Today’s story is about the car that got me hooked on Mopars.
I had learned to drive a stick shift when I was 11 years old, putting my parent’s almost new 1972 VW Van around our 3 acre property. Fast forward a few years and we had moved twice, this time downsizing to an apartment complex. One of my older sisters (Kitty) was dating a guy (Kurt) who had a blue ’70 Road Runner, 383 4 speed, black interior with a bench seat. (Similar to this picture) At that time it was just another 10 year old used car.
One day, my younger sister (Janie) said she wanted a ride up to the 7-11 to get some sodas. I was 15 and had a learner’s permit, so Kurt tossed me the keys to his car and told me to give it a spin. It was only 1 mile away and most of the drive was through the apartment complex and up a side road. What could go wrong?
I slowly drove the car taking the frontage road and then I sat in the car with it idling while my younger sister went in the store. There was 2 older guys standing next to a 396 Chevelle and they were looking at me, probably trying to figure out his this “kid” got a hot car. My sister came back out and sat in the car, holding a Big Gulp in each hand. I slowly turned the car around, but instead of going back up the frontage road, I decided to pull out onto the main road. There is a stop light just to my right and the road slopes down a slight hill from the left. It was tough waiting for a break in traffic and my left leg was shaking, trying to hold down the Zoom 3600 pound clutch. Finally there was an opening in traffic, and I tried to ease out onto the street, but my leg gave out and the clutch slammed all the way up. I heard the engine start to stumble and drop RPMs, so I gave it some gas…… too much gas, because we burned tires out of the parking lot and all the way up the street. If that wasn’t enough excitement, we were on the wrong side of the line, heading towards a green Pinto. I jerked the car to the right, into the correct lane, then quickly slammed 2nd gear. I don’t know if the left motor mount was broken before we started this journey, but it was definitely broken at this point, because the long Pistol Grip shifter jumped hard to the right, and since I was still holding it, my fist punched my sister in the arm. Soda went flying around the inside of the car and we made a quick left turn on the side street to head back to the apartments. We pulled back into the same parking space we had previously left and Kurt was there, smoking a cigarette. He asked me “How was it?” and I stammered back “Fri-fri-FRIGHTENING!”.
That was my first Mopar experience and after that, I new I had to have one for my high school ride.