Thursday, September 20, 2007

Boys and Their Toys

Marty's first car was a 1974 Firebird. It was red with bits of yellow where a previous owner had an encounter with a light pole. I can't find a picture of this car yet, but when I do I'll post it and our "Bonnie and Clyde" story along with it.

When I met Marty he worked at an outdoor outfitter store and was going to school to get his degree in automotive and diesel technology. I guess spending all the time I did with him and his other automotive friends got me somewhat interested in sports cars as well. Of course I'd long had a love of Corvettes, but they introduced me to some other sports cars I'd never even noticed before.

Marty tried to teach me to drive his Firebird but it was a 3-speed and I'd never been taught to drive a stick. It appeared pretty hopeless. I could not get it and each lesson would usually end in tears of frustration. He eventually gave up and put an automatic transmission in it so I could drive it. I will go into more detail about how that came about when I post about Bonnie and Clyde.

My room mate Dar always wanted a 1968 Camaro and she wanted it painted Parrot Green. She and Marty enjoyed debating that one. He doesn't care for green and enjoyed teasing her that she would ruin that car painting it such a putrid color. Marty's car of choice is also a 1968 Camaro, in Pearl White, with Rally Stripes. It all sounded good until he said rally stripes. I'm not crazy about rally stripes.

One night while we were sitting in the drive through of a fast food restaurant near our apartment complex, waiting on our food, a drunk man from a nearby bar approached the car. Though Marty's car didn't look great it did sound great. Marty was all about high performance engines and fast cars that rumbled. This man was in need of money and it seemed he had a car for sale he thought might interest us....a 1967 Firebird ready to race with a plexi-glass window, push button start, etc. He said he'd bondo'd the louvres in the rear quarterpanel and made every attempt to make it look like a Camaro instead of a Firebird. The only give-away that it was in fact a Firebird, were the tail lights. We decided to take a look at it. After seeing it and starting it, of course we had to have it. The price was one we could afford and I made arrangements to purchase the car. It had wide rear tires, which incidentally didn't last very long for some reason...

Although the car was ready for racing it was still street legal...barely. Because it was a push-button start there was no key. We were concerned it would be very easy to steal so we kept it locked despite no key and we kept a straigtened coat hanger just under the hood so we could unlock the door.

The car had some quirks along the way. I was constanly blowing transmission lines it seemed, the last time when it was 115 degrees and I was 8 months pregnant and still 2 miles from the shop where I was to pick Marty up from work! And the car constantly overheated if I had to sit at a red light too long. It was also very hot and no a/c. The car didn't idle well either. At stop lights I'd have to sit with one foot on the brake and one foot on the gas to keep it running. Nearby drivers would assume because the car would be almost lurching from the high idle, that it was because I was trying to get them to race. Many times I would race them, but just "off the line". Stories of my racing always got back to Marty and he'd chuckle...until it was time to buy new tires. I was totally blown away one afternoon by a Vette. Wow was that a fast car (the Vette!)

We took the car to Wyoming when Heather was a baby to visit Marty's family. The trunk was way to small to hold all our luggage and I couldn't downsize what we needed to take enough to get it to fit. The spare tire took up most of the trunk! So, we had no choice but to put a luggage rack on the car. Marty was horrified! He waited until the last possible moment to put it on the car so none of our friends would see it then when we were almost to his hometown he took back roads into town and as soon as he arrived at his mom's he took the luggage rack off. I wish I'd taken a picture of it!!! ('cause I'm just that mean!)

When we moved to Wyoming I had to learn to drive in the the Firebird! I'd grown up in Missouri where we had lots of snow but I'd never driven in it. I was scared to death and we lived way out in the boondocks, 30 miles from where I worked in Worland, WY. Marty did teach me well how to handle driving in the snow and I always managed to keep the car on the road. As part of my job responsibilities at the shopper paper where I worked, I had to drive the paper to another town (Thermopolis aka Hot Springs) to the post office. Thermopolis has some hills that are very scary in the snow and ice. The car did great on the way to the post office with the weight of all those bags of papers in the trunk and back seat. However once empty, the car would fishtail just trying to get out of the post office parking lot. I was always a bundle of nerves getting back home again!

We eventually had to sell the car when it became a money pit and needed more work than we could afford to keep it running. Marty was so heart broken when we left it in Wyoming to be sold and moved to Missouri. We always thought we'd find another one, but who knew those muscle cars would get soooo expensive!!!!

Marty got to know my Uncle Jerry pretty well when we moved back to my hometown. Jerry ran a salvage yard and his hobby is racing cars, specifically an IMCA Modified race car. West Plains has a circle track and that's where Marty spent most weekends. He became Jerry's pit crew. Before Heather got so involved with dance, we'd usually go with him and watch the races from the pit. These were taken the year I helped paint Jerry's car:

My friend Suzanne posted recently about her husband Bill's winning night at the race track in West Plains here.

Here's my sports car of choice. No, I didn't take this photo. I scanned it from my Corvette book.

I don't care for it in orange. This suits it much better, don't you think?


busysingersmom said...

Before Briana was born, Bill used to buy wrecked cars and fix them up and resell them, and I ususally had to drive whatever was waiting to be resold. I drove a Ford Bronco II one time with a sunroof. Only the sunroof leaked and he would never get around to fixing it. So every time it rained, well.... it literally poured. I remember one time I was giving a girl from work a ride, and of course it was raining, so while I drove, she had to sit and hold a bucket to catch the rain as it poured in. Of course when he finally had a buyer, he jumped right in there and fixed it in about 30 minutes. Sigh. Those were the days. ha.

lacey said...

yep nothing like a vet!!!! but i like the black or blue ones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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