I Will Take the Big Car

Every day I drive my SUV from home to work, then home again. I am a modern day warrior: I live in suburbia and drive the big SUV that nobody ever rides in. I can transport eight if we really need to go somewhere. The wife and I never take my Expedition on family outings as her Murano is more comfortable and slightly more economical. Occasionally I find a passenger or two for the Expedition, but the vast majority of my trips are Single Occupant, therefore I am forever denied the carpool lane. I have HOV envy…

I have another car, a muscle car that I built into a hot rod. While my daily driver is Not Very Practical, my hot rod is Completely Impractical. I am fine with getting 11 or 12 miles to the gallon because I grew up getting six or eight.

The big car (also known as “Just Bad” – see previous blog titled same) has the built 455 Olds V-8 engine with all the after-market parts. The camshaft gives the car the unmistakable idle that says POWER. It is the baddest car at the drive-in on any given night. The low gears in the rear end make the car so quick as to be scary. The headers and free flowing exhaust report loudly to the surrounding community that something large is about to enter the area. The eight gallon plastic fuel cell mounted in the trunk makes it more race car than street car and insures that the car never strays too far from home.

The stark disagreement of a street car built to be a race car or was it a race car parading around in street trim? How much longer will cars like this exist in our society? I would say that they are virtually extinct today.

The Olds with the full roll cage and three inch front rims was made to crawl around the street and go down the drag strip in measured bursts of straight line acceleration. The street rubber is hopelessly overmatched by the torque of the big engine and the slightest depression of the long skinny pedal leads to a serious smoke show.

At idle the car is so obnoxious that it draws stares from the public. The only time to really take the big car out for a drive is on cruise night when all the other muscle cars are out and about, tearing up the town. The rumble of the Olds is louder and deeper than all the rest, but the car crawling by seems so unremarkable that the law will spend time chasing those younger kids that can’t help but do burnouts to impress the masses.

I prefer to find a parking spot with a good vantage point and spend the night as a spectator; let the youngsters have all the fun. I will take the time to idle down the road at 50 miles per hour for a couple hours to get to the cruise night just to park and watch. I am all about Sunday. Sunday is when those that really care to find out just what the big car is all about can show up at the drag strip to watch the big heavy street car make a couple passes.

Once, my grandmother needed a ride to go pay her water bill and of course I loaded Gramma up in the big car and took her downtown to pay the bill. I left the car idling out front while we went in to pay the bill. A lady at a desk behind the counter thought we were having an earthquake as the things on her desk vibrated around the top of her desk. She was so convinced it was an earthquake that she started shrieking. I told her to relax and I would go out and turn the car off. I probably had the coolest Gramma around and she loved riding in the big car. That thrill she got from riding in the car was one of the few moments of enjoyment she had late in life, so of course I always took her for a ride in the big car whenever I could.

I could take one of the other cars and travel a little bit cheaper and avoid the possibility of a run-in with law enforcement but for now I think I will take the big car.


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