It Was One of Those Days - Pt 25

Raven

Here - watch THIS!
The ride into town was fairly uneventful – well, if you can call trying to keep rein on several hundred lb/ft of torque and Horsepower ‘uneventful’. The GSX just does not like to be kept at bay. About halfway to the restaurant, the sun was low enough that I pulled the big headlight switch out to illuminate the parking lamps. This of course caused the gauges to come alive with an eerie glow. The needles held steady in their normal zones and other than the tach and the speedo, they were fairly constant. But the fight was always there when a stoplight or stop sign came along the way…

The big cam just did not like to let the engine idle smoothly, even with the automatic. The best comparison I can give you is if you have ever been to an NHRA event and heard the Pro-Stocks or even the Fuelers idle up to the line. To call their heavily explosive staccato beat an ‘idle’ is really a misrepresentation – it is more like trying to keep in check a motor that sounds like it simply wants to blow its heads right off the block with the uneven and lopey ‘idle’.

When you approach a stop with the GSX the first thing you notice is the abrupt, almost brutal, downshifts of the transmission. With each successive downshift, the car jerks forcefully and the whine from the heavily cut billet parts and gears almost makes you think the car has a blower on it. There is absolutely no driveline slop whatsoever – the suspension is taut and unyielding and the ride is harsh, almost unbearable on the street.

But this car wasn’t meant or built to be a cushy street car, one that would pamper its riders with silky smooth luxury and quiet, unassuming manners. Far from it – it was built to lay waste on the track and the only reason Frankenstein will allow a passenger is to steer it or to witness the carnage.

So, to take the GSX from the track to the street is like taking the 30mm seven barrel Gatling-gun Cannon from the A-10 Warthog Tank buster to a knife-fight – it doesn’t even belong there. And every time you try to stop the black leviathan from continued forward movement, it reminds you in very un-subtle ways that it does NOT want to stop.

It wants to keep hunting… and killing…

At a stop sign or light, the car is very impatient. The lurching of the drivetrain with each lope of the cam and the rumbling of the mammoth exhaust is enough to make children cry and women turn away. It hurts your ears and it assaults all of your senses… just as what it might feel like to try and sit atop a rodeo bull that has absolutely NO intention of letting you ride just for the fun of it, so does the GSX tell you...

**************

We were sitting at the first major intersection. The GSX sat there grumbling menacingly, the pulsing of the mammoth engine vibrating the air around us as we sat in the far right lane. Traffic was still fairly light for the evening and we watched a couple of small cars dart across the intersection before us….

I noted that from behind a set of ‘cat-eye’ headlights was approaching the light. Suddenly, I saw the headlights swerve as the driver pulled the car over to come abreast of the GSX to our left and as it got closer, I could tell it was a very late model Camaro. As it pulled up to the light, I saw the bulging hood and ducktail spoiler as well as the distinct “SS” logo on the fender in blood red. The car looked like this:



This was an LS1 powered Camaro and a very healthy one at that. I looked over and noted that the driver was a middle aged black man, alone and with a Samuel L. Jackson look about him. Serious. All business.

He revved the SS and gave me a “Wanna go?” look. I revved him back and noted that Kelly cinched her seatbelt a bit tighter…

It looked like it was going to be a very fun evening…

Just then, I saw the tell-tale sign of two white jets of vapor streak skyward from the cowl area of the F-body – he was purging his nitrous system. Hmmm… ok... so here’s the layout…

I’m driving a very unfriendly, drag-strip built mega Buick but one that is over three decades old with no power adders other than enormous compression, big displacement, and a healthy appetite for destruction. In the other lane is a very late model and extremely formidable Camaro with the potent LS1 350 (and it might even be stroked and poked for all I knew at the time) that was obviously spraying. Given the enormous amount of purging he was doing, I had no doubt he was running at least a 100 shot if not more…

So, what else was there to do but to see just what Frankenstein was made of…?

As the Camaro driver began to build a few revs (he was driving a manual) in preparation to launch, I began to preload the torque converter. I watched the rpms come up as I noted the lights beginning to sequence…. No traffic at all… the evening was fairly quiet, at least until we began to loose the power beneath both hoods…

Immediately, the GSX’s demeanor changed. It was as if it sensed blood and it wanted it now… The car strained against the brakes as the torque began to be applied… the engine was no longer roughly idling; it wasn’t smooth but it was the sound you might have heard from Ali as he readied to deal Frazier the final blows after stepping back into the center of the ring with 11 rounds under his belt… powerful and deep…

