Showdown at the OK Corral

When you were growing up, did you ever have one of those friends where everything always seems to be competition? Competition about the stupidest little things.

When I was growing up, I had a friend just like that… a close friend. I suppose that it’s common with boys. But it always was competition with Steve, (not his real name by the way).

We had moved into a new neighborhood when I was around 13 years old. Steve lived a couple of blocks away, so we eventually became good friends. We would always hang out together. Even played on the same baseball little league team.

But no matter what, it was a competition.

If we had kites, his kite had to go higher. If we fished, he always wanted to have the most fish. If I pitched, he wanted to be a pitcher. If I was playing short stop, that was the position he wanted.

The first girl that I asked out on a date, he immediately wanted to ask her out on a date as well. In fact, he did. I probably would have been angry about it but I just knew that’s how he was.

For some reason, looking back on it, I never got upset about any of the competition stuff at all. I sometimes remember some of the crazy stuff we would get into and it still brings a smile.

I have always been curious if all the competition was just natural boy stuff.

Do girls go through the same thing? Do they have those rivalries and yet can still remain friends?

Nowadays, I have heard the term “Frenemy”, but I think that applies more towards a rival that you are forced to associate with.

Steve was truly a close friend that I would have risked life or limb for… in fact, I did a couple of times. But that’s a story for another post.

So jump ahead a couple of years, to senior year in high school. Steve and I are still close friends and we both were car-head types with pretty good mechanical talent. At least we had the curiosity and the will to just jump right in to any project.

Steve had just purchased a 1970 Chevelle SS. A gorgeous car, black with silver stripes, 396/402 engine, open chamber heads, cowl induction hood, all the engine goodies.

A true muscle car in every sense of the word. He had bought the car with most of the work completed already, but he also added some improvements.

Of course, he bought his car right after I had just finished my car…

I had spent all my extra time and money for almost a year on a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T. White with black strobe stripes on the side.

Even when it was parked, the car looked like it needed to have a speeding ticket.

Engine was a 440 Magnum that I had bored out to 506 Cubic Inches of insanity. 850 Double Pumper Holley, Ported and Polished, High Lift cam, and all the rest of the goodies.

The second time that I ever drove the Charger, just casually down a city street, I got stopped by a cop.

All he did was walk up to me, I rolled down the window, and he said.. “You do not need to be driving that car”, turned around and got back in his car and left.

Of course, talk started at my high school of the “Car Race”. Steve’s Chevelle against my Charger R/T.

It was a pretty small high school at the time so those sort of things seem to really take on a life of their own.

The race was scheduled. It was to be at 8:00 on a Friday Morning on this perfectly straight road about 2 miles from the high school.

Everyone knew exactly where it was. That morning, I drive out to where the race is going to happen, half expecting to find just Steve with his car and maybe a couple of our friends.

I get there and I shit you not, there are cars lined up the entire length of the road, both sides. I would guess at least 100 cars.

And there’s Steve at the start line, just grinning his crazy grin, jumping up and down and waving his hands. What a doof!

So we line up the cars and wait for the start. The signal horn beeps and we take off in a cloud of burning squealing tires. We’re driving side by side, down the road, laughing like crazy while driving several magnitudes above the speed limit.

My car pulls ahead by a couple of car lengths and that’s how it ends. With the Charger winning. Steve couldn’t wait to tell me how it was because of this or that and “wait until next time..”. We were both laughing like crazy lunatics the whole time. What a couple of goofballs.

Crazy behavior with the foolishness of youth.

We never did race again. Steve sold his car about 6 months later. My car got impounded after being stopped by a Highway patrol and I had to sell the car to pay off all the fines.

About 5 years later, after high school graduation and into my last year of college, I came back to my home town and happened to run into another friend.

The conversation was the usual stuff, nothing seemed to change…how is so and so doing…do you remember when…blah, blah.

So I ask about Steve. The friend looks at me for about a minute, not saying a word. Finally he tells me that Steve died about a year before. It happened at some construction site where some equipment had shifted and rolled on top of him.

I couldn’t even say a word. I just got in my car and left back for college. That small town just never seemed the same after that.

So here’s to crazy Steve and his fine ride, that Chevelle SS.

He would have been 52 today, Feb 15th.

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Posted by on February 15, 2011. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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13 Responses to Showdown at the OK Corral

  1. Michael John Scott Reply

    February 15, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Memories. I read this a couple of times and I recalled my 1969 Mach 1 Mustang. I remembered my friends who rode in that car and urged me to go faster. I remembered the trips through Steak n’ Shake, and the trips to the drive-in movie where the movie was incidental. Memories.

    • Krell Reply

      February 15, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      Exactly Mike. When you’re living them, you think they will go on forever. Cruising through Sonic Drive-in, just hanging around, going to the drive-in movies like you said.

