Thursday, November 19, 2015

Costly Drag Race

Image result for 47 packard

I mentioned in the previous article about my street racing experiences that the most memorable contests were the ones I lost.  This one, however, is quite different.

Wes acquired his own car for his senior year.  But at the time of this tale he was driving his parents' 1947 Packard Super Clipper Eight.  Wes went on and on about how quick the car was off the line, averring that he had beaten many challengers much to their surprise.  Personally I could not believe that that lumbering tortoise could be swifter than my little hare, but having ridden with him on occasion I knew that it was surprisingly quick.

Another Grey Car Encounter
I was driving south on Cascade Avenue just after sunset.  When I approached the light at Boulder what should I see but the Packard stopped in the right lane.  I pulled up along-side.  Wes was at the wheel and alone.  I revved up and offered the challenging moves.  His intent stare at the stoplight told me, challenge accepted, sucker!

The light changed and both vehicles jumped into the intersection.  But then as I shifted into second I looked to my right.  No Packard.  The rear-view mirror revealed the grey monstrosity rolling to a stop at the curb.  I swung around the block and pulled up behind the disabled car and a very abashed friend.  On his shift attempt he had totally destroyed the transmission

He had to pay for the work to repair the car and my memory somehow keeps flashing me the figure $400.*  Though I won that race we never did establish whether or not the Clipper was quicker than the little Ford.  I think at least one of us gave up street racing that night.


Packard: 356 c.i. in-line 8, 165 h.p.  The behemoth tipped the scales at 4900 lbs.
cf.Ford at 239 c.i. V -8, 100 h.p. weighing in at 3240 lbs.
* For comparison, at that time my father's salary was $240/mo.

Word of the day:  behemoth


Vee said...

A volume containing the exploits of you and your friend, Wes, would fill a sizable space on a library shelf. I wonder what Dewey number would be assigned to this work, but we don't have to worry about him anymore.

Secondary Roads said...

My friend in his dad's 55 Chev, and I in my dad's 57 Ford, raced down the newly opened stretch of freeway. Side by side we went. The Ford hit 101 at top speed. The Chev did 102 or 103. Question answered, we didn't try that again.

vanilla said...

Vee, maybe 364 or 999.

Chuck, and here I thought I was a wild and crazy kid.

Lin said...

Great story! I imagine the road dusty and empty...but filled with drama.

vanilla said...

Lin, had we but had sense enough to take it to a dusty deserted road. But I'm still here.