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New Driver


Old story,  still following the  same rule.                                                                                             When I was fifteen my dad helped me buy a ’53 Ford Victoria 2dht. Beautiful car.  Anniversary model. It had power steering and an automatic transmission behind the flathead.  I put dual straight pipes exhaust on it and changed the “slush box” tranny over to a 3 speed manual,  and changed the column out to keep it on “the tree”.                                                                                                          Rule 1. Dad said “ I know it will make noise, and you will drive too fast, but Do Not do it in your own neighborhood.” I only did it once.  A whole week with that car just sitting in the driveway.  I must have washed and waxed that car 3-4 times that week.                                                                                                                                        Now I still follow that rule. I have a ’38 coupe now, 302, auto, and glass packs.  It goes just over idle in MY neighborhood.                                                                                    But I still believe “loud pipes save lives”.                                                                                                                                        Thanks for hearing my memories.                                                                                                         Rick


   I like your dad's rule #1, Rick - and have pretty much always followed the same thing: never, ever, do dumb stuff in your car, in your own neighborhood.  And I honestly did try to not disturb other people's neighborhoods either, but must admit that I forgot myself a few times in my misspent youth.

   But the concept reminds me of a story: In a neighborhood where I lived from the late '70s until the mid-'90s, there was a 90-degree forced, almost blind-corner just three houses from mine.  The road was one of only three ways to get into and out of a subdivision behind me.  So it was fairly well traveled, and since people had to slow way down to make the 90, some tended to floor it right after turning.  This meant that by the time they got to my house, they were getting up a pretty good head of steam.  The posted limit was 20 - and there was an elementary school just down the road a couple of blocks, but it was kinda like Pomona Raceway out there sometimes- especially on a weekend night.

   My neighbor came to me with an idea... "Let's stash some 2x4s in the bed of your pickup", he said, "and I'll bring a couple of beers and lawn chairs about dark."  He had a little Nova, but my D100 with the big square camper shell was big enough to create a "blind" for us to sit behind.  When we heard a speeder coming up on the corner, we'd chuck a couple of boards out into the road.

   After a few guys hit the gas and then had to either hit the skids or hit the 2x4s - and some did both - the neighborhood raceway kinda died down and we had much more observance of the speed limit.

   Now before you respond that that was a very dangerous thing to do, I'll save you the trouble and agree 100%.  But at the time, he and I, having four small children and a lot of their friends playing in the neighborhood, well, we figured that our dangerous thing was the lesser of two dangerous evils.

   Today, that old neighbor and I are still friends and live close to each other, but in an entirely different city.  We both build and drive hot rods and classics.  And every once in awhile, we still sit in lawn chairs and sip a beer or two.  We both still observe Rick's dad's Rule #1.  But as we're both in our '70s and both have slowed down a step or two, I doubt if we'll ever again throw lumber in front of speeders in our neighborhood.

   But you can never be sure, and we've still got some spunk left, so if you're thinking about flooring it down our streets, keep one foot close to the brake pedal!  🙄