The light was now yellow in the cross lanes and we were about to go green… I could hear the F-body’s exhaust but just barely over that of the GSX… they were roaring… Kelly’s left hand was now on my thigh as if to steady herself for what she KNEW would be a brutal launch… the rpms on the tack were already over two grand still climbing… I had to press hard on the footbrake as the torque tried to rip the tires loose from the pavement… the haunches of the GSX were now raised slightly as the torque was trying to rotate the rear axle away from the car yet the suspension did not yield…

I was glad I had put on the big Hoosier DR’s at the last minute…. Nearly slicks in about every sense of the word, they were sticky beyond comprehension on dry pavement but absolutely worthless if the dew fell. This would be their first real test…

It was then I saw the Camaro guy get a slight jump on me! He left just a hair early - just BEFORE the light changed - and I was still at the light as I saw his car begin to move, even before we had green…

He had a good half car lead as I sidestepped the brake. It was at THAT precise moment I realized that I had my hands full - just trying to hang on...

As I released the GSX to go into kill mode, a lot of things happened simultaneously. I flattened the accelerator to the floor JUST before I released the brake and this ‘flashed’ the converter up to its stall speed. AS the torque rolled in, the brakes released and the effect was almost as if you dumped a clutch in a stick-car – the Buick’s nose leaped skyward as the Hoosiers bit hard. The mammoth throats of the carbs were wide open and huge volumes of air and high-octane fuel were dumped in near bucket-sized quantities down the intake of the big 455. And at those same nano-seconds, the torque was unleashed in all its furious twisting might…

I felt the front end go light and almost immediately I was dead even with the F-body.. the GSX was already beginning to pass him even before the transmission rammed itself unapologetically into second gear with a vengeful force that would have yanked normal transmissions from their mounts… I could discern some movement of the Camaro as the driver shifted and given what the car was, it was doing very well indeed.

But it wasn’t even close to a match to the GSX.

Before it was into third, the Camaro was almost two car lengths behind and fading…

I watched the Camaro flash his brights acknowledging the loss. I slowed as another intersection was about a half mile ahead so that he could come up even with us. Kelly’s hand still squeezed my thigh but I heard her clearly…

“My god… this car is unreal… I don’t know whether I loved it or am even more terrified. Steve – this is no normal car… not at all… but what a race!”

The SS was now up with me and we were back down to ~45 mph… I looked over and Samuel L. Jackson’s twin was giving me a big thumbs up. I smiled and nodded my head as he roared on away, looking for more evenly matched prey…

I let Frankenstein slow a bit more as I scanned the gauges – all was well and normal. It was as if this run was just a sparring match. A good one, none the less, but really no competition…

“Kelly… that was a pretty cool guy. Did you see him give us the thumbs-up?”

“Yeah… that was nice of him. Obviously, he’s a real car guy… My god, Steve… when this car did the one-two shift, I think I pulled something in my neck… I’ve never ridden in such a brutal car… but I LOVE it!”

Yeah… I had to agree… Frankenstein is definitely a monster… and the SS found out the hard way that the GSX was no one to play with…

“Let’s go get dinner, ok Steve? I’m really hungry now!”

“Sure, Kel… me too…” I looked over at the most beautiful smile in the world. Not many women would ride in such a car, let alone enjoy such a vicious street race as we just had, and be smiling about.

But Kelly is not one of ‘those’ women… she is special. And I’m the lucky guy who is married to her!

We headed on into town and out near the retail area where ‘Restaurant Row’ can be found. The bright lights of all the stores and eateries lit up the evening sky with a gorgeous neon glow that can best be described as inviting. We rumbled on into Tumbleweed’s lot which already looked pretty full but found a place to park in the back that looked well lit.

I let the GSX idle (well, TRY to idle if that’s what you want to call it) for a bit and then shut it down. I could not believe how quiet the world seemed when I rotated the key counter-clockwise to “Off”! When the explosive clatter beneath the hood and out back from the exhaust stopped, it was as if we were sitting in a library!

“I didn’t realize how noisy this car really was… did you?”

“Steve, I didn’t either. But – apparently those guys did…”

I saw her nod towards a group of three guys who looked to be in their early 20’s at best heading our way. As we got out of the car, they were at the nose of it just looking and staring, as if to try and determine exactly what it was they were looking at.

“Say, mister. What IS this car? I’ve NEVER seen one like it – is it one of those old Musclecars?”

“Take a guess… what do you think it is?” I was playing along with them now… these guys obviously had never seen a GSX before in their lives. It was then I noticed a group of 3-4 ricers over on the far side of the parking area we were sitting in, neon aglow beneath all of them, and huge wings (some with two or three levels of wing) on the backs of them.

“It says G-S-X… what does that mean? Does it have naws? Is it pretty fast?”

