Passion of a Lifetime

Posted By: 'Okie' | 1:53 pm — 1/9/2005 | Comments Off on Passion of a Lifetime See comments below:

Those that know me well, and those that just notice the magazine collection in the throne room, understand that I have a passion for the automobile — partially explains the Bonneville image at the top of my Blog. Indeed, my professional career since leaving Tulsa and moving to California has been predominantly automotive oriented, from my studies in car design at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, to working on the initial wheel concepts for Sendel, a start-up company in Oxnard and for Cragar Industries, to, in the late ’80s and early ’90s, being the Director of Design and Engineering for Senter Engineering Corp., a manufacturer of aftermarket aluminum wheels. (Whew! Hope I punctuated that correctly!)

After that, I did creative as well as a few early designs for the company that pioneered the concept of “Luxury Alloy Wheels”, MHT, which, after I made the decision to go into the sporting goods industry, subsequently grew into a huge and successful supplier of aftermarket wheels. See the latest MHT wheels here. (No, none are my designs, darnit!)

Occasionally I feel the need to discuss this car business, so I have added a new category called simply “Automotive”. I promise I won’t overuse it and bore everyone to death with constant indulgences in my obsession.

This obsession with cars started back in the late ’60s when a lonely and isolated farm boy discovered his “holy grail” — an Oklahoma driver’s license! Free at last, FREE AT LAST!!! Well, at least free to drive around in a 1958 GMC step-side pick-em-up truck with a damaged front end and a cast-iron six. But that was OK, as it ran, and I could “go places” without my parents being involved. Yee Ha!

Then one day, while at the corner-market magazine rack looking for something to read while waiting on prescriptions to be filled for delivery, (I delivered for my Dad’s pharmacy after school and on Saturdays), on a lark I picked up the August 1968 edition of Car and Driver magazine. It was the new car issue and I can’t remember the cover, but I can still visualize many of the articles and ads.

Like the ad for the new 1969 Mach One Mustang. That was sweet! Wait a minute, there’s a new Mustang out right now that looks like the direct descendant of the ’69-’70 versions. Cool!

New 2005 Ford Mustang from http://btgmotoring.com
(2005 Mustang with Borla dual exhaust courtesy of BTGMotoring.com)

There was also a road test of the Shelby 500 KR (King of the Road) Mustang, made redundant and irrelevant by the Mach One, but it sure looked good.

Ah, a Bizzarrini GT America. Chevy 327 cubic inch V8 in a very sexy Italian body. Zero to Sixty: 6.4 seconds – Qtr Mile: 14.6 seconds – Top Speed: 145 mph. To a 16 year old, the stuff of pure lust! But that wasn’t all.

A full-page full-color ad for FiberFab. (Just Googled and “They’re baaaaaaaack! More wasted time on the Internet in my future I fear.) Kit cars, the real stuff of dreams. Build your own fantasy high-performance GT in your very own garage! I know I salivated over this page, often, ordered the catalog, always thought I would build one, but . . .

Hey, I’m a true child of the ’60s and at that time was hooked on instant gratification. I enjoyed reading about other’s trials and tribulations in home-building their own cars, but I became intent on finding just the right one that I could afford, and do that quickly. What I wanted was a Pontiac GTO! What I ended up with was a ’66 Pontiac LeMans “Sprint”, the 2-door coupe with the then-exotic for a U.S. manufacturer high-output OHC six, four-on-the-floor shifter, and stock (meaning little) instrumentation. Well, it was almost a GTO. Sure was one worn out vehicle, but it looked new inside and out, and was great fun, until I plowed it into a full-grown large horse, late at night, on a summer’s eve, only 10 days after I got it. But that’s another story, with a moral all it’s own.

Last week I seriously thought about finally getting that GTO, a new ’04 one, but a serious performance vehicle now that turns and brakes as well as or better than it goes, which is “like a march hare on fire”! The dealers are discounting heavily, GM is throwing in incentive money, and we got a $5,000 certificate in the mail from GM to boot. But I didn’t get it. Things change in life, priorities, means — wants and desires assume different levels of importance.

I still love cars, but not as much as before. As this Blog shows, politics and the current state of the culture crisis in the U.S. are among my top passions now. The threat to my son’s life and future from the secular left and from Islamic Jihadism far outweighs a few tenths of 0-60 performance in my heart and mind. So I will think and write about automotive performance from time-to-time, but not as often as I would have just a few short years ago.

(Shameless plug coming up!)
My livelihood is dependent upon the auto-aftermarket, so if you feel so inclined, check out the PT-Tuning and BTG Motoring websites for great information and some fantastic people to do business with! . . . db

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