In the summer of 1971 I was 10 years old, obviously too young to own, but old enough to be infatuated buy the Muscle Cars of the day, which were all around and driven every day.
My Uncles (on both sides) and all their friends owned hot Plymouths and Dodges. My Dad drove various Chryslers, including a 1960 convertible letter car. Both of my Grandfathers drove Dodges and one worked for the local Dodge Dealer as a Mechanic. I was doomed.
We lived 1/2 hour south of Milwaukee, an hour north of Chicago and 15 minutes east of Great Lakes Dragway, in Union Grove, WI.
Our house was one of only 3 homes in a new, "country" sub division, less than a 1/8th mile from the county line, on a County Hwy, at a 4 way Stop sign. This road saw little traffic so it was a popular stretch to test and tune and on numerous occasions see some friendly Drag racing.
Just the kind of thing Dreams are made for a young boy. Engines revving, tires burning and gears shifting.
One particular evening, my Brother (younger than me) and I were in bed when I heard a car pull into the driveway and the lights shining through my bedroom window. The window was open and I remember the sound of the exhaust.
I stood up on my bed to look down at the driveway, just as My Dad went out the front door to see what was going on.
Behind the bright headlights sat a bright yellow car with a Black hood. in the headlights stood my Dad's friend Bob.
I couldn't hear the conversation but my Dad was laughing and Bobs voice was filled with excitement.
After a short time talking with my Dad, Bob left, He backed the car out of the driveway and I'll never forget the sound as he let the car loose, engine roaring, tires burning from our driveway, past the neighbors and then out of sight.
The reason I remember this so vividly didn't come into play until I was much older.
Turns out, Bob had just come from Mr. Norm's Grand Spalding Dodge where he had just purchased the car he was driving, a Brand New 1971 Dodge Super Bee with a 440 6 pack.
This car would influence me for the rest of my life.
Not because it was only one of just over 70 built but because of the way it made my Dad laugh that night.
I was privileged to ride in the car on several occasions and on one we pulled a boat to lake Michigan to go fishing.
Fast forward 30 years to the summer of 2001.
My friend Russ and I were attending an All Mopar show, I in my `73 Road Runner and Russ in his `67 Hemi Belvedere.
After walking around the show for a while, we came upon a group of `Cudas and Challengers, when out of the Blue, Russ tells me, another friend of his, is thinking of selling his 1970 `Cuda V code car (440 6 barrel for Plymouth, 6 pack for Dodge).
I had seen the car once and knew it was the real deal. We discussed it briefly and without saying anything else my mind went to work on owning this car.
Now, I already knew I could never own the Super Bee from my child hood, as it was a Wisconsin car and had met it's demise many years earlier, so this 440 6 barrel `Cuda was my first, best shot at owning something rare and influential.
As soon a Monday morning came I started making calls. Without going into great detail, I was able to purchase the car before a long line of suitors new it was for sale. All the while thinking about Bob, his `71 Super Bee and the impression they left on me.
A couple years later, I was at the Mopar Nationals, in Ohio, again with my Buddy Russ and some other friends.
I was cruising the vendor area when my phone rang. It was Russ, wondering if I was close by and if I could come back to our race trailer. "sure, I'll be there shortly" hoping nothing was wrong.
When arrived, Russ was talking to a guy and laughing. You know this guy he said? I figured I should but didn't recognize him. Russ says "you know him"!
Immediately a shiver went down my back as I realized it was "Bob" (`71 Super Bee) who I hadn't seen since I was a kid.
I didn't know Russ knew him let alone running into him, so far from home and at the Mopar Nationals, of all places.
We talked like long lost friends, we talked about our cars and especially the `71 Bee and my `Cuda, which he was so influential in my purchasing and the influence he had on my life.
So, thank you Bob for planting the seed and Thank you Russ for helping a little boys dream become reality.
As I'm now a Father and a Grand Father, I hope my cars influence a younger Generation to go after their dreams.
My Son already has his first collector car @ the age of 17.
Attached are photos of my `70 Cuda and me with the Man who influenced me so much (Bob on the right with the beard) at the Mopar Nationals.