A Ride To Remember………..#58 (the 50’s)

 

1957 Chevy

    Sitting in Fletcher’s Signal Station,  Gary was ready to call it a night, having  finished his sweeping of the service bay waiting for  Ted to balance the cash draw and place the monetary resources in the stations secret place for owner Ed when opening in the morning.    Departing at 5:oo p.m. for the day Ed would do the daily paper work and remove most of the days receipts  leaving Ted with only operating capital.   Gary concluded that the system was simplistic and worked very well,  then noticing a  red and white 1957 Chevrolet pulling up to the pumps,  ‘oh well’  thought Gary,  ‘one last customer’, having neglected to turn of the station lights  then realizing that this was no ordinary car.
      Both walking out to the pumps where this new arrival set idling,  Gary and Ted immediately recognizing the driver, it was Gary McArthur whom Ted and the Teen knew but hadn’t seen since  McArthur’s Castlemont graduation  in January.   McArthur having been a member of the Bishops, an outstanding high school service club composed of car enthusiast,  but the later membership having difficulties, the  school putting the club on probation,  the reason was never disclosed  but it was rumored that it had something to do with missing hub caps.

Alan Roemer, Gary McArthur & Bishops Club President Jim Pratt

Alan Roemer, Gary McArthur & Bishops Club President Jim Pratt

     Gary looking closer at this 1957 shining example of craftsmanship, its polished body gleaming in the soft glow of the stations lights,  standing  poised like a thoroughbred.  It was identical to the 57 Chevrolet posted on all the billboards across the nation and television as entering and winning the competitive Pikes Peak Race the annual 12 mile, 156 turns,  prestige’s race up the Colorado Peak.   Gary couldn’t believe what he heard next from McArthur, ” This is the car that was in the race”.    He went on to explain that the company he worked for,  Bruce’s Tire Company,  had purchased the car from Chevrolet for display  an  advertisement purposes,  also saying with a tone of indulgence,  he would enter it in competition at Vacaville.   Gary was aware of the drag strip at Vacaville and the planned new raceway soon to be constructed.  

57 Chevy fuel injected 283 V8

57 Chevy fuel injected 283 V8

     The was  hood raised,  it was the first time the Teen viewed a Chevy 283 fuel injected engine,  understanding  it was the first year for Chevrolet  used  fuel injections on their V8’s.  McArthur explaining,  in reality, it wasn’t strictly a stock model,  that Chevrolet having changed the rear end gear ratio, but manufacturing enough models with that gear ratio  to justify a stock designation.   Gary walked around looking inside expecting a plush interior,   stepping back,  discovering the  interior was stripped of all normal seats  and fitted with a framework of welded steel  forming a roll cage that encompassed the interior.   A single seat occupying the space behind the steering wheel and a stock dashboard, but with specially mounted cluster of  gauges.   The young teen was taken aback,  this definitely wasn’t  a car for cruising.
          “Get in”   were the words spoken by Gary McArthur to Gary and without hesitation the teenager open the door and then stopped.  No where to sit,  no seats and nothing to grasp or hold onto in front.   McArthur motioned towards the back,  saying to “hunch down and hold on to the roll-bar”,  the youth grasping the metal bar traversing across  behind the driver’s seat.   Gary squatting on the back portion of the floorboard,  raising up enough to see over the dash and have a good view of the road.   The car progressing onto Mountain Blvd.,  the youth  reflecting on his surroundings, the adrenalin flowing as absorbed the aura from the inside this icon of a car.   For an instant he wished that this moment could be capture for visual prosperity,  to be persevered for the agnostic to see.   The car idled down Mountain Blvd. to Homes Ave,  making a  U-turn and came to a stop, the distance between Holmes Ave. and Shone Ave. on Mountain Blvd., the teenagers measured quarter-mile.     Gary was savoring the moment,  the tires screamed and the Chevy exploded forward,  he grasped the roll bar as the G-force ever-increasing,  grasping him in its clutches, pulling him backwards.  He glanced at the speedometer as they neared the intersection of Shone,  it was registering 90 mph.    McArthur shifted into second gear,  the tires squealed again,  the car continuing to rocket down the highway.   He watched   the needle max-out the inscribed 120 mph speedometer.  With compression backing the car down,  Gary felt like a hundred pounds had been release from pulling him  backwards, the journey lasting less than a mile.  The car making a U heading back to the station, Gary concluding,  the ride may have ended,  but the memory would remain.

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