Big Red

A cop lit up a speeding car. The guy hit the gas to out run the cop. Sirens blaring, the cop quickly caught up with the guy. The trooper said, “Sir, why were you trying to out-run me?” The guy said, “Officer, please understand, I meant you no disrespect, but my wife ran off with a Highway Patrolman last month and I thought you were bringing her back.”


I used to own a car that got me in a lot of trouble. It was called “Big Red”. It was a 1966 Chevrolet Bel Air Station Wagon. It was bright red, inside and out. It was completely renovated with a plush interior and an awesome sound system.


It also had a 327 high-performance racing engine that was so fine, I had to use a certain kind of toilet paper in place of an oil filter. I know! It was awesome! It also had an automatic racing transmission. Yes! Very rare for the late ’70’s. It also had a 3,000 rpm stall torque converter, so when you floored it, it would sound like it stalled and then take off like a rocket!


I did none of the work. In fact, I didn’t even pay for the work. I used to manage an automatic transmission shop in my early twenties. Sometimes, the customers didn’t have the money to pay their bill, so the owner would accept what they could offer as payment.


Enter the beat up Chevrolet Bel Air. Tony, the owner, always had to have a special project on the side. He was also a brilliant and talented mechanic. Next door, was an auto upholstery shop. Tony bartered with that guy for the upholstery. In fact, outside of the mechanical work, he bartered for the body work and sound system.


Tony drove Big Red with pride for about a year, turning down all offers from potential buyers. It seemed like everyone wanted to buy her. One day, Tony came into the office and asked me if I wanted to buy Big Red. I just stared at him for two reasons. 1) I didn’t have enough money and 2) I didn’t have enough money.


I finally said “I can’t afford Big Red”. He said, “Just give me $1,000 and she’s yours. I know for a fact that he had been offered up to ten times that, so I raced to the bank and bought Big Red. My life was never the same. Neither was my auto insurance. I got so many speeding tickets in that wonderful car, I probably ended up paying full price after all.


The most fun I had in Big Red was when I was in the fast lane, already over the speed limit, when some hot head would start tailgating and flashing his lights at me. I wouldn’t move and the guy would start to pull around me, letting me know that I was number one in his world.


I would floor it, feel the stall, and then, bam! Mach 2! The look on the hot head’s face was precious. It was worth all of the speeding tickets. Some things in life are so special, and aside from family and friends, Big Red was one such item for me.

See you tomorrow.

Connect with me on:
Facebook: Jerry Mabbott
Twitter: @jmabbott


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