Earlier this year I went on the trip of a lifetime to New Zealand for school. Although I didn't have a car there myself, it was still something that intrigued me. In New Zealand, they drive on the Left side of the road, and the area in general is so much smaller. There's no way I could see some of the big Buicks fit down some of the streets. They also live on hilly terrain, so use of an e-brake is necessary. I heard a comment once that went along the lines of "they still drive those big cars in North America? I just don't get it" And it made me realize that I drive a big car because it is far more than just a car.
Shortly after I returned home from this trip, my Opa passed away. Along with all the multitude of responsibilities that comes with a death in the family, this means that my Dad got his 1968 Wildcat. When thinking of big cars, this one is definitely up there in size. It's parked next to our 1986 Monte Carlo in the new barn right now and it feels at least two feet longer and twice as wide. So why do we drive big cars? Well, for starters, being a Goalie in hockey means I need a trunk big enough to hold all that equipment, but it's also a comfort thing. We piled far too many people into some of our cars and could still travel comfortably for long distances because there was so much space. Lastly, it's because they're so much more than just cars.
Every time I look or sit in the Wildcat I'm flooded with memories. Going to the park with Oma and Opa, sitting in the middle of the backseat with my brother and cousin and just cruising around with the windows down, driving down the hill and letting the wind rush in. This car has been in the family almost as long as I have, and it hold so many good memories. It's the car my Opa wanted the Pallbearers (his Grandchildren) to drive in at his funeral, and even with the six of us piled in there, in the middle of summer in suit coats with no air conditioning, there was room to move about. So it's not just that we drive big cars, but we drive cars with personalities, we drive cars full of memories and cars that bring us back to a simpler time.
It's so much more than just a car, and the memories it holds will live on forever.
Friday I said I was excited to head up to Grand Bend for Windsor Weekend and claimed that it was going to be a great weekend. That would be an understatement. The weekend was a blast, an emotional roller coaster and thrilling adventure all in one. Friday ended up being a beautiful evening for test and tune (I didn't run, but the weather was good and there was lots of commotion on the track). The pit party that night was also nice, with a live band and lots of familiar faces.
A Saturday morning wake up call of the rumble of racing engines is definitely one I could get used to. The low rumble practically shaking you awake is an amazing feeling. Saturday started off great. After running my two time trial races, it was time to decide a dial in.
The math behind my decision wasn't taken lightly as I tried to decide just how fast the truck was going to go and how well it was going to run.
With my dial in decided (at 17.08), I was able to relax for a little while before my next race. With my Dad's parents and Aunt and Uncle there to watch, it was a family affair, and if I won the race, than my brother and his friends would be there to watch as well. Running 0.286 seconds off of my dial in, I lost the race by 0.019 seconds, my Oma getting a picture at what they believed was the finish line, with me in the lead, and having the other car pull past at the very last moment. Luckily, because the racing had been going well, they allowed buy backs. I was able to buy back in and race again a little later. With everyone there to watch, and ending up on the other side of the track, I was able to race again, loosing by 0.082 seconds. After that I was able to relax and enjoy the night of racing.
The next day there was another 7:30 wake up call of rumbling engines, and with another day of racing ahead, I couldn't wait for it to begin. Sunday is always a single time trial day, so as soon as they called that I was on standby, I started up the truck and went for a drive to try and get it nice and warmed up for the morning run. I obviously didn't get it quite warm enough with another slow time. Then came the debate of what I should dial in again. After much debate and deliberation, we decided on a 17.35, one of the faster times I ran on Saturday. Making sure the truck was even warmer before my first elimination run of the day, I got all set in the staging lanes. Set up next to the only sled in my division, I was ready for a good race. Knowing I got a quicker light as I was the slower vehicle, I was quick off the starting line. Although keeping the majority of my focus on the road ahead, and getting to the line first, there was a slight curiosity about where the sled to my right was. All of a sudden, the line came past, as did the sled. Seeing her slam her fist down slightly, my head was reeling as to whether it was good or bad and what that means for me. Letting her go ahead to get her time slip, she gives me a thumbs up as she walks back, having to wait for her tow vehicle to get back to her pit spot. I waved back and pulled up to get my slip. Grabbing it from the guy through my window, I continue down towards my pit spot, one eye on the path in front of me, one eye trying to find the winner on the time slip. If any of you have ever seen a time slip after an elimination run, you'll understand the feeling the little tiny WIN>> or <<WIN can give a racer, depending on which way it's facing, and which lane you raced in. When I saw the arrows pointing to the right, I had to let out a breath. I didn't make it on. Once I was actually able to stop the truck, and not worry about the people all around, I got to actually look at the time slip. It turns out, I won the race! The way bracket racing works you have to run as close to your dial in time, without going over. I ran 17.008 seconds, 0.35 seconds under my dial in. If one person breaks out, the other wins automatically. The thing is, it was a double break out! The sled went faster than her dial in as well, she just was closer to her time, causing her to win the race. Although slightly disappointed that I didn't get to continue to race, I couldn't have been happier with the way the truck ran on that last run, and overall it was a great weekend.
