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Now I had a history of some fast cars. There was the 62 Rambler Ambassador 4 door I ordered and the factory refused to build it because they did not sell that kind of car. I demanded that they build it. A month later, I got a call that my car was in. A mechanic that brought it out said it was really, really fast. IT really was. No one could beat me.  Four months later the battery died. So I said want a new one. They said they could not get the same one because that code showed nowhere the dealers books. Then I went to Gould the manufacture of the battery with the code off the battery in hand. They said it was not a battery in their books. They even called the warehouse. They gave my dealer the biggest battery they had, It was three inches shorter, almost an inch narrower and lower. It got lost in the space made for the original battery. The biggest engine, as I recall, that they offered to the public was a 327. As we later figured out they took a chassis from the police interceptor line that just happened to have a 390 police interceptor on because it was assembled and had all the other things on that I had ordered. Put the that chassis on top line Ambassador line and dropped my top line Ambassador body on it. I lost only very few races on the street.

So in the summer of 1969 I  went out looking for a four door hard top family car. The Dodge dealer I went to did not have one, so the salesman suggested I take a walk and look around. What I saw was a lot of four speed muscle cars that they were getting over sticker for. I saw four blue Dodge R/T 's with white tops sitting in a row. Three four speeds and one automatic. I noticed as I recall that automatic had an extra line at the bottom of the build sheet. Something about some kind of "Power-Pak". The salesman asked if had seen anything. I said all I see are four speeds and I don't like sifting. He replied, we do have one automatic, would that interest you, we can make a good deal on it. So in my mind I figured they had 25% markup. So I took another $100 off that and told him what I would pay and he said no. So I started walking away. He said just a minute, let ,me talk to manager. Now I knew this was not going to happen, so I started walking out. He came back out and said the needed $50 more. Woops. Now I was trying to get out of this deal, so I said I wanted the fancy rims that some of the four speeds had. To my surprise, He immediately said deal. Now I was really afraid this was going to happen. When He checked my credit he said He needed a down payment. I was out of there. Told him I didn't have any. He asked If I had money on me, told him all I had was $20 dollar bill. He said , deal we will get you a small loan for rest. All of a sudden I did not have a family car.




When I picked the car up the mechanic said do not go over 100 for the first 100 miles. Sure. Now I had just bought "THE CAR" and my rule for new cars was to hit 100 as soon as possible. So I came out of the dealer and went up the ramp to Hwy 10. Hit the gas and she burned a little rubber. As I came off the entrance ramp, the guy a quarter mile down the road heard me and looked up in his mirror, then made a right turn on the freeway into the right hand lane and I sort of passed him. He looked really angry. But, the speedometer only said 75. As I continued to hold her down it stayed there. Telephone poles began looking like a picket fence. As I backed her down the needle finally dropped. The needle was sticking at top dead center at 75 mph. Early models had a horizontal speedometers. A quick trip back to the dealer and a minor adjustment with a wire cutter fixed that by cutting off the top of the needle. The next time I came off the ramp I understood why He had given me such a dirty look as I pasted him. The second time at about the same place I was doing 130 mph' at about 3/4 throttle.  In the next 3 weeks I tore up three limited slip differentials. I was not happy, even though they replaced them for free. A mechanic said he could fix that. I said do it. Then he told me there would be one hitch. I said what. He said I can put two extra disks in there , but then you will have a locked rear axle and it will squeak going around corners. I said SO.  The rest is history. I did a lot of crazy things with this car some of which scare me today. I intend to write these stories down when I have time.

I quickly held the track record for a DS/A. So went bracket racing. She ran the around 13.50 sec in the 1/4. But the four speeds were killing me. As I complained about that, someone said he knew of an automatic shop that built some fast automatics. The builder asked me if what I wanted was good street able automatic or a fast one. My reply was I wanted a really, really fast one so I could shift faster than the four speeds. He delivered. What I got was a manual only automatic that shifted so hard it would lift the front end.  And it a high stall 3500 torque converter. It was really fun. In traffic if shifted from low to second it felt like all for wheels came off the ground. Problem was I was grinding the thrust busing to power. After the third one he asked how I was driving the car. He said NO! There are only two ways to shift this automatic. One is you MUST have your foot flat on the floor. The other is that before  you shift you MUST take your foot completely off the gas and then shift. I never ground a thrust busing again.

Now in bracket racing at Minnesota Dragways you had to have a steady speed at the top end. One of my buddies said he knew a gut who fix my four barrel so I would not have that problem. The carb builder asked what was I interested in, a street able carb or a race carb. I said RACE! He then asked a strange question as to what I had done to the automatic. I found out later why. No more vacuum advance. All four barrels worked simultaneously. Touch the gas and you better be ready. It was drivable on the street. However I was now running out of gas at the top end. Adding a second electric fuel pump solved that. But by now the mileage had dropped from 12 to 5 mpg. Add in a Rotofaze distributor with a dual shaft so I could change the timing from 37 advance at the strip to 16 advice for the street without a timing light. Now it was time for bracket racing. There were 5 brackets. Bracket 1 had about 5 cars. Bracket 2 had 10-15. My Bracket 3 had about 40. Bracket 4 had about 15. Bracket 5 had 6. Pay outs were based on speed and number of cars in a bracket. They paid out the top four places. When they called brackets,  brackets 1,2, 4 and 5 lined up. Strangely there was only one car that came in bracket 3, certain Blue with a White top  Dodge R/T with a 440 (7.2 liters) magnum, until a new guy to the strip came and then the other 38 came. Of course I will have to admit that in a year and half I only placed out of the money twice, plus I had two red lights.


Someday I will write about how I fixed my problem at Twin City Speedway, If I have the time and the wherewithal to do so.  And how I drove with my wife in the car.






For comments or suggestions for corrections please use this Forum:

No forum available at this time. In the mean time I will supply the following email address on a temporary basis. I do not anticipate much response for several months. This is effective 12/27/18.


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First Published June18, 2003