It Was One of Those Days - Part 43


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May 24, 2001
It Was One of Those Days - Part 43

When I got back to the front of the track at the staging area the roar from the crowd was deafening. Not surprisingly, over half of the crowd was yelling cheers for the Buick but if I’m being honest here, there were just about as many cheering for having seen a Veyron run a high 9.9x! People were pouring from the stands to come see the Bug for a variety of reasons. And, just as many were waiting to take a look at a dinosaur that should not have done what it just did.

I saw the crowd around the Veyron, many taking pictures if they could get close enough. You just do NOT see these cars that often, much less at a drag strip. And to see one run that kind of time coming from straight off the street? Anybody who is a performance car junkie knew they had seen something they might never, ever see again.

As I slowed the car, I saw Sally being swarmed by the fans. As always, she had a huge smile on her face as she was explaining this or that about her ride. And when she saw me pull up, she gave me a thumbs-up with that gorgeous smile again. Sally is first class, all the way.

But – Kelly was there first and as I swung the wide door open, she leaned in and planted a huge one on me. That’s my girl!

“Way to GO, STEVE!” she grinned. “Nice job, especially since I think only a few of us gave you much of a chance against that beast over there!”

I knew she was being totally honest there. But the GN showed it had what it needed when the time was right and I was proud of what the UAW’s finest had built way back then…

We ended up not doing much more at the track after that. It took nearly an hour for the crowd to clear, all the while the sounds of cars of every shape and horsepower filled the evening air as the test and tune slowly got revved back up.

Eventually, we all said our good byes. Sally had to get the papers on over to the offices and get checked in to the hotel. We traded cell numbers, grabbed a few more warm hugs and made promises to check in with each other over the weekend.

The night was very young and with a new breeze picking up, it looked like the good weather was going to hold as predicted. As Kel and I got back in the Buick I could hear Stacy fire up the Camaro – no matter how big a fan I am of the Turbo Buick, I’ve got to admit a healthy V8 ALWAYS sounds awesome.

Stacy pulled up alongside the GN, the windows down on the F-body.

“Where we going next?” Brandon asked, looking so out-of-place sitting in the passenger seat. But – he did have a huge grin on his mug and I could tell he was having a great time too.

I looked over at Kel with a “Whacha think?” expression.

“I know” she said… “Let’s head up to Central Avenue by the car lots and see what we see. Whadayathink? I heard that the BMW dealer got in a new M6 and I would love to take a peak at it if its there and we can see inside the showroom windows.”

We all nodded our heads. Not just to look at the car lots mind you.

We also knew that some of the baddest cars in the city would be prowling the street as well on this warm Friday night. With all the great fast food restaurants, well lit car lots, and a steady flow of traffic on the 5-lane street, it was another great cruising scene as well as good place to pick up some action if you were so inclined.

And after the fun times we had just had at Tri-County, I wasn’t quite ready to head home just yet.

We waved at Sally as she headed the opposite direction and sped away and then we turned north on Reynolds to head up past Airport road to catch the Central Avenue intersection. Reynolds avenue is no small street in itself…

A lot of traffic flows up and down Reynolds. It’s a bustling 5 lane city thoroughfare that offers a lot of stop-light bandit action but you’ve GOT to watch it. Cops are everywhere and the presence of the speed/stop light enforcement cameras pretty kills any thoughts of a ‘race’ other than at the few intersections that do not have them.

But – Central Avenue is another story.

Central runs east and west and while yes, it is a city street it is wide and the visibility is great. For the few that like to blow off some steam (as long as the law enforcement types aren’t out), there is a lot of opportunity to play.

I used to street race. A lot, actually. But I learned how easily and quickly fun times can turn tragic and will not run on a public street that has traffic or pedestrian access. I have no qualms about running out on a public road in the country or maybe even a quick reaction time check at a light but if there is other traffic or the chance of someone stepping out or pulling out into my path? No way… not any more.

Our little caravan was working its way north up Reynolds. We would stop at the lights and occasionally pull alongside each other, often asking if the other had seen that particular car or this particular store, etc… It was exactly at one of these mutual stops that we all saw ‘it’…

Actually – we heard ‘it’ first.

Oh, it wasn’t one of those loud fart can exhaust noises that you can hear three blocks away. No, and it wasn’t the sound of a 5-liter Mustang with an H-pipe and flowmasters.

THIS sound was much, much more ominous. Very dark and throaty… a sound that reminded me of something back when I was in high school in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s.

I had a buddy back then that worked with me at my first job bagging groceries (Doug) that had a big-block Nova SS (a ’69) that had a 396/375HP rat motor. Doug was a motor-head through and through and his Nova was far, far from stock. He never took it to a track that I knew of but his car was a giant killer on the street. He laid waste to everything he ran including Hemi Mopars, 440-6 pack Mopars, SCJ Fords, W-30 Oldsmobiles, and so forth. Looking back, I bet his car was easily a mid-9 second street mauler. Honestly, it was just about barely streetable.[.i]

But the fun thing? He drove it to work on the nice days and when we got off, he would let me ride in it with him when he went out hunting.

He paid off the Nova in less than a year including the mods with his winnings, it was THAT good. And its sound was something I had never heard since. He had Hooker headers on that car and Cyclone Purple Hornies.

Remember them? They were short little glass-pack mufflers (if you can call them mufflers) that didn’t really quiet the car but rather just took some of the sharpness out of the exhaust note. They bolted directly onto the header collectors and had a short turn-down to exhaust the gases beneath the car.

Most likely, they weren’t safe emissions-wise but hey, we didn’t know any better. I had seen Doug’s setup on other cars but NONE of them sounded like his.

