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Friday, August 27, 2010

Highlights of My Favorite Cars Over Past 40 Years

After 40 Years of Driving, Highlights of My Favorite Cars

I purchased my first car at the age of 15 in 1973 shortly before my 16th birthday in anticipation of getting my Driver License... She was a really special beauty that i bought from a neighbor who was the Head Mechanic at Bob Johnson Chrysler Plymouth in Springville, NY, where i was going to High School at the time. I will never forget that car... A 1968 Plymouth Road Runner with the "Coyote Duster" 426 Hemi, Special Hemi Torqueflite Automatic Trans, 4:10/1 Suregrip differential, pillarless coupe in Mello Yello w/fender mount turn signal indicators, cold air hood intakes activated by underdash pull levers, and no AC, no PW, no PL, no Cruise, but a killer 8 track stereo with rear mounted Craig speakers/woofers and door mounted Craig midrange...

She was lean and sleek without any equipment not necessary to going fast! She weighed in at the local CAT Certified truck scales w/o driver at 2,875 Lbs. With over 450 HP on tap after Hooker Headers and Offenhauser aluminum midrise manifold w/Dual 4 Bbl Holley 750 double pumpers, along with supplemental tank mounted electric fuel pump to keep float bowls full, the Bird was a wild and sometimes scary ride! When flooring the accelerator from about 30 MPH, the Torqueflight would kick down and the Holley secondaries open up to slam all on board with wiplash inducing G forces as the RedLine tires screeched in protest... 100+ MPH took less than 3 seconds from 30 MPH, Which all made for some fun while passing school buses full of classmates on Route 240 in Western New York!

The "Bird" ran consistent 12.76 ET quarter mile brackets at Niagara Raceway while I was a Junior and Senior in HS...

How I never killed myself in that car is beyond me! Daily runs that buried the 120 MPH speedo and 8 rotation 360 spin outs on icy WNY roads were a regular part of my drives to and from school!

Then there was the time she slipped out of Park while Noelene Lape and I were in the back seat, parked on a gentle sloping hill in the pitch black night of a Springville rural road. When I dove over the seat back and pressed the brake pedal with my outstretched hands, I chipped a tooth on the Road Runner's steering wheel, and left an imprint that may be there to this day.

[Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPhone]

Ralph Paglia
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