Running from the Boss
Houston, summer of '74, and I was out cruising in my Silver '69 Road Runner coupe. Earlier in the year, I'd purchased a 440 Six Pack engine out of a wrecked '70 Charger R/T, complete with headers and a Mallory dual-point. I'd left the 383 emblems on my car and the exterior was stock-appearing, right down to the painted wheels and dog-dish hubcaps. I was looking for a local rich kid whose father had bought him a '69 Boss 429 Mustang, which he was convinced was the baddest car on the east side.
As I cruised Woodforest Boulevard, I saw headlights approaching rapidly from behind and sure enough, it was the Mustang! We stopped at a light and agreed to meet on the feeder road of Interstate 10 for the run. We lined up there, and I told him we would leave when he honked his horn. At the sound of the horn, I nailed it and the Mustang pulled about a fender length on me, but I gained it all back on the shift to Second. By the time I hit Third, I had him by two car lengths and was pulling away as we crossed the painted line that marked the finish.
We were approaching the onramp to the freeway and I hit it without lifting, heading for home, and to my surprise the Mustang was following me as if he wanted a rematch! We moved into the left lane, never slowing down, passing traffic in the right lane at more than 100 mph, when I noticed that one of the cars in the line was black and white with lights on top! Sure enough, it was a state trooper and the lights came on as he swung out in pursuit. To this day, I don't know what I was thinking, but I decided to run, and I figured since the guy in the Mustang was behind me, I had a chance. As I stayed on it, I pulled away from the Mustang guy who had the trooper parked on his bumper. I went over an overpass with about a 200-yard lead on them, and as I came down the far side, there were two yellow freight semis in the right lane. I locked up the brakes and pulled between them to the tune of air horns and flashing high beams. Almost instantly, the Mustang blasted past with the trooper close behind. Either the cop didn't see me or he just didn't care. They were soon out of sight, and I took the next exit and drove home.
I remember being so scared, I couldn't get the key in the door when I got home. I lay wide awake in bed all night, waiting for the police to come banging on the door, and wondering how I was going to explain this to my dad when he had to bail me out. Luckily, nothing ever came of it. But I heard that the driver of the Mustang spent the night in jail and a few months later was driving a Cutlass Supreme! That was the first and last time I tried to run from the police.
I had a little '70 318 with 340 heads, a little porting, a Thermoquad, headers, a 3:55 SureGrip, a small cam, and a three-speed in a '74 Duster. I used to visit a rival high school to see if I could meet one or some of their ladies, so to speak. A guy in a '66 'Stang with a 351 four-speed kept harassing me. Everyone told me he was fast. Day after day, I kept hearing, "Here comes the Plum," and I was asked to race, but I always declined, since I recently had some points deducted off my license and wanted to stay clean. After about four months of abuse, though, I'd had enough. We made a date and we met on a straight, wide road. He asked me if it was for money or what? I told him it was simply for "respect." I told him we would run once, and if I won, from that time on when we meet while cruising, he was to "tip his hat." The distance was six light poles, no more, no less. We staged and the old Duster snapped outta the hole about half a car length. The unrespected 318 screamed until there wasn't anything left, and left the 'Stang "squealing from the feeling." I had him by two full-car lengths by the last pole. He never forgot to "tip his hat" after that, and I never heard the "Plum" comment again. My poor little 318 finally got a "little" respect, although he was telling everyone a 340 smoked him.