Travis R 1965 Plymouth Satellite 2dr Hardtop Coupe

My Dad the closet hot rodder

To call my Dad conservative would have been a serious understatement but one thing he always had was a passion for cars, the faster the better. Even then though, he never really revealed it. He would order the biggest engine possible in a family sedan. Example: His brand new '63 Plymouth Fury, white, 4 doors and 383 Golden Commando engine with pushbutton shift. The time we spent in the garage when I was growing up are my favorite memories of Dad who died at a very early age. He passed that love for engines and speed along to me.

When I was about 14 years old we were headed home from an errand and we came to an intersection which headed straight out of town. To get home, we should have turned right but something different happened that day. We were in the right lane, signal on, when a turquoise Avanti pulled up on our left. I knew the car since I had seen it all over town and as far as I can remember it was the only Avanti in our small town. What made this one even more unique was the supercharger and the fact it was driven by an elderly lady with a gray beehive hairdo. What really put it over the top was the 4 speed and the way she pushed that car everywhere she went, hard.

As we sat there, I was admiring the Avanti from the passenger seat when I noticed that Dad had turned the right turn signal off. The lady never glanced our way and Dad never looked hers but I knew what was coming. As soon as the light changed both cars exploded off the line, tires smoking, engines winding. That little old lady was grabbing gears and Dad was punching buttons. I'd like to tell you that the Plymouth trounced that Studebaker but the reality was, by the top of second gear we couldn't even read her license plate. Dad shut it down at about 100 and slowed the car to make a U-turn and headed home. He still hadn't changed his expression or even looked at me. I wasn't even sure he remembered I was in the car. After a few minutes he spoke to me out of the corner of his mouth and said "I want you to promise you'll never do that".

Well, I made that promise but broke it repeatedly, sometimes in that very same car. Street racing eventually gave way to drag strips and the cars always got a little faster but of all the races I was ever involved with, the day I was riding shotgun is the one I'll always remember. Thanks Dad

1 Reader Comment

  • 1
    Ed Sallia Dundee, OR June 25, 2014 at 18:49
    Moral - never mess with a supercharged Studebaker Avanti driven by a little old lady.

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