Thursday, November 19, 2015
Costly Drag Race
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