I was at the Car-Craft Summer Nationals over the weekend, doing what has evolved into one of my favorite live broadcasts of the NARN broadcast year.
There were a lot of fun cars. If you grew up in North Dakota in the seventies and eighties, the Nova was the semi-official state muscle car:
It was light, overpowered, and fairly inexpensive – three things that appealed to North Dakota gearheads.
(North Dakota gearheads were famous for one modification that, near as I can tell, was pretty local (although I’m sure it was more widespread and less local than I realize); they’d wash out the windshield washer tank, run the hose back to the cup holder on the driveshaft hump between the front seats, and fill it with Southern Comfort or Brass Monkey or some other, er, “durable” spirit. Want a bump? Hit the washer – provided you had a cup in the cup holder…)
Ditto the Chevelle; one of my friends in high school had one of these. I used to dream about one of ‘em…:
But for me, the sentimental fave was this one; a black ’73 Malibu. This was my first car.
Well, no – not this exact car. Mine was a northern Minnesota farm car I bought my junior year of college for $125 and a case of beer. It was black, sort of – it had so much salt damage that the driver’s side door panel flapped in the breeze like a bird’s wing when you got over 60 miles per hour. A chunk of the floor on the driver’s side was corroded away.
But it had a 350, and it flew. It was the car that brought me to the Twin Cities – and I used to drive home to visit keeping it around 70ish in MInnesota, and around 85 in ND. I could make it from the 694 River Bridge to the Jamestown exit – 335 miles – in around four and a half hours on the road (not counting the fuel stop I had to make in Fergus Falls; it wouldn’t get to Fargo on one tank).
And when it finally conked out, I dreamed about keeping it, and learning how to fix up and hot-rod cars, and doing something like what you see above.
But I was 23 and making $6 an hour at Hubbard Broadcasting and needed money, so I sold it for $50 to a guy who wrecked it a week later and ran away when the police came.
If there’s a car heaven, my old Monte Carlo is there, and looks a lot like this.