Joel B

"You're grounded for the summer!"

From as far back as I can remember, my Dad would take me in his daily driver, let me sit on his lap and would let me steer around the neighborhood. That's where it all started! As the years went by, he taught me how to drive and then, at around age 12, taught me how to drive his beloved 1973 Camaro Z28...which has a small block 350, a muncie 22 4-speed manual transmission, and an 11:1 rear end gear ratio, not to mention around 400 horsepower and torque for days. For a kid, that was a WHOLE LOT of car! He let me drive it in local parking lots and eventually, let me drive around the neighborhood...I was about 14 at the time (I almost looked like I could drive..haha). Well, the year was 1984 and I was 15 years old...just itching to get my permit and take on the open road. That's when I decided It would be a fantastic idea to take the Camaro out for the first time on my own. Being the smart kid that I was, I waited until the folks were out running errands. I had a friend over at the time and said, "hey, wanna go for a ride?" "Of course", my friend said, "heck yeah!" So, we fired up the Camaro... he was in awe of course, the rumble of the hefty cam and the dual Flowmaster exhaust, what kid wouldn't feel on top of the world. So, we get in and slowly take off up my street, which at the time, was on a hill. At the top of the hill was a stop sign and the only way you could go was right. And thankfully, no houses were on that street, as it was an exit street towards the main thoroughfare. We get to the top of the street and stop at the stop sign...then, I got frisky! I told my friend, "hold on!" Both of us were buckled up, then he looked over at me with a frightened look and asked "what are you about to do?" I said, "just hang on!" and laughed out loud. With the car in first, I revved up the motor to around 5K RPM, turned the wheel ever so slightly to the right and dropped the we go! The tires started spinning in place, smoke bellowing out the rear and off we went. First gear, burning the tires, now in a full fish-tale, with the rear end coming out to our left...then I straightened it out and slammed it into 2nd. Now we're in a full burn out in 2nd gear and moving straight ahead as planned. Roughly 100 feet down the road, the smoke is everywhere and the sound coming from the engine reminded me of Nascar...I was seriously proud of this epic burnout! And wouldn't you know it, here comes a car in the opposite direction. All I could think was, "great, now I have to let off this epic burnout." So, I let off and looked over at the oncoming car...guess who it was? My parents!!! "Oh crap, I'm in deep you know what", I said to my friend. He didn't say anything, because he knew we were both in serious trouble. My parents looked at me in total disgust as they passed me at an ever so slow speed. It felt like they were passing me for an hour! My Dad pointed at me and then angrily pointed towards the house and yelled "get your ass back home, now!" In a full panic and scared out of my mind, I slowly turned the car around and drove it home like it was worth a billion dollars, trying to drive like an old grandmother and be as perfect as possible. I get home, park it in the driveway and get out. My friend, being the wimp that he was, said "I've got to go", got on his bike and rode away as fast as he could. My parents weren't worried about him and let him go. My Dad starred me down and didn't say a word, because he knew my Mom was going to rip me a new one...and she did. "I can't believe what we just're grounded for the rest of the get your ass up to your room and don't come out until we figure out further punishment!" So, with my tail between my legs and feeling scared as could be (but still pretty damn proud of the epic burn out I just accomplished), I headed for my room. I waited, waited and waited some more. Finally, my Dad enters my room...looking like he was going to do a burn out of his own, on my hyde! He tells me to sit down, then sits next to me. I'm totally scared at this point, because my Dad was not someone to mess with. He looks over and says, "son, I can't believe I just saw what I're incredibly stupid and what you just did was outright dangerous, illegal and you could've seriously hurt yourself, others, or property." Feeling less than nothing at this point, he then starts to speak again, and to my surprise, says "on the other hand, that was a pretty AWESOME burnout; I didn't realize you knew how to do that!" I didn't know whether to acknowledge that, laugh, or start crying! He then said "son, don't you worry about your mother and your grounding, any son of mine that can pull that kind of stunt off in that hard-to-drive car, isn't getting grounded while I'm around!" All I could do was breakout crying in total amazement and excitement that I just made my Dad proud. I mean seriously, what more could a kid ask for then to see pride in his Father's eyes from driving a car, and doing it well. That moment made my summer, my year, my life...and from there on out, our bond to cars was stronger than ever! Low and behold, I'm the proud owner of that car now and we both get to enjoy it from time to time at local car shows and drives around the neighborhood. This story's for you Dad...I love you and all the time we've spent working on that car. It means the world to me!!! The END.

14 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Breanne Traverse City July 11, 2014 at 14:48
    Best. Story. Ever. I absolutely love your dad, Joel! This is like something out of a movie.
  • 2
    Joel Corona, CA July 11, 2014 at 16:30 was 4:11 gear ratio (11:1 was the compression)...and the year, 1994, I don't think I was 5 when this all happened! lol
  • 3
    Bobby Irvine CA July 11, 2014 at 18:11
    Did you tell your dad that you just wanted to roll it through the gears?
  • 4
    Jordona CA July 11, 2014 at 20:33
    This story just made me cry! I rennet that day like it was yesterday. I thought for sure you were going to never be able to come out of your room. Hahaha you're dad's favorite for a reason! Great story and I love how you brought me back to the moment so perfectly with the great detailed explanation.
  • 5
    Jackie CA July 11, 2014 at 22:21
    First time I heard that story little bro, and it's a good one!
  • 6
    Mom Home July 11, 2014 at 22:33
    Loved the story, Joel, brought back clear memory of that special day for you. When your dad and I saw you in that car, we were shocked, commented to each other how well you drove that car, decided to tell you we were not happy about what you did because we didn't want to encourage you to do that again, without a license. we laughed at your abilities and how much you must have loved the experience and then made a quick decision to pretend to make you believe that we were very upset. I would never ground any of my kids for the summer, but it was a good thought, never to happen. A movie about this story would be great!! I love you, enjoy your car!!! I can't drive it, it only likes males, anyway. Haha!!!!
  • 7
    Maxine Corona July 12, 2014 at 04:24
    "Well, the year was 1984 and I was 15 years old" I'm glad you decided to come clean with your real age!
  • 8
    Brina Brea, CA July 12, 2014 at 08:26
    I was totally thinking....he's not 45!! Haha. I love the bond aspect of the story, but what the heck?! He left your mom out to dry! Your ass definitely should've been grounded!
  • 9
    Colin CA July 12, 2014 at 00:02
    I remember this car well, and this story is hilarious!!!!
  • 10
    April San Diego July 12, 2014 at 00:06
    So many awesome memories built around that Camaro!!
  • 11
    Heather Temecula July 12, 2014 at 12:53
    BEST story ever!!! I could smell & hear the burnout!
  • 12
    Kenneth Petronis United States July 12, 2014 at 12:59
    Awesome story buddy. We had some fun nights racing each other around town.
  • 13
    Melanie mc Donald Mission viejo July 14, 2014 at 11:36
    Great story Joel!
  • 14
    TLB California July 16, 2014 at 16:50
    Wonderful story and a great memory! 41 year old car still looking good and going strong...hope you enjoy for many years to come.

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