I got an email the other day that basically was a presentation of 50 and 60 era cars with great Rock & Roll music in the background. This got me thinking of what it was like back then.
I was then and still am, close to one of my cousins, who lived only about 1/4 mile away from the farm I grew up on. As long back as I can remember we had this love for the sound of an engine and the power it generated. Even before we could have something with an engine we would take playing cards and using, clothes pins,clip the cards to the frame so they would hit the spokes and make this sound that really did sound like an engine was running. I can remember after a rain where we would take off with the bike, pushing very hard to make the rear wheel spin and then look back at the fresh turned gravel behind. The contest was to see who could make the most spin marks before gaining so much speed you couldn't spin the tire any longer.
From this we graduated to scooters. Man this was great! Two wheels, a frame with a seat, and a 5hp Briggs & Stratten engine mounted underneath. I think the top speed was somewhere around 30 mph. To do this you had to spray a little belt dressing on the belt to contain the slippage from all that raw power of the Briggs& Stratten.
Next came the real motorcycles. While these were nothing compared to the bikes of today, they still had a 4 speed transmission and a top speed of about 55 mph. (Of course this was laying down across the tank and going down a slight hill.) Man, was it easy to turn up the gravel with something with a clutch! These enabled us to expand our travels not only by distance but we could also travel at night as we had working lights.
Next came, you guessed it, cars. My first one was a 1959 Ford Fairlane and my cousin had 1956 Chevy Belair. Something else infected both of us at this time. The overwhelming urge to have the cleanest car around. I remember us both spending every spare minute cleaning and tuning. We had to be ready for the weekend. This meant that not only did the car have to look cool, it had to be running like a top. We also of course were never satisfied with the power. Carburetors came off for bigger ones, single exhaust was changed to duals, (the dual chrome pipes looked better too,)oh and can't forget to advance the timing a little to squeeze out that last little bit of horsepower. Then of course don't forget the chrome wheels and yes, WIDE OVAL TIRES. We did most of our work over at my cousins place as his garage had a cement floor where mine was dirt. It helped also that his dad was a mechanic at the garage in town so he could help us out when we couldn't figure something out, or heaven forbid, that we did something wrong. I remember one time when Mom couldn't find me and she called my cousins place, where my Aunt had to go out to the garage and found me fast asleep under my car.
I now understand the meaning of the "Good Old Days". One thing that hasn't changed though with both of us, is this urge to have a clean and well running vehicle. Neither one of us is ever satisfied with the power either. I installed a Banks kit on my Power Stroke which gave me another 75 horses and most of all, another 150 foot pounds of torque! My cousin also went one more step and just finished restoring a 1969 Chevy Camaro. Off the frame restoral with everything stock except, yes you guessed it, the engine. A 350 punched out with a cam that puts out a little over 400 horse. I got a ride in it last summer. WOW what a car! It really looks great and the best thing for him is that he did most of it himself with help from friends.
I guess maybe this is why both of us liked watching Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor. ARG! ARG! ARG! more power!
I will have to write another sequel of all the cars and bikes between then and now.
Life is good if you let it.