Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Loud Noise? Well, Back in My Day

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Loud Noise? Well, Back in My Day

Article excerpt

I don't understand these young'uns and their cars.

Nowadays, their car stereos are louder than their engines. Although that's not by choice.

You see teenagers riding around in big ole trucks, but you pop the hood and way down in there, hidden under all this stuff, is an itsy bitsy motor. There are things out there with more horsepower that you start by yanking a rope.

But teenagers, mindful of the fact that you can't be truly obnoxious without making a lot of racket, outfit them with non-muffling mufflers.

And thus equipped, they stomp the accelerator to the floor. Still, their vehicle sounds no more threatening than a mildly upset honeybee.

Now back in my day, cars had engines. I was dating this girl up around Anderson, S.C., and all I could hear about was Jimbo and his Malibu Supersport. Me, I'm tooling around in a '57 Chevy with a 283 and a four-barrel.

(Note to young readers: 283 refers to the engine displacement in cubic inches. Anything below 250 earned one automatic wimp status. An engine with fewer than eight cylinders was suitable for driving only in funeral processions. Any motor with a displacement measured in liters was usually owned by some sissy who wore a tie even when he wasn't in church and who read Catcher in the Rye without someone putting a gun to his temple.)

At some point I moved up to a black '66 Chevy Impala Supersport with bucket seats, white rolled-and-pleated interior and a 396 engine. Not that it did me any good. The girl of my dreams had long since moved on to someone else. Which was just fine because not only did I get a better car, I started dreaming better.

This Impala had dual exhausts that would rattle the china in a house a half-mile away.

One night, I was riding around with Geoff Johnson and some guy was on my bumper out on Dobbins Bridge Road and he wouldn't pass or back off. …

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