Winding It Down

 

It’s a little hard to slow down when you never really got up to speed.

The summer, as usual, flew by. And most of the car events that I had planned to attend this year went on just as they were supposed to with one very minor exception: I wasn’t there!  No big loss, really. The event organizers didn’t get my attendance money and you didn’t get any photos to look at here, but I have a feeling we’ll all get through it.

So now that the season is winding down, thanks to the fresh hunk of iron in the garage, I’ve been able to make up, just a little, for lost time, driving it whenever I can to cruises, a couple of local shows, but mostly just back and forth to work and around town for the fun of it. In doing that, I’ve gotten more motivated to get the Chevy II back together, mainly because this thing keeps reminding me how much fun it is to drive an old car.

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And now that I’ve logged a few hundred miles behind the wheel, something else has happened. This car…  a 6-volt, manual-everything, three speed on the column, radio delete, un-washed, un-waxed 100% American steel 1950’s original…  has reconnected me to the experience of driving. There’s none of this “instantaneous fuel-injected start, mindlessly-drop-in-gear-and-sip-your-coffee” routine. Lack of an operating choke on the Holley carb means I finesse the throttle on startup and get the engine warmed up before I even leave the driveway. To get the car rolling, there’s more teamwork between accelerator and clutch. Once underway I shift, a little lazily, clicking through the gears, easing into the throttle, savoring the steady pulse of a veteran Y-block that seems to happily respond to my coaxing in spite of the miles under its belt. On the street, a cracked driver’s side window gets rolled down and my arm goes up on the sill. Out past the city limits, engaging the overdrive puts the speedo needle at 65 or 70 without a bit of strain and I really feel as though, if this car and I were younger, we would just keep rolling down a timeless highway, on through the night, greeting the sunrise, chasing a hundred destinations yet to be found. But for now, I’ll wind it down and head back home, to a quiet garage stall where I’ll feed the Oil-Dri on the floor and rest the leaks and creaks. We will go out another day, on another journey. There’s always another road.

Dig the drive.

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