Utica NY, 1978, 17 years old and cruising down Genesee St in my burnt orange 1970 Challenger T/A 340 six pak, (which I still have today). While coasting up and down the streets with Bob in his 1968 Barracuda, at almost every light, this 23 T Bucket keeps pulling up to my buddy, exchanging words. With their engines revved, they took off. Normally I enjoyed a good quick race amongst drivers (can’t say the same for the local law enforcement), but the only problem this time around was that Bob lost, TWICE! Knowing I had the faster car, I pull in front of Bob, right beside the Bucket. Between the Bucket’s girlfriend nagging and our engines revving, we set our race destination. While we wait for the changing of the light, people began to gather.
Engines revving, open headers, girlfriend nagging, people muttering, there is no silence in this moment. Ready to release my clutch, (4 speed pistol grip, 391 pos. with the largest 50's that I could possible fit on to the back of my car, and of course the smallest tires possible in the front) Bob sits behind me blinking his head lights on and off, me too caught up in the moment to notice. The Light changes, the Bucket quick off the line, my Challenger spinning like crazy. The Bucket gets about a car length’s lead. Soon, I'm slamming to 2nd gear, then to 3rd gear. My Challenger releases like a rocket starting to pass the T Bucket with me 1 car length ahead of the Bucket, I spot those infamous red and blue lights flying up behind us. Now I know why Bob was blinking his lights.
The Bucket slows down, pulls behind me, then slowing moves to the right side of the road too scared to wait to be pulled over. I was so far ahead by this time I figured I should just keep going. Watching the cop pull over the Bucket, I notice the passenger cop get out of the car to stay with the T Bucket, while his partner decides to chase me. 17 and very nervous, I take the first right, head up the block, another right and then an immediate left. Looking ahead, I see a Pinto at the end of the block sitting at the red light. Squeezing to the right of him, I put one wheel up on the grass and one in the road as I go between the Pinto and a No Parking sign to make another right hand turn. I turn the corner to see about 10 or so kids sitting on a low fence in front of a school and some sort of factory across the street, I shut my lights, left in to the factory I go in back and hide my car behind a dumpster and shut it down, a few seconds later I hear the cop car go racing by. I go sit with the kids, tell my story and try to figure how to get my car home.
I walk down to the main drag and eventually see a few of my friends driving by looking for me with my mom (she was a cool mom). It was the end of summer, word is cops are looking for my car, (they had a slight description), nervous as I was I decided not to press my luck and put my challenger to bed for the long Upstate NY winter. Joining the US Marine Corps in 1979 my challenger slept till 1985. I took it to Virginia for a couple of years and then back to NY for another long slumber till 2003. Now retired from the Marine Corps, I decided to put a few bucks into the Challenger, my buddy Kevin, (who restores cars) puts it in his garage and two years later out pops a brand new looking T/A, (yes, all matching numbers, and still all original). Drove it for two more years and yes once again it is sitting in storage. I've moved a few times, (living in NJ now), but I am looking forward to the 2016 summer.