Sunday, March 10, 2013

Memories of a 1965 Dodge Dart

1984, my senior year in High School. Many folks will state that High School will be the best time of your live. Part true but the fall back to that statement is the lack of cash flow. I and many others were constantly broke during these wonderfull years. Home work was at 2 to 3 hours per evening. For a rebal teen these were heavey numbers to endure. Even with this home study program I was only capable of c-d average. Later i learned this would have been a a-b average at other schools due to high standards set. Regardless I wanted to work so I could buy a new car. At teenage level new cars are a constant fanticy. To this day I am still unable to afford a new car or truck for that matter. During this time era I owned a 1969 Chevy El-Cameno. Stuffed in the engine compartment was a 455cu Buick motor, large block. Over sized springs were installed in the front end to handle the extra wieght of the motor(compaired to the stock motor). Even though I love this car and to this day love the 1968-69 chevy El-Comeno, this is not the car I have many memeries from. The car that scared me for life is the 1965 Dodge Dart GTA, owned by a friend (sence grammer school) Anthony Ascolese (spell check on the name). Equipted with a 273cu motor, which by the numbers sounded tame but proved everything but tame. Badges on the car desiginated the car "GTA", I have tried to look up what GTA stands for on the internet with no answers, (if any one knows or cares to research further please leave me a note in the comments section to be added in). Standard for the car were bucket seats with a center console. Back then, the use of chrome was abundent. There wis chrome lased through out the interior compartment from the shifter knob to the outside window tracks. The automatic shifter is located between the seats with 1, 2, D designations for the transmission gears. "EMMA" as we called Anthony bacvk then, used the shifter as though it were a standard transmission. Constantly adjusting the gears with no argument from the transmission. I have never seen anybody like Emma work the transmission so hard (it never failed). Emma could have made an excellent Reliability Engineer for Dodge. He tested the mechanical limits of that car on a daily basis. When he purchased the rig he stuffed a largest cam avalible(do not recall the specs) and masive carborator. The matched cam and carborator provven a perfit combonation for it had tremedous straight line performance. The motor also equipted with solid lifters( lifters open the valves to allow combustion). For the times solid lifters were proven reliable for horse power seeking fans. hydraulic lifters are subject to failure to contamination in the oil and extreme pressure during hard accleration. The carborator, being a large model, complemented the cam by delivering large volumes of fuel into the combustion chamber of the motor.

Emma and I both worked at a local Exxon gas station with two bays for repairs. The owner, Mike Forest, alowed us to use the bays after hours to work on our own cars as long as we put the tool away when done asnd kept the bays clean. This ment we had full use of the car lifts and saved us lots of cash in paying others to work on our car. Try finding that today with every one claiming liability issues.

One Saturaday afternoon Emma had completed an adjustment on the solid lifters ( the draw back to solid lifters is they need adjusting from time to time). Emma decided to test the motor under load to check performance and began to do Donuts around the gas pumps. Donuts is an old slang term for spinning the car around in circles while spinning the tires. I counted 12 laps around the pumps when I noticed in the corner of my, blue lights. Emma continued doing donuts with his eyes focused the gas pumps so not to crash into them. Crashing into them would have set off an exsplotion that would have shutt part of the town of Lexington (MA) down. The blue lights turned out to be the local police. Officer Tim Barry pulled in the Exxon though the car door open, jumped out with his arms flailing in the air yelling "SHUT IT DOWN SHUT IT DOWN." Anthony compliade, