Dennis R 1969 Dodge Polara 4dr Sedan

Rubber ball joints

When I was in high school in the 1970's a friend of mine had a 1969 Dodge Polara. The story went that this was an ex-police car with a high performance engine, etc. We lived in a small town and it was about 22 miles to the the next 'big city'. On Friday nights my friends and I would pile in the old Polara for a high speed run into the 'big town' for a night of cruising. My friend usually would push the big, wallowing Polara up to around 80 miles per hour and spend the next half-hour or so trying to keep the old whale running in a relatively straight line at speed.

One day my friend decided that the old Polara needed to have some new brakes installed so he removed both front tires. What he found left us all looking at each other with big, round eyes... The ball joints on both front tires had worn completely out long ago. Someone (probably the small town used car lot where he got the car) had taken strips of inner tube and wrapped them around the ball joints to keep the front end together. The rubber was rotten and splitting, but still held. When we cut one of the gigantic balls of rubber away from a ball joint, the entire wheel fell off! It was easy to see that everyone of us, as we stood there looking at the wheel lying in the dust, had only one thought in mind: We were all remembering those 80 MPH runs into town and back...

Crazy days!

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