Tag Archives: racing

The Phantom Camaro


Early Spring here in Georgia feels much more like mid Summer with temperatures hovering near 80 degrees and the sun shining brightly. Such lovely weather has a way of making people feel like being outdoors to have some fun. Some folks like to walk, others ride bicycles. People put the top down on their convertibles. And me, I go for a ride on my scooter.

Riding always makes me feel free and alive, but this special day for some reason I felt powerful. I’ll admit, my scooter is no Harley Davidson. Not a Honda, Kawasaki, BMW, Triumph, Indian or any other big motorcycle. It’s a scooter. But bigger than those little bitty things you see zipping in and out of traffic in the French and Italian movie scenes.

Full throttle, on a flat stretch of road, I can hit 60 miles per hour. And at that speed this day I felt good. I waved at other riders, always glad to see fellow two wheel enthusiast out enjoying a ride.

I try to keep my eyes on the road ahead, but I do take time to look in the rear view mirrors as well. And that’s where I saw it. It was bright red and it was trying to catch me. Wide and low I could hear it’s engine roaring. You know, the sound that a five million cubic inch engine will make. And it was decked out with air scoops, and air dams, and bright lights. In my rearview mirror it looked like a sinuous wisp of red smoke charging toward me.

But I soon realized that it wasn’t blasting past me at a thousand miles and hour. It wasn’t even getting any closer to me. A red sports car that you can’t drive fast because the police are always looking for any excuse to pull over a red sports car that might drive fast. I was racing a Camaro, and winning!

Shortly thereafter I noticed that the Camaro was slowly inching it’s way toward me. He must had had his pedal to the metal. HaHa! And then, as we rolled along up a slight hill, he cruised very slowly past me. Checking me out. What beast was this that could keep up with his Camaro!

And as he rolled past me and I looked over, fully expecting to see Steve McQueen driving, I took a good look. Funny looking Camaro I thought. Because it turns out it wasn’t a Camaro. Chevrolet yes, Camaro no. It was a Chevrolet Spark! This thing was shorter than my scooter! I was greatly humbled. But went on to enjoy the rest of my ride.

That’s part of my story. What’s yours?



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Fast Cars

Most men love fast cars. We don’t necessarily have to see it go fast.  It’s enough sometimes that we know it does.  And red is a favorite color.  I don’t know exactly why.  Red is flashy.  Maybe it’s because we remember what it’s like to go fast and want to do it again.  Or perhaps because we want to experience that speed for the first time.  Maybe it’s the beauty of the machinery.  Or the artistry of the design.  Do fast cars look like women?  Different shape, but mainly sleek.

Toy cars gave always been popular as gifts to children.  At least since the development of the mass-market vehicle.  Cast iron toy cars.  Plastic models to build.  Pinewood derby.  Soapbox derby.  Cars you can sit in.  Kid scale.  Today the popular thing is drivable battery powered vehicles.  My kids had one a while back.  But they are not the same as what was available in the 50’s and 60’s.  Metal pedal cars.

ImageI never had one as a kid.  I don’t know why.  Maybe I didn’t ask for one.  My parents were pretty good about providing me with everything I needed, or wanted.  Although, I never did get that Stingray bicycle all my friends had.  Maybe these were really for kids born a little earlier than I was. 

You sat in the car and pedaled with your feet.  The thing went and you could steer and it was just like driving a real car!  Fun.  Prelude to a bike maybe, or adjunct.  I didn’t have one, but I wanted my kids to.

In the late 80’s I liked to go to an antique market in Atlanta.  At the old fairgrounds.  One day I found a rusty old pedal car.  It was in pieces, and a few were missing.  It needed new rubber on the wheels and was missing a hubcap.  I think it was supposed to be a fire truck.  It had some kind of step on the back instead of a bumper.  And here was a bell on the hood.  Missing its string.  It was a mess.  But I took it home.

Over the next few years I found new wheels.  With rubber.  And a new hubcap.  Never found a ladder or the bell so I just turned it into a regular car.  I did some sanding, laid in some bondo and gave it a coat of red paint.  It was cool.  Ready.  And waiting for me to have some kids.

The kids came along but somehow they weren’t interested in the car.  And eventually they outgrew it.  Never having ridden it as I had planned.  And so it remained in the basement.  For years.

And now it sits proudly in my store, Living History Antiques.  Waiting for a new owner.  With children who will want to ride it.  Or at least a father or grandfather who has dreams of some kid riding it.

That’s part of my story.  What’s yours?  www.personalhistorywriter.com

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