So – here we sat at a light, the night had just begun, and we all heard it at the same time. From up ahead we could hear a very high performance car do a quick acceleration but it was when it slowed for the next intersection – still two lights up from where we were sitting – that we could hear the magical sound of a street monster.

Honestly? It sounded even HEALTHIER than Frankie. And that is scary.

Brandon looked over at me and yelled... “Sheesh, Steve – did you hear THAT? What IS that?”

“I don’t know B, but I think it’s heading towards us but it’s a light or two up yet. Either way, we should see it soon…”

About then, our light changed. We both accelerated slowly, keeping the exhaust noise down (as well as our windows), hoping to hear the car again.

The light ahead of us at the next block was green but as we pulled away from our intersection, we saw it turn red. On down the street, we saw the second light up go green. And that was when we heard it again.

Initially, as the light changed we heard a quick “Buh-WABBAH!!!” as the driver of whatever the freak was blipped the go-pedal and then accelerated away. We could see two pairs of headlights with the one closest to the sidewalk lagging behind the one in the near lane. We could not tell which was which but based on the noise, we knew it HAD to be one of those two cars.

The next intersection would reveal what it was.

I lagged a bit to pull in behind Stacy’s Camaro as we approached the intersection of Reynolds and Berne. To our left sat a demolished mall site, the anchor store having been a Montgomery Ward. Remember that chain? Well, now it was all a razed pile of rubble, the stores long demolished to make way for progress.

We got to the light ahead of the approaching two cars and by then, we were pretty sure the freak was in the near lane. The stance of the car was low and wide but until it got closer, we still couldn’t tell.

A Vette maybe? We were all guessing… even Kelly. “I don’t know Steve… it sounds like a huge big-block but the lights aren’t that familiar. What do you think, hon?”

“I don’t know Kel but I wonder if its one of the boys coming to town for the clash?”

“Hmmm… I bet it is,” she said as she was trying to see what the car was.

Up ahead, I could see Stacy and Brandon craning their necks too trying to sort out the mystery.

As the cars approached the light it got a little more visible. Whoever was in the outside lane actually got to the intersection first and then turned right. It looked like a Camry or an Accord, it was just hard to tell.
However, the other car was still hard to define due to the glare of the head lights approaching; the hellish exhaust note sounded like it might even have a hiss or perhaps a whistle/whine to it. Blown? We just didn’t know yet. One thing that did stand out was that it looked like MAYBE it had four headlights which pretty much meant it was likely to be an older muscle car of some sort. I just couldn’t tell for sure.

But the exhaust noise… OMG… it was mesmerizing and yet just as terrifying as the black GSX back in my garage. Maybe… worse.

Just then, Stacy revved the Camaro. It nearly made me jump out of my skin because she was RIGHT IN FRONT OF US! She did it – we found out later – to see if the other car would ‘answer’. We didn’t have to wait long.

It did and it did so with authority. “Buh-WABBAH!!!” and then it settled back into a steady drumbeat that whistled and whined and loped as if it was trying to die and kill something at the same time. Indescribable…

Just then, the driver of the Freak flicked his brights at Stacy. On – then back off.

I could see by the glare that Stacy did the same, not knowing why other than to respond we guessed.

We watched the traffic lights. The cross traffic light was still green and we were still sitting at a red light. But in seconds, the yellow caution illuminated in the cross lanes and then went red which meant we now had a green light.

In seconds, the mystery would be over. We heard the animal rev again and then accelerate. It had to be an automatic car because there was no discernable clutch engagement. Or at least, that was what it sounded like…

Stacy deliberately waited at the light and only pulled away slowly.

The other car did the same, and apparently for the same reasons.

I’m sure anyone looking on was wondering what was happening on Reynolds Road that night. In one lane, a dark ominous car was heading south with an exhaust sound that made your blood run cold. In the other lane and headed north were a new Camaro (with a rightfully nice exhaust noise of its own) and a whistling V6 Turbo Buick, all of which were barely moving as if eyeing each other, circling and weighing the opponent’s abilities, before grappling and dueling to the death as gladiators did centuries ago…

Then – we saw clearly what it was.

As ‘it’ rumbled past us it nearly stopped. The driver could not be clearly seen because of the shadows but it appeared that there were two people in the car, both of them leaning and looking across the street at us.

But the silhouette of the car gave it away once it was broadside to us.

The first thing that was surprising was the lack of any shine to the paint. The car had no shine whatsoever. It was as if it was painted in black primer or perhaps just flat black paint.

No shine at all… and it almost seemed to absorb light, not reflecting any back in any way.

The profile was distinctive. It was a Mopar; a long hood, rakish windshield that smoothly flowed back and cut down to the deck and trunk.

It was definitely a Dodge Charger from the Musclecar days…

A ’68 Charger to be exact… flat black, low slung, and with an exhaust note that – if you ever hear it – you will never, ever forget it. And now, it was prowling the streets of our city.

The Freak Show was now in town… and this was just the first one.

To be continued…
I'm ready to pack the family up and move to this town!!! Great read Raven, glad your back at it.
Well! It's about damn time. LOL
Thanks for the fix. Finally got the blood flowing during this cold weather. Can't get the car out so your stories are the next best thing. Keep it up. :biggrin:
Thanks for the patience guys.

The next chapter will hopefully be posted this Sunday (Feb 7). It keeps getting even better from here...
I got some chills reading that! great job!

x eleventy thousand four hundred fity-elemn.

Nice to check in once in a while and catch up by 4 chapters!

Raven, I certainly hope you are compiling this story.
The FNF aint got nothin on this! :D