I had an amazing weekend, and I hope to be able to do it again sometime soon. Thank you to everyone who participated in it, making it just that much better.
Thank you to both my Dad and Uncle Jerry for the photos as I was too busy to take any myself.
Wow, July flew by, that's for sure. I'm really excited though, today we're heading up to Grand Bend Dragway for the wonderful Windsor Weekend. Last year we headed out and I got to take me first time down the track, running a lovely 17 seconds. This year I'm hoping to take the truck down again and be a little more consistent in my racing times. If the weather holds out, I'm sure it will be a great weekend, and we're bringing lots of friends along to share it with as well. Dad's done a couple little things to the truck since last time, so maybe I'll get to be even a little faster yet. Only time will tell.
Hope everyone has a great long weekend, and drive safe!
Time sure has flown by this month. Back near the beginning of the month, Dad and I headed up to Fleetwood Country Cruise-in, near London Ontario. Although we could only bring our beater car, it was still a great day and there were lots (and lots) of really cool cars. Being a celebration of 50 years of the mustang, we had never seen so many mustangs in one place before in our lives. But they were not the only cars there, that's for sure. Seeing lots of familiar faces, as well as lots of different cars, it was a great day, and seemed like everywhere you turned, there was yet another field of vehicles to see.
We just so happened to time things just right to be able to see this Amphi-car launch into a pond, it was a really cool thing to watch! Better make sure the doors are latched.
Here are only a few of the thousands of cars and vehicles that were there.
Having been around cars my whole life, I'd like to think I can say I know my way around a car show. That being said, it's a really cool experience being able to share the knowledge I have already gained with someone who hasn't had the same opportunities as me, and shows an interest in it. Your first car show is an experience, no matter who you are and where it is you go. Whether you've never really understood cars or not, it's still an experience, and if taken with the right mindset, can be a lot of fun and informative. Everybody has a passion for something, and my family often shows it through their vehicles. Paris Unfinished was a great show to be someone's first this year, with good weather and a great mix of different cars. Talking to someone who had never been to a car show before and getting to show her the ropes was a really cool experience for the entire family.
Starting off the day with as much information as the car she drove was black, I hope she is able to say she knows a little more now. Asking many questions, such as "Is that really how cars sounded back in the day?" about a Rat Rodded Model A with open headers, to wondering about carburetors and suicide doors, it was really great to share such an experience with someone so interested, and I encourage everyone to go out to car shows and enjoy the experience, whether for the first time, or the four hundred and first time they're always more than a little fun.
Yesterday, while I was away with my dad at a swapmeet, lots of excitement was happening back home. Recently we put our 1986 Buick Regal up for sale in the front yard. Even though it was still a good car and we all enjoyed it, it was giving us all to much of a headache to be worth keeping. While we were away we had a trade from the Regal to a 1969 Pontiac Acadian. Because Dave and I were both up in Ancaster, we had to give my brother a call, and despite the fact that he'd been working midnights, so it was the middle of his night, he got up to help make the swap before my mom came home from work. We were both excited as we kept receiving messages and calls from back home as the process was occurring, all while doing our best to sell parts to customers old and new. The drive home was exciting, and tiring. Trying to find the regal to give it a proper goodbye while passing on the 401 and failing and wondering just what awaited us in the driveway at home gave us the jitters in our already almost delirious state. Upon arrival, the car stood in the driveway, a lovely shade of green (I feel like all Acadians must be green for at least a small portion of their lives, or at least that's what it seems like). It runs, as long as you know how to start a carburated car, and we hope to have it on the road as a summer fun car by the upcoming weekend. It may not be the prettiest car you've ever seen, but it's something to keep me going until my Nova is finished, and hopefully will be a decent donor car as well.
