Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Merry Bee: The Road Race

By Rob Watson

After an extended assembly period, the wreck of the Model A body, and the installation of the Model T bucket, Bee got her license. I loved driving that hot rod. It seemed to like running just above idle and the speed was 55 mile per hour. I cruised the back road and highways just to experience the freedom of the open road and the glories of mother nature.

Interstates, at the time, had a speed limit of 70 mph. Cruising along at 55 did not please everyone. I could not have cared less. Having cars and trucks roar past was common. When a small sports car roared past at a very high rate of speed the sound drew my attention. I watched him scream off into the distance.

As I continued along my way I came upon a small sports car driving along even slower than I was. Now that was unusual but I passed him and continued along my way. After a few minutes a small sports car roared past at a very high rate of speed. The sound drew my attention a second time. It sort of looked familiar... like the guy who had zipped past a while ago.

Still, relaxed and enjoying my drive, I continued on. I came upon a small sports car driving along even slower than I was. This time I was sure the little car was the one that had zoomed passed me twice. I passed him again and continued on my way as before except I kept an eye on him in the mirror this time.

I shall digress to a former time. Friend had a genuine Olds 442. It was fast and drew a lot of attention on the highway. From time to time someone would want to road race. As the competitor would gain speed, friend would exactly pace the guy until the other car had reached its maximum speed. He would fly along like this for a time just to be sure the other car had nothing left. Then Friend would jam down on the accelerator and zoom effortless away. Now, back to the story.

The small sports car dropped back about half a mile then began to pick up speed. I eased down on my accelerator. (Yes, I had replaced the string by this time.) The speed increased... 70... 80... 90... and the sports car pulled even with me. Together we flew along with increasing speed until my speedometer read 107 mph. My Tachometer read 4500 rpm.

The chevy guys who put the engine together said it should have a top rpm of 5500 or so. I knew my carburetors (Three duces, for those who know what they are) were not fully open. You know what I am thinking now... Hit it! And, I did.

RRROOOAAARRR!!!! went the engine. The front of Bee lifted several inches (or seemed to) and in a tiny fraction of time the sports car had disappeared to the rear somewhere. The unleashed power had thoroughly frightened me. I let off the gas and the sports car zoomed past. He was apparently satisfied, as I did not come upon him again.

No comments:

Post a Comment