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My Car Life in a Nutshell

Discussion in 'New to the H.A.M.B.? Introduce yourself here!' started by DustBuster, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. DustBuster
    Joined: Oct 21, 2011
    Posts: 3

    from FL

    [FONT=&quot]Livin’ the Era[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]I feel so fortunate having lived through a blip on the map of US automotive history, later to be known as the ‘Muscle car’ era. I was 17 when I ordered a new TX9 71 Cuda (you do the math calculating my age!). Not having much money, I ordered the baseline model with only a few options. The upgrades were 3.91 rear gears, an AM/FM stereo and a ralley dash. No road/ralley wheels, no console for the pistol grip; manual steering, brakes and windows. The base engine was an N code 383. The car cost $3,579.00. I forget what the breakdown was on the few options that were ordered. The car was ordered in Oct of 1970 and arrived at Ridgewood Plymouth (in Queens NY) in November. I picked it up at night and man, was it mean looking under the dealer lights. What a first impression![/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The 70’s were a great time to own a musclecar. Almost every guy I knew had one. We'd work on them in yards, single car garages and out in the streets. Every car had some mods; at least headers, intakes and carbs. No one went in for pretty looks. Nice rims were as far as cosmetics went. At night we'd cruise the boulevards looking for girls, cars to race and places to eat (but not in that order). At selected meeting places the heavy hitters (as today) were the blown cars, hemis and of course the ever popular tunnel rammed cars. Some that immediately come to mind were a rat powered GTO, an 800 hp race fuel burning Camaro and one badass Max wedge Fury.[/FONT] Names like Dino the Greek, Vinny from Atlantic Speed and the boys from S&K were the big names. [FONT=&quot]There was only one Hemi powered car that we would see on a frequent basis and this was in NYC! Street racing happened every weekend at Connecting highway or Crossbay Blvd. It usually occurred after midnight. On the Connecting hwy, we had cars block the lanes at the start and finish so the racing could go on uninterrupted. Much cash was exchanged at this place. The blvd racing was just between two measured points. I raced a 70 Chevelle there, in what would be my closest and maybe last street race. I beat him by a side marker length. Afterward, winners, losers and followers would all go to a pizza joint and BS. They were great times. One of my favorite memories was raising some money to buy gas as I was running on fumes. We scraped up 75 cents and stopped at a Sunoco. It got us a little over 2 gallons of 260 (about 104 octane) and we were on our way again! (Full service too!)[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] With all the money I was putting into go fast parts, I became nervous about theft. My theft deterrent? I pulled the Holley carb off the motor at night and brought it into my apartment with me! I got used to the stench of gasoline pretty quickly! My best score happened by fate. I was at a stop light one day and up next to me pulls another Cuda. The car itself was in rough shape, but it had a shaker hood with a piece of flat aluminum stock covering the hole where the shaker bubble should have been! His 70 was black as was mine, and I immediately got the idea of a swap. I rolled down the passenger window and asked if he was interested. Well, he was as crazy as I was and we went back to my place and switched hoods in the driveway! My next mission was to get all the related shaker parts to make the changeover complete. I went to S&W Dodge and got all the parts (baseplate, adaptor ring, bubble, grills, gaskets and cables) for a whopping $175.00. Life was good! [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] With this change, I started to go racing more than ever. 4.56 gears replaced the 3.91’s, a radical Racer Brown cam replaced the stocker, open Hooker Headers and a weight reduction program fed my need for speed. New York National Speedway (now defunct), was the track of choice. The car was cranking out 12.57 ET’s and I was in Mopar heaven. I was still using it as my daily driver as gas was cheap, but the need for a beater was becoming obvious. The Cuda’s last blast as a street car was a good one. My pregnant wife (at the time) woke me up one night to tell me it she was going into delivery. She would experience the fastest and loudest ride to the hospital on record! I think the fumes and noise influenced the fetus; my son is as crazy today as I was![/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] Next up for the Cuda and me was a lifestyle change. I moved to the wilds of New England to attend college in 1974. I raced the Cuda at New England Dragway sporadically for the next few years. My funds and free time were virtually non-existent and gas prices had doubled to the tune of $.68 a gallon! What really caused me to lose all interest was an accident which crushed the Cuda front and back. I was flat towing the car back from the drag strip after a great day in which I won my class. I’m sitting at a traffic light when all of a sudden I was thrown forward in my tow car. Some idiot from Maine (no offense to Maine-iac’s), driving a transporter with his race car on top slams into the back of the Cuda. The Cuda suffered damage front and rear…can you say accordion? After exchanging paperwork, I came to find out that this guy did not have any insurance, as Maine did not require it at the time. Thankfully a policeman arrived at the scene before I strangled this moron. The investigation did not go quite as I expected as I was the one who receive a summons for having an out of state license! After a year of legal intimidation, I finally squeezed enough money out of the “man from Maine” to fix the Cuda. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The Cuda sat in my garage for 4 years, untouched. It had an amazing 18,000 miles on the odometer. Nearing graduation from college, my attention once again turned to the Cuda. The new reincarnation was that of a “Street Brawler” again. In reality, in addition to the bodywork, the only changes were a full exhaust system, street tires and 3.91 gears. In this configuration I drove the car around a small town for four months. I was student teaching at a high school at the time and drove the car to the school frequently. It received its fair share of looks and questions, but one of the students in particular seemed very interested in it. I didn’t give it a thought and just used the car on occasion as a part time thrill ride. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]After student teaching things were coming together fast. I met the Goddess who is typing this (aka my trophy wife), got a job 60 miles from where I lived and had to downsize from a house to an apartment. The student that showed interest in my car (remember him?), showed up at this time and offered to buy the Cuda with money that he had been left by his deceased Grandmother. It was 1978 and $3,700.00 for a car which didn’t seem to have much of a future sounded like a huge sum of money. The Cuda exchanged hands for the first time. A year later, the Cuda was sold again. The high school student blew the clutch. Selling price? $1,700.00!! Had I been in the area, I would have re-purchased the car. A few years later the car wound in the hands of noted restorer, Chuck Pierce. He did a complete restoration, used it in one of his ads and sold it to someone in Arizona. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Today, all that I have left of that bad black ‘71 Cuda is a handful of pictures, a broadcast sheet and a lot of great memories; and those I will never sell or trade!![/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Today, I wrench, drive and race a 1974 Plymouth Duster w/ a 440 for motorvation. 50 w runs deep in my veins. I also have a 2010 Street Bob stripped of all the HD bs badging. Is there anything better than the sound of a 4 stroke and smell of fossil fuel?:D
  2. Pasta
    Joined: Aug 16, 2010
    Posts: 65


    Welcome to the H.A.M.B. from another Mopar man from CT. GREAT story man!
  3. All that typing and still not Introduce YOURSELF???
    Read the "sticky" at the top of this page..INTRODUCE YOURSELF..
    By the way this forum is not much interested in cars past 1964.
    This is a "TRADITIONAL HOT ROD" forum..welcome anyway as you might like our kind of cars...
  4. screwball
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 1,761


    Thats a cool story I am a little younger than you but still find muscle cars boring as hell. They were all over the local boulevards most owners were full of themselves and bull. I hung and talked to the real builders and hot rod guys who built there old cars. Back in the good old days when hot rods were built just because you wanted one and there was no resale value. Oh welcome I guess. Are you building a vintage car?

  5. welcome to the hamb as you can see in my signature i own a 69 roadrunner , but just so you know musclecars of anytype are REALLY not welcome here so dont take any gruff you get personnel

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