(I don't know why this wasn't published earlier, but better late than never is what they always say)
Well, this past weekend was a lot of fun, finally getting to drive down the track. August 3, 2013 was Windsor Weekend at Grand Bend Dragway and, despite the rain on Friday, turned out to be an all-round amazing weekend. Almost all the cars were breaking out and running faster than expected on Saturday due to the warm air and nice tailwind down the track. Luckily, I was one of the many racers that got to traverse down the 1/4 mile of asphalt. Driving in the Ladies Trophy class in our 1967 C10 Pick-up that we drove up there as well, my first run down the track I had my dad in beside me and the attendant at the starting line thought I was crazy. With my first run being just over 20, and my fastest time breaking 17 seconds, I was ecstatic at the 4 second increase in my time, and the improvement of my reflexes at the tree. Although I didn't get anywhere, mostly because as it got cold, the truck didn't run quite as well for me, it was still an amazing time and I can't wait until my 68 Nova's on the road to take it down the strip. And hopefully my dad will let me take the truck back down the track again this year while I wait.
Every Thursday night throughout the summer Heritage Village and Car Museum in Essex has cruise night, with dinner available at the Diner. Last night, Thursday July 12, we headed out for a nice evening of food and cars. Seeing lots of familiar faces, it was good to catch up with friends and family from the local area. We drove our 1967 Pick Up, with a For Sale sign in the window, and parked beside my grandparents 1968 Buick Wildcat. The Wildcat is my grandpa's pride and joy, a survivor car that is almost all original, even the paint. He says that sometime this summer, he may even let me drive it! We had lots of fun, and a great meal prepared for us by the Diner. It was a great event to break the lull between swap meets, as the next one isn't until Bothwell on August 10 & 11. All in all it was a great night and I can't wait to do it again, maybe next week?
Last weekend we headed out to Grand Bend Motorplex for their nostalgia drag racing. I was so excited, it has been a long winter waiting to go back to the strip. Three of us hopped into our 1967 Chevy Pickup and took off for Grand Bend, making a couple of stops along the way to see some customers. Arriving at the track just before 12, the smell of racing fuel and burning rubber filled the air. Even though it started out really hot, a nice breeze picked up, giving the cars a tailwind, and allowing them to go even faster, as well as giving the spectators a chance to cool down. The racing was good with lots of fast and cool cars. I can't wait until my 1968 Chevy II Nova is finished so that I can drive down the strip, and not just have to sit in the stands. It was great to see some familiar faces and I can't wait to go back again. Hopefully this was the first of many trips to the track this summer.
Cars can contribute to a lot of fun and excitement in many ways. Whether it's a lovely Sunday drive with the family, or you're zooming 100mph down a 1/4 mile of asphalt.
Some people say you have to be able to drive cars to enjoy them. I disagree. I have enjoyed cars for as long as I can remember and still can't drive, legally on the road, yet.
One of my favorite things about cars is racing, especially drag racing. Even though I haven't been screeching down the track at 100mph, I wish I have. I can't wait until I can sit in a car (hopefully somesort of Nova) and wait for the lights on the Christmas Tree to go down to the green. Racing isn't just fun for the driver of the superfast sports car that wins against every competitor it competes against. It's just as much fun for every driver aswell as the fans and supporters in the grand stands.
Some things that got me involved in racing and why I enjoy it so much might just be that my Grandpa has been a major Nascar fan forever, or at least since I can remember and you always had to be quiet when a race was on, no matter what. Also, a couple of years ago my dad encouraged me to read the books, Hot Rod Road and Drag Strip Danger. These are both great reads and I encourage you to read them as well, if you enjoy spending time at the strip or not. The television shows Pinks and Past Time have also influenced my love of Drag Racing. When I was younger, my dad took me to many different Car Shows and Swap Meets and I didn't get much of a choice. Now, I still go to many Car Shows and Swap Meets with him, and I choose to do so instead of being dragged along, even if it means I have to work. One of the places we've been to, is Norwalk Raceway Park, for the Blue Suede Cruise. Even though it was a couple of years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday because it was so much fun.
Holley is 24 years old and has been around Cars her entire life. She is a big help to the business and does a lot of the computer work. She wishes she had more time for the fun things in life, like working on her nova, but work seems to take too much time.