      A million stories just like mine in America at that time. Cars were such a part of that generation. I wonder if it’s the same today.

      • Michael John Scott Reply

        February 15, 2011 at 7:50 pm

        I suspect it probably is. I am reminded of a story I read about an Egyptian priest, who, a couple of centuries ago, was eating dinner with his family and scolding his children:

        “Children are not the same as they were when your mother and I were growing up. You disrespect your teachers and your parents, stay out all night and do things that we would never do.”

        If only they had cars in those days 🙂

  2. One Fly Reply

    February 15, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    I enjoyed this Krell a bunch! Drinking beer-chasing girls and looking for drag races in fast cars. That’s what we did and I’d do it all again in a second. I love the smell of burning rubber not just in the morning but anytime.

    My best bud had a red ’70 454/460HP Chevelle. Yea it was fast but I always thought it should have been faster. The whine of that transmission. He still had it when he was killed by a stop sign runner a few years ago.

    By any chance are the cars shown the ones in the post?

    Did I mention I was a Chevy man.

    Thank you.

    • Krell Reply

      February 15, 2011 at 9:26 pm

      Man oh man, do you know what those 454 LS-6’S go for now days? I saw one on Mecum Auctions that went for 80k. I remember when you could have bought one for 7000 dollars.

      The photos are the same cars but not the actual cars.

      I DO have some photos of some later cars when I was still in the car activity. About a couple of years after the Charger, my brother and I restored a ’62 Corvette convertible. Black and Silver Imron paint back when you could get that paint, 327 4 speed. Very nice car. I’ll put up a post with those pictures.

      Those were the days….

    • Krell Reply

      February 15, 2011 at 9:45 pm

      Have you seen the new Camaro SS? 420 hp and 400 ft/lb’s of torque. Amazing and still gets 20 mph. A lot more drivable car than back then.

      Trouble is, you open the hood and you don’t know what the hell your looking at. I can’t even find the spark plugs or identify any of that other stuff. I was always the shade tree type myself. To hot rod an engine, you changed the cam or put on headers, not change a computer chip.

      • One Fly Reply

        February 15, 2011 at 11:31 pm

        Someone should let me drive one of those because I’m a real nice guy. No doubt computers can make easy horsepower but the thrill has become old shit. I’m tired of turning a wrench.

  3. Gwendolyn H. Barry Reply

    February 16, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    1969 deep green Z-28 Camaro. My “Ficken Monster”. / my Mom had a ’57 bench seat Thunderbird convertible auto 8 cylinder (black) that I drove for years … too. I miss them badly. ESP. the monster… hurst 4 on the floor, tail spun out almost every time. I cost me mucho $ in tickets, upkeep and smokes. LOL Had it from ’74-’78 and then a collector offered me a fortune for it.

    • One Fly Reply

      February 16, 2011 at 12:56 pm

      I bet every guy wanted to be friends with you and your Z-28 Gwendolyn. I would have.

      For those of you who may not know about this particular car and the Mustang equivalent had 302CI motors that produced big HP numbers. Both 1/4 mile times in the 12’s. 0-60 in under 6sec. They were produced only in sufficient numbers to qualify to the rules for the Trans AM racing series.

      • Krell Reply

        February 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm

        Mustang Boss 302, always wanted one! Or the Camaro Z-28 302…whenever I see either one on the street, which is becoming a rare event, it always makes me take notice.

        These are ART pieces, a part of Americana!

        Just as much as the old Atwater Kent radios, or a Philadelphia Crafted butler table, or a old Edd Roush baseball glove.

  4. Bee Reply

    February 17, 2011 at 6:48 am

    I’m more partial to the Dodge Charger than the Chevelle…nice story about your friend, Krell 🙂

    • Krell Reply

      February 17, 2011 at 9:50 am

      Thanks, Bee. Funny thing about it, the trunk lid was nothing more than tin foil. The suspension was a plate of noodles above 90 mph. The brakes….well let’s just say that faith was involved when you pushed the pedal. Damn, I loved that car.

      Then about 3 years later, that stupid Dukes of Hazzard show came out. Gawd, I hated that show! Not only where the people dumber than a sack full of possum heads, every show destroyed a couple of Chargers. Every stupid jump in the air, there goes a Charger.

      • Bee Reply

        February 17, 2011 at 6:45 pm

        I too hated Dukes of Hazzard. I couldn’t believe they made a movie out of it…hollywood has truly become the black hole of creativity.

        My 65 Mustang also was held together with spit and kleenex…but man, would it take a curve at 90 mph out on the country backroads of Spotsylvania county…

        The rednecks liked to do a mini-drag race coming out of the stoplights in Fredericksburg VA…but I always managed to win. I had no fear, LOL.

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