Street racing is for punks. Today, I have nothing but the highest disdain for the idiots that do it. Today I know what it can do. I have lost a relative to a horrific auto accident, I have seen friends scarred for life and I have witnessed terrible crashes, I have come close but never been involved. With all that said I was an idiot in high school and would often street race down narrow alleys in the dark, speed around city streets and charge blindly through intersections.
Dad’s 1959 Rambler was similar to this picture but bright red!
I was a Senior in High School and was on top of the World. Friday nights were for dates and Saturday nights were for hanging out with the guys. Sundays, that was for homework! I had my own car but it was really a jalopy and so my parents would let me use the family car for dates.
On this particular Friday night, I was out with my special girl. We lived in a medium-sized town in rural Iowa. There was little to do after a movie or football game so driving the “loop” was a popular activity. When that was slow we would just cruise through town to see who we could find.
While cruising down a local main street, a pair of headlights suddenly appeared in my rearview mirror. It was almost on my bumper. As it turned out, a friend had his parent’s brand new 1964 Ford Galaxy 2 door with a 390 and was looking to show off how fast it was. I had my girl and was stupid.
This should not have been a race at all. That big block Ford could easily have dusted off my little 59 Rambler six-cylinder pushbutton automatic without ever engaging its 4 barrel carb! However, this was not a drag race. It was a two-lane road and I was in front. I was the little rabbit being chased by the big dog so I got to set the path.
The 1964 Ford Galaxy chasing me was like this but turquoise and white, if I remember correctly.
On the straights that Ford could haul but I would dust it off on the turns. So my path was to turn at EVERY possible corner, the sharper the better and the narrower the road the better so I mostly went down alleys. Every time we got on a stretch of straight he was on my rear bumper.
I began to turn at every alley and look for the narrowest ones I could find and I began to pull away. Suddenly, there were no headlights in my mirror. I was shocked! I thought to myself that I was a superior driver and that little six-cylinder Rambler could really handle. I could not believe I got away from the 390 Galaxy.
Back at school on Monday, I heard the rest of the story. It seems the big dog got caught! The Sheriff spotted us and nailed the Galaxy. The man with the badge asked the Galaxy driver who he was chasing. My friend (?) quickly gave me up for a warning from the officer. When I heard all this I knew I was in trouble. I was sure my Dad would get a call right away and in a few days, I would be grounded. Worse, my girlfriend’s parents would find out and she would not be allowed to date me anymore! NO!
If you are like me, waiting is the worst? I just couldn’t stand waiting for the call to come. Every time the phone rang I just knew it was the Sherriff. Or maybe he called while I was at school and I would get it when I got home. I waited and waited but no call. Now I wondered if he knew the story and was just making me squirm to increase the punishment.
As it turns out, there were several families in town with the same last name. The Sherriff obviously didn’t know which one I belonged to and he didn’t want to call everyone. So, my dad never got the call!
I actually got away with that one. Unfortunately, I did not learn my lesson. I kept doing stupid things with cars and eventually got caught more than once. I was punished but it took more than one time to learn my lesson. Today, I look back like many of us do and wonder how I ever survived and how lucky I am to have never killed my self or someone else.