The year was 1964, the Car was Dads 1956 green & white Buick Special with the "big V 8", the radio blasted the voice of Ernie Harwell's infamous "TIGER BASEBALL" over AM WKMH 1310, it was a sunny Saturday afternoon, I was 12 and the world was MY oyster, it simply didn't get any better than this!! All the windows were rolled all the way down and the 2 vent windows were pointed in, it was Hot but we had the 630 air conditioning going and it felt great. For those of you who don't know back in the 50's and early 60's only a select few cars had REAL air conditioning, 630 air was open all 4 windows and the 2 vents and go at least 30 MPH! It simply doesn't get any better than ridin shotgun with your very cool Dad. I had my T shirt sleeve partially rolled up and my arm was perched on the passenger door window sill I had my wrap around all plastic sunglasses on and I was feelin good and lookin pretty cool.er ahh HIP Man! The smell of Dads Chesterfield cigarette filled the car at every light, lord help me it smelled really good! My aunt had purchased a new home and Dad & I were delivering a special gift that my Mom baked as a house warming. It was really hard to keep my hands off those brownies, but I knew my fate should I venture a wee bit too close to them, so it had to be good enuf to get the occasional wiff of delicious chocolaty, made from scratch brownies.
Ernie's voice was callin the shots and names like #6 Al Kaline #11 Bill Freehan #25 Norm Cash #29 Mickey Lolich and of course # 17 Denny McLain were rolling out of the dashboard speaker and Ernies voice just seem to make everything that was happening at Briggs...er ahh Tiger Stadium captivating and exciting almost like being there! As Dad turned off of Woodward and onto my Aunts new street the sun streaked across the 15 inch tall steel dash that was almost all chrome, dam that car was cool!
In between the Game came my favorite advertisements VA VA VOOM VERNORS! nothing else can taste so good because nothing else is aged in wood... funny I cant remember what I ate for dinner yesterday and that commercial just popped out?? Then of course... SUNDAY, SUNDAY SUNDAY at Detroit Dragway Sibly at Dix, See the Ramchargers Dodge, Arnie the farmer Beswick & the Grocery Getter SOX & Martin BEFORE the hemi days, Connie Kalitta Shirly Muldowney and of course Miss PURE OIL FIREBIRD & later MS Hurst golden shifter.... Linda VA VA VOOM VAughn..... The AM radio had a way of putting one into a semi daydream state as pictures of the ramchargers dodge and Linda Vaughn drifted through one's head, the smell of Detroit Dragway, the fuel the burning rubber and Linda vaughn dropping the checkered flag, The "Christmas tree" , the roaring motors, the wheel stands and Linda Vaughn just standing there...... HEY!!! I was 12 and she was the BOMB...What dragster? OH ya that dragster!! yep I saw her.... er ahh it. Right about then Pops came out and it was time to make the long journey back to the east-side of Detroit from Aubuirn & woodward back to 8 mile, down 8 mile all the way to Harper and back home. The Willow Run Expressway,AKA Detroit industrial expressway AKA I 94 AKA the Edsel Ford had just reached 8 mile road and folks still used mostly surface roads because the thought was the "ditch" might be unsafe.
So we get to Woodward and Quarton AKA Big Beaver east of woodward, and up pulls a shiny new 63 chevy impala convertible black with a red interior.... the Chevy had mud flaps and ground straps and lil blue lights in the middle of each of the tail lights and dual antenna's!!!, Dad saw the shiny black convertible and grinned a little.... At the very next light he said "Hang on Son it's time we blow a lil carbon outta this Betsy" I had no idea what the heck he was talking about but I grabbed the door handle and the pull down middle seat cushion and held on. The light turned Green, the Buick leaped forward rear tire smoking up the intersection and we pulled away from the Chevy like a boat leaving a dock...slowly but deliberately. ..My uncles words came back to me.... "its even got the BIG V 8!!" In those 80 - 90 seconds I was HOOKED!!! I was gonna learn all I could about cars, I never felt quite like that before! Never did find out which motor the old Buick had, but I know it was big and fast, and all of my cousins would beg Dad to borrow it!
From then on seemed like Pops had a thing for "blowing out the carbon" on the old Buick,....which was ALWAYS preceded by " Don't tell your Mother about this!!" and which forever changed my life. What started out as a pretty cool day with Dad ended up a pushed back in my seat, roar of the engine, smelling burned rubber eye popping rush of excitement and a bonding with my father I can't begin to explain. From that day forward I could not wait to get behind the wheel.
NOW, every show I go to, I look for 1956 Buick Special because the moment I see one I begin to travel backward in time, the closer I get to one the further back I go, when I can see the dash and smell that unmistakable fragrance that every one of them mysteriously seems to have..... for an OH so brief time I am 12 years old and riding shotgun for my Dad, the tigers are playin and Ernie is calling the play by play, its sunny , we are rolling down Woodward in our 56 Buick and the world is MY Oyster once again!