Upon graduation from college, I was quite sure I would have a job. So was the entire world as evident by all the car dealers willing to lend me thousands of dollars for a new car before I even secured a job. Such was the job market for college grads back in the 80’s. I wanted a sports car. After driving Mustangs, Firebirds and Cameros, I ended up with a 1988 Dodge Daytona Turbo with stick and t-tops. Shiny black. This was a very fast car.
So here I am only 3 days into my new purchase and I am flying down the Tri-State Tollway heading back from a job interview. I am enjoying my vehicle’s high speed capabilities by driving VERY fast, as fast as the traffic will allow. Somewhere around the Lincoln Oasis I hit a pothole while doing about 75 mph. WHAM! After I correct my steering for the sudden change of direction that the pothole made me go, I see smoke pouring out from the rear of my car and it seems to be riding low. WTF! 3 days in and I killed my car already? I was only minutes away from the dealer so I kept going and told them I had no idea what happened, I was just driving when smoke started appearing, and I have this bumper to bumper warranty I paid for that covers it, right? Well cover it they did. It seems the pothole blew out the rear gas-filled strut so they gave me new one. Whew!
Did I mention that my car was fast? I was enjoying that speed with my lead foot quite often. One that stuck out pissed me off, however. Here I am driving down Sauk Trail doing a hefty 65+mph in a 45mph zone. All of a sudden I get passed like I was standing still by not one, but TWO Escort GTs. Apparently Ford thought it would be cool to stick a few colored badges and a slightly better engine in the Escort and sell it at a premium. Well I can’t just let that happen so I downshift and take off to catch them. As we were approaching the hill going over I-55 we were doing close to 90 mph and I was right on their tail. As we crested the hill I could see an old farmhouse up on the left a ways and something about it spooked me so I took my foot off the gas and let the car slow down. The two other cars kept going. As we all approached the farmhouse my spidey-sense was correct as there was a cop hiding around the corner. By this time I was down to maybe 65 or so while the others were still flying down the road. Officer Friendly pulls out, lights blazing and starts our way. So I pull over and the others keep going. You already know where this goes, I get the ticket and the other 2 assholes get away scott-free. My first speeding ticket. Thankfully the court was so packed that day the judge gave everyone a $25 fine (instead of $75) and court supervision if they plead guilty so he can get thru all the cases. Hell yeah I took that.
The only other speed related story of note was one time at a stop light a guy pulls up next to me in an old Chevelle, looking in not the best condition, revving his engine as we await the stoplight. I just ignored him but when the light turned red I popped the clutch and floored it. He wasn’t ready for that and I screamed down the road leaving him in the dust. A mile later we hit another light. Now he is ready to go. His car is shaking as he pumps the pedal, waiting for green daring me to race him. I look over this time and start revving mine as well. The light turns green, he stomps on the gas and smoke comes from his tires as he leaves rubber all over the road. I just accelerate at a normal speed, as I saw the cop up ahead just waiting for us. However before he could even make it to the cop smoke start pouring out of the back of HIS car, and more smoke than a gas-filled strut. He blew a gasket or something as oil was now burning and smoking. The car practically coasted past the cop now as he moved over to the shoulder of the road. The cop was probably laughing as he pulled in behind him and I can still see that guys face as I drove by them both at the 40 mph speed limit.
That car served me well throughout the years I had it. I put 99,000 miles on that car, many of them fast and as many as possible with the t-tops off. It looked cool, was deceptively fast and mine. I’ve held my own against V-8’s and enjoyed those t-tops more than I probably should have. Mrs. Pissedoffprinter enjoyed it as well as she was a stick shift girl for a number of years as well. Alas at 99k, the head gasket went out, both rear struts went out naturally this time and the driver’s seat broke. Up until then it was a decent car having very few problems. Time for a new ride.