The age to get a driver's license in New Jersey back in 1979 was 17. As soon as I aced my test, and I did ace my test...even though I was a girl. I was the epitome of a good student back then. I always wanted to do well in school and in sports and anything else I was involved in...and besides all that, nothing less than a B was acceptable in my home.
I've been ticket free and accident free ever since. Let's see...doing the math on my imaginary calculator; that makes just over 31 years without incident. Virtual High Five!!!!
I'd like to think that I wasn't a superficial teenage girl, but I have to say; I did get the hots for a guy in a great muscle car. A guy sees a woman in a bikini and goes bonkers. I used to see guys in sports cars and my hormones would do a little "skip to my Lou my darling". And, Oh Lordy, if that guy's car was a standard shift....then that increased the hot factor to steamy!
Since the late 70s tons of laws have been passed with regard to what kind of car you can put on the road and safety measures of the highest intrusive nature have been enacted.....as a result....I no longer see guys in souped up cars, in that drab gray primer....awaiting that blessed day when they saved enough money from their part time job to get an actual paint job. How sad that generations won't know that kind of fun!!!! O.K., yeah, so now the girls get to tool around town with their BBF's in way nicer cars, but those cars lack a certain je ne sais qua, and I will take it a step further and say that I think a lot of the guys lack that certain something also.
I remember the first time I went on a date with a guy in High School and he had his own car. It was a primed Chevy Chevelle and it was all black inside. He had that great scruffy look to him that's since made a comeback in men's hairstyles the past few years. He was just cool. He wasn't a big talker(that was my department!) but when he did speak; he was clever and funny and he always looked at me while he was driving...totally engaged in our conversation and punctuating the end of his sentences with a lingering gaze and a sparkle in his eye. And all the while.....he was shifting. And all the while, his hand was close to my leg...shifting....and it sent chills up my spine.
We went to a drive-in movie that night. Drive-ins......oh man. What a great place to hang out! I thought he was going to put the moves on me that night....but he didn't. He held my hand, which was then and still is for me today, a very erotic sensation. He drove me home...loud muffler and all...at midnight. The whole neighborhood knew I made curfew.....there was no damn doubt!!!!
The picture above is the color of my first car. Same color landau roof, but mine was in mint condition...just like the picture of the Monte Carlo in the left sidebar. It was an automatic, but that was cool because I didn't learn how to drive a stick until 1989 when I was in the Air Force in the Philippines.
OMG...I can't stress how much power this car had. It was solid. It was metal. Remember metal? They used to make cars out of it? lol. I'm sure I could've sideswiped a brick building back then and not have suffered any dents to the body. It ran tight. Smooth. Quiet. You just brushed by the gas pedal...and you were off. I used to take the car to visit my girlfriend in college in Virginia and loved having it on the open highway...blow that carbon out baby!!!! It was cool and I was totally rocking it out...stylin' behind the wheel.
The other day I was driving home from work and what to my wondering eyes should appear....???? An unbelievably and totally restored 1976 Monte Carlo. In the same color as mine...landau roof and all. I made a U-E and pulled into the parking lot to take a look at it. I figured the guy who owned the store, owned the car and I had half a mind to go in and ask him to show me the inside of his car, but thought that might not sound right. lol. I know myself and I knew I was so excited over seeing this car and over wanting to see the inside and under the hood that I would come off like some screaming teenage girl waiting for the Beatles to step foot (feet?) on US soil.....all giddy, excited, screaming and I might even start crying with joy! I opted instead to be satisfied with the amazing visual experience and to leave it at that.
It wasn't all sunshine and puppy dogs and kitty cats and candy canes and lemon drops with that car...there were a few troubling episodes that I suffered as a result of my lover car.
One day, while driving down the road, and for no reason whatsoever, my hood flew up. I know it sounds incredibly awesome....but....it wasn't. Trust me. Scared the bejesus out of me. It was like someone had blindfolded me. I pulled over slightly...as I couldn't tell if there was a ditch there or not and came to a stop. I went to have the latch looked at, but it was fine. To this day, that incident remains shrouded in mystery.
One night, on my way home from work, and while travelling at about 30 mph, I made a slight turn to the right to go down a side street and as I banked to the left, my back right wheel flew off. The car swerved hard....and I came to an immediate stop...as I heard what sounded like metal scraping on the pavement. I got out and a family, walking along the sidewalk, who all looked as if they'd seen a ghost, silently pointed to my wheel.....which was in the middle of the road quite a number of feet back. I had to get it out of there so no one would hit it rounding the curve with no time to see it.
When I came upon the wheel, I noticed that it wasn't just the wheel which had flown off, but the wheel was still on the rim. But it looked weird and I was in such shock and trying to get it out of there quickly that I reached down and grabbed the sheared edges of the rim......and I burned my hand and arm. It was hot metal...and upon closer examination, I saw it was still smoking a bit. I ran over to the car and saw that the axle was on the ground. The whole wheel, rim and all, had bore itself, somehow, through the lug nuts.
The father of the family walking along the road (the family almost hurt by my hurled tire)helped me to get the tire in my trunk. I drove about 100 feet to the entrance of my apartment complex on my axle.....sparks flying....and talk about chalk on a blackboard?....the awful sound it made was off the charts and I could see people running to their windows to see what was going on.
Anyway, I loved that car. It taught me a lesson or two about life... which I now and then try to remember. I loved that car, there was no doubt about that. But, it didn't always behave the way I wanted it to. It wasn't always the most reliable thing on four wheels when it pulled stunts like hoods flying up and wheels shooting off...it made me want to drive it off a cliff. We worked it out though. We made it through. My love never changed, but it moved from total infatuation (in the beginning) through various stages until we got to the point where we settled in on what would be the norm........a fine running, sturdy vehicle and the woman who loved to drive it.
I miss that era when men were men, women were women and cars were cars. Whatever the hell that means.....but I think you get the idea! It was a hot time to be a teenager with a driver's license!!
to be continued.....