Walrilla's Wonderings

WALrus+goRILLA=Walrilla! What's not to love?

21 February, 2007

Cars, Cars, Cars

Hammer has a meme started over at his place, about the car you wish you had back, and the car you wish you had never had. Being a car guy, I thought I would give it a try.

The car I wish I had back isn't a car, actually. It was a 1968 Chevrolet Pickup, short wide bed, with chrome bumpers, and chrome grill trim. The engine had blown up while my father had it, so he replaced the old engine with a 350 c.i.d. from a 1973 Camaro, along with the Turbohydromatic 400 transmission from the same car. He took the tranny to a good transmission shop and had it "bulletproofed", basically overhauled and beefier gears installed in it.

I loved that truck. I couldn't wait to get my driver's license, so I could drive it(legally), whenever I wanted to. Man, once I got my license, I was always asking for tasks and errands to run, just so I could drive.

This truck wasn't very fast. It would only run about 100 m.p.h., but it would get there fast. We did some calculations, and figured out it had 4.56/1 gear ratio in it. It was one of the fastest vehicles off the line that I ever drove. Almost no one could beat me off the line, but I had no top end speed. At 80, it was screaming.

After I graduated, I started working at an auto parts store in a town about 25 miles from my home. As I was driving to work one morning, the fan clutch disintegrated, and let the fan go through the radiator, dumping all the coolant, and cracking the heads. Luckily enough, my manager at the parts store was a dirt track racer and part time mechanic. He just happened to have some Chevy "Double-Hump" heads that he would sell me, and install them for me, at a reasonable price. It was really a very good deal, something like parts and $100, really not very much. He even threw in a fiberglass Flex-Fan, for free. As for why I was so happy to get these heads, standard Chevy exhaust valves are 1.94 inches in diameter. The "Double-Hump" heads have a much larger exhaust valves at 2.02 inches. The larger diameter allows the exhaust gases to escape from the cylinder faster. The free-er the engine breathes, the better it runs, and, theoretically, the faster the vehicle goes. Now, with no more modifications than my pickup had, the larger valves really had no effect, but you have to remember, I was 18, and a car guy, so being able to casually say, " Yeah, it's got a '73 350 and double humps, with a 4.56 in the rear." was just beyond my capability to resist!

I drove that truck for a couple more years, until I had a complete Brain Fart minute, and traded it for a '73 VW SuperBeetle. This was not the worst car I ever had, but it did lead to it. When I got tired of cramming my considerably sized body into the VW, I traded it for an '80 Buick SkyHawk, and this is the worst car I ever had. My brain won't even allow me to remember any details of it, except for the time it swapped ends on me as I was simply downshifting when coming up to a stop sign. I hated this car with a passion. The brakes went out, then the clutch went out, then when it swapped ends, it hit the curb and bent the rear axle, causing me to have to buy a new axle. I traded this car in as soon as I could, even though I spent so much, I nearly had a new car already.

If they ever invent and perfect time travel, I'm going back and getting that truck from my dumb ass self!




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