I was trying to tell if they were being cocky or just asking honest questions. So, I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

“Boys, this is a Buick from 1970. No, it doesn’t run nitrous – or ‘naws’ as you call it. It’s all motor. And it’s pretty brutal… did you hear it when we pulled in?”

“Did we HEAR it? Dude – we FELT it! This car is bad-ASS! I wouldn’t race this car even if I had a Lambo! Actually, bro, I’m almost afraid just to look at it. It looks SICK…”

Ok… these were modern muscle fans…

“Can you show us the motor?”

“Sure. Hang on…” I walked around front and popped the hood and put the newly installed hood prop to use. No more stick of wood as Dollar-Bill liked to use.

As the massive motor came into view, at least two of the guys whistled…

“Man – look at that INTAKE! Are those carbs, man?”

It’s funny how you don’t really realize how little today’s youth knows about the Musclecar era until you get a chance to talk with them. I found out that this was the first time that two of them had even seen a carb – and NONE of them had ever seen a multiple carb set-up.

They were leaning over the fenders and almost drooling as they took in the sights and smells of the big 455. I knew how they felt – I felt the same way as Kel and I stood in Dollar-Bill’s dusty barn that hot summer afternoon and looked down into the engine bay with the same wide-eyed wonderment these guys had…

“How much smoke?”

“I really don’t know… but I CAN tell you this. We just raced a very stout Camaro SS on the other side of town that was spraying and this car ate him alive…”

“Was it a black SS? With a black guy driving it?” This was asked by the third guy who had up to this point been silent.

“Actually, it was. He was cool too. He gave us a thumbs-up even though he lost pretty badly…’

“Day-UM, dude. That car’s wicked. I know him – he’s Irvin Wallace and I’ve heard that that car runs 10’s on the spray. And you ate him up?”

Kelly spoke.

“I’ll just say that we won and leave it at that… yes; he lost.”

They murmured back and forth a bit before the center guy spoke.

“Do you know Shawn Davis? He’s got one of the baddest street cars we know of… ever race him?”

I had to think for a minute. It took a second but the light went on. Yes; Shawn… a big Mopar fan. I had heard of him but he didn’t live in Barstow so I never really ran into him. But supposedly, he has a pretty healthy Hemi-powered something…

“Doesn’t he have a Mopar?”

“Yep. That’s him alright… he drives a twisted orange ‘Cuda with a set of black skull and crossbones on its fenders. The car looks stock – except for the big meats out back - but isn’t. I would love to see him run this car – that would be a good race to see…

That comment drew some deriding remarks from the other two guys as well as from a couple of others that had just walked up to see what the fuss was all about… just like in the movies – whenever a monster is on the streets, people can’t help but come out to look at it even though they should stay indoors….

“I’m tellin’ you, man… you need to race this Shawn guy…. That would be a GOOD race… he comes around here every so often… he had another buddy who had a wicked white Trans Am but we haven’t seen him around for a while… but Shawn, man – he might just stop by anytime… you just never know…”

I closed the hood back down and made sure the car was locked as the crowd moved slowly around the GSX, admiring it at each turn…

“Tell you what, guys... If this Shawn guy shows up while we’re inside eating, tell him to wait for me. I would like to see what he’s driving… ok?”

“Sure will, mister... that’s dope, alright… man, this car is TIGHT!”

Kelly and I headed on into the restaurant, grinning and almost chuckling to ourselves about the way the youth of today talks…

Just as we got to the door of the restaurant, I heard a rumbling sound coming from the street out front as a built car slowed and then sounded like it was pulling into the parking lot… As I held the door open for Kelly to walk on in, I happened to glance back outside just in time to see…

An orange ’70 Cuda. It’s idle sounded nearly as rough and evil as Frankenstein’s… the glass in the door shook as it rolled by the building and I felt the pulses of the exhaust gases in my chest… it felt GOOD… the windows were tinted black and you could not begin to see inside but I did see one prominent feature.

It had a black skull and crossbones on its front fender….

Maybe we would get to eat… or then again, maybe not…


To be continued…
 
daaang raven, this story is great! i wanted to base my school film project one it, but i couldnt do it justice....well, that and it wouldnt be right to replace the buick with a ford or chevy. amazing!
 
i'm thinkin the cuda guy and the drug dealer with the tta knew each other.
great story's by the way, some parts do suck though , the part about waiting for the next chapter.
 
i'm thinkin the cuda guy and the drug dealer with the tta knew each other.
great story's by the way, some parts do suck though , the part about waiting for the next chapter.


Don't look now but the next chapter is already posted... :cool:
 
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