Drive What? That Chick CAR!
The saga began with my wife uttering those ever exciting words…“Honey I have an idea …with gas prices what they are, maybe you should drive the Miata, and I’ll drive your SUV. Since you drive 70 miles round trip”… it was about here that I didn’t hear what else she had to say. I think it was because there was a big whoosing sound in my head, like someone let the air out of my ego. I mean c’mon. Me and my SUV leap buildings in a single bound, we rescue hundreds of women and children from burning buildings. What the Hell are me and this, this, little two seater roadster gonna do? Huh? Help a little ol’ lady cross the street? Geez.
I tried to think quick, and speak even quicker. How’d that go you ask? Let me tell ya. “But honey…isn’t that a er… a, Chick Car? I mean, uh, it’s cute and all, I mean for a chick, but…and you look great behind the wheel…but…” The look I received in return said, “If it’s a chick car, then you had better be gettin’ in touch with your feminine side…cause at four bucks a gallon, either you do…OR WE DON’T!”
Now understand, I was a cop for 30 years. I have been in 130 MPH plus pursuits behind the wheel of 429 Fords, and my favorite, an unmarked hemi 440. I grew up owning Mustangs (4) one 71 Mach One, Duster 340’s (3) one a 340 Wedge, a 1969 GTO, a 71 Formula Firebird, and a 72 Trans Am. At one strange point and unexplainable reason in my life, I owned a MG Midget. God I may have even wore an ascot. So it was like someone taking my .45 Colt and handing me a single shot .22 and saying, “Now go in there and arrest that guy!” You just feel less manly.
Resigned to my fate, and in the interest of our checking account…I opened the door to the little black 99 Miata and inserted my 6’1” frame to see if I would even fit in the damned thing. Huh! Sort of comfy, like the cockpit of a fighter. It had a feel to it. Reminded me of the MG Midget. Sort of the feel you get when you’re in the presence of something…something…engineered properly. Something engineered to be driven. Not something TO drive…something YOU Drive! The speedometer ends at 145 MPH! NO WAY! 7000 RPM redline…you kiddin’ me?
Let’s go for a spin. I-95 is two miles away. I hit the on ramp in first gear, maxed out the tach through all three gears, pushed the little overdrive button on the stick (neat) and before I knew it….DAMN! Now all I can say about that little test drive is I made two mental notes to myself:
#1. Just because a Ford Truck has Lightning decals on it…does not mean it’s as fast as Lightning or a Miata.
#2. The right latch that holds the convertible top down becomes unlatched at 131-133 MPH and stops you from realizing the full potential of a “Chick Car!”
On the return trip I hit the off ramp to my house and didn’t touch the brakes when I turned left. It seemed the faster I went into the turn; the more the car hugged the asphalt. Hell I would have rolled anything else over except the Batmobile. When I stopped at the light I realized my hands were shaking, and thought for a moment that my blood sugar had dumped (I’m diabetic). No, not that, it was a pure adrenaline dump! I was driving a car. A car built to be driven, not to just ride in. I was sixteen years old. Back at the house, sitting in the garage staring at the little roadster…I summarized …”Okay, not bad. But it needs something…it’s so plain.”
Now I’m kinda Old School. And the car’s paid for. If I screw it up…oh what the hell!
To the junkyard. One gull wing style spoiler from an 80’s model Sunbird, Old School Corvette style.
A trip to the paint store, two quarts of paint. Two 12” Shelby stripes in Brilliant Silver, from nose to tail. Old School Shelby style.
A 1965 Shelby Mustang hood scoop, remove 6 ½ inches from it, bolt it on and make it functional. Again…Old School Shelby style.
And that big gaping mouth in the front is screaming for something. A trip to Lowe’s, 30 bucks worth of aluminum stock and three hours later, a front grille reminiscent of the first Corvettes or Ferrari’s. Now that says “Attitude!” Now buff, buff, and buff some more.
When I fill it…I mean, When I fill her up, or stop at an auto parts store, I now get asked…”What is that? Is that a Lotus? Is that a Ferrari?” I just laugh…shake my head, and say…”That’s my chick car.” Zoom, Zoom, Zoom.
This weekend I have to make a grille for a local guy who races his Miata at nearby Roberling Road Track. I have also been asked to paint stripes on two cars. Now where do I get one of those TURBO THINGIES? I bet it cost more than Four Bucks a Gallon!