The guys had been telling me about Monroe High School for quite a while. All girls. Our school, Benson Tech, was all boys. Obviously, Monroe High was a subject of great interest among many of my classmates. “The deal is,” my classmates said, “you cruise on by the front of the school, stop at the stop sign, then cut loose from there.”
It was the coolest thing you could do, so they said, to impress the chicks. The chicks really dug it when you did big, hairy burnouts in front of their school. It meant you had a fast car. It was a manly thing.
Now, my ’57 Ranchero was no slouch. I had swept a lot of floors to earn the bread to keep it on the road. Plus I was an auto shop major. That qualified me as an expert mechanic, capable of doing all the maintenance, hop up mods and all that.
She was real fine. Had a 4-speed with a 289. Oh sure she could litem up okay. Smoke the hydes for a good block—or two or even three, if anybody cared to know. 9 Grand hole shots would do it every time (we liked to use that hot rod jargon to impress the guys and the chicks – when there were any around).
Next morning found me headed off to school early. Mom must have been amazed at that. Even more so, that I had taken the time to wash the car. Aw, but I was on a mission.
Once I hit the street in front of Monroe High, I idled her down nice and slow. Exhaust rumbling nice and low, loping down the street in second gear. All the better so they would notice my big cam. Yes it was good to be behind the wheel of my trusty rod. I was enjoying the scenery – all those short skirts billowing in the morning breeze.
As I rolled up to the stop sign, I stab the throttle good and hard. Had to make sure I had the attention of everyone around. A little old lady lived in the small house on the corner across from the school. I guess she usually parked her little old Studebaker on the curb out front. I imagine it must have been kind of neat to have a front-row view of all the action every morning. I would have to impress her too.
I had a firm grip on the steering wheel as the incredible launch pushed me deep into my seat. I was already off the gas and on the brakes in the split instant I realized I had made a big mistake!
In my haste, I had forgotten about the worn threads and loose nut on my steering wheel shaft. Then there was the minor inconvenience of the brakes pulling hard to the right on emergency stops. Pretty hard for this loose nut to correct when the steering wheel is no longer hooked to the car. It had pulled right off in my hands.
It must have been quite a sight when I crashed into the back end of that little old ladies Studebaker. Front end of my trusty Ranchero rolled up like an accordion. What’s left of the little old Studebaker now sitting in her front yard.
Then me, piling out of my car and with a mighty heave, launching the detached steering wheel high into the air. I vaguely recall hearing some applause from the schoolyard.
I was late arriving to auto shop that morning. When my Ranchero arrived on a hook, I nonchalantly announced that I was bringing in a new project.
’nuff said. … way too much said.