevy was so geared down with the 4:11 rear end that I never slammed full power at the line. If I were to hit the gas, I would fishtail all over and possibly throw me into his lane or off the track. Instead, I took off the line slowly so as not to fish tail… still on one carburetor and first gear. By this time the guy in the Pontiac was about one car length in front of me. I slam-shifted into second gear and accelerated to full throttle… kicking in all three carburetors and, Godalmighty, my Chevy with the souped-up Pontiac under the hood took off like, as we used to say, “A Bat Out Of Hell!!!” You could hear the roar of the carburetors all the way back to the starting line.
I passed the guy in the Pontiac and saw him in my rear view mirror when my shotgun hollered “FINISH!!!” I beat him by two car lengths!!! CREAMED HIM!!!! The purpose of the shotgun is, while I am concentrating on the road, speed, steering and things immediately in front of me and maintaining control as the car accelerates to 100 mph in a quarter-mile, to keep his eyes on the periphery for anything out of the ordinary… like the cops. After the race, we turned back to the starting line and picked up those who had come with us to watch. While there, the guy in the Pontiac whom I had just creamed, came up to me to check out my car. As was the custom, we popped the hoods to take a look. His jaw dropped when he checked out my Chevy. He shouted at me and said, “Hey man, this ain’t no Chevy engine!!!!” “I never said it was… you picked the race,” I said. To my surprise (and shock) this guy was the weightlifter who showed up for his senior picture in the muscle shirt!!! The Rebel!!!
He had two other buddies who came with him. I had three… but his buddies were bigger than us and were weightlifters. As he got into his car to drive away, he drove up next to me and got off. He looked at me and at my friends,….. reached in his back pant’s pocket …. and pulled out …. HIS BLACK ACE POCKET COMB!!!!! He started combing his hair and said in a low voice… “That was a tie, right???” And drove off into the night.
He never raced me again.”