The Greater Kansas City International Auto Show revs up next week…
The Kansas City Convention Center will be filled with that new car smell. I go every year with my brother Steve and our boys. Cars are a passion for us and I think Detroit has come full circle on some of the models I drove in the late 60’s and early 70’s.
The new Chevrolet Camaro, the Dodge Challenger and the Ford Mustang remind me of the muscle cars I fell head-over-hot rod heels for back then.
I’ve owned a few fast cars in my life and hindsight being 20/20. I’d give almost anything to have one or two of them parked in my garage right now.
My High School love Mary dropped me like a Ford Pinto gas tank in the early 70’s.
I was in the Air Force and I had the money to buy my first new car
I tried to get over my grief by purchasing a 1973 Pontiac Ventura
The Ventura was the same body style as the Chevy Nova
It came stock with a 350 V8 and a four barrel carburetor
It was my first new car
It even had custom wheels with raised white letter tires
Detroit was producing some smoking fast cars in the late 60’s into the early 70’s
Every one of my buddies from high school, college and just old guys sitting around shooting the crap has a sob story about the muscle car they let get away
I’m sure people reading this have someone in their family with pictures and stories of a their first love going from zero to 60 while they were pinned to the seat
The first car I bought, was a 1964 Mercury Comet 2 door hardtop with a 260 cubic inch V8
The Comet was the same body style as the Ford Falcon
I had to spend money on new wheels for the Comet since the stock wheels were not cool to me as a teenager
I drove the Comet for almost a year
I needed a four speed to be more hip -or back then, I think the term was groovy
So I jumped to a 1966 Pontiac GTO with a 389 V8, three two barrel carbs, four on the floor and big mag wheels and raised white letter tires
Totally cool, fast and loud
One of my best friends in high school, Dave, had a badass 1965 Mustang Fastback
His dark green machine had a 289 V8 with a four on the floor and dual exhaust
It looked and sounded like the mustang Steve McQueen drove in the movie Bullett
Dave and I drove up and down our main drag drinking milkshakes, eating fries and acting tough
One ill fated night Dave loaned the Mustang to his friend Bob, Bob usually rode his motorcycle everywhere but he had a date, so Dave loaned him the ‘stang. Bob lost control of the power of the green machine and crashed it into the side of our favorite hamburger joint.
Dave was out a car and our burger place closed briefly for repairs
Dave replaced the ’65 with a yellow 1970 Shelby GT 500. The first time I drove his Shelby, a Camaro came alongside us at a stop light. So of course, I punched it as soon as the light changed
The Shelby had so much power the tires slipped even shifting from second to third at over 70 miles per hour
Then gas shot up to over 30 cents a gallon and some of us traded for vehicles a lot more stingy on the go juice
Dave traded his Shelby 500 for a Volkswagen bug.
I am not kidding, you think I would make that up?
I dumped my beautiful GTO for a brown Opel Kadett
My friend Hank decided to tough it out with his bright yellow, 1970 Roadrunner, “The Bird,” while I drove “The Turd”
Hank is an old friend who’s gone full circle. He drove the heck out of the Bird until it was costing him too much to drive. Four kids and a mortgage and Hank moved behind the wheel of a minivan for years. Now the kids are grown and gone and grandpa Hank is roaring to his grandkids soccer games in a 2010 Hemi Challenger.
Hank is totally one bad ass grandpa
Meanwhile Dave was making a statement about the environment. He stayed with Volkswagen for years. He went from the bug to the bus. He was a 60’s child man going green before we knew what that meant. Now he drives a sensible Lexus.
So enjoy the auto show!
Compare prices and features and think about how cool and fast the cars were in your youth
Or maybe it was a car your mom or dad drove that you bragged about
I bet you wish it was sitting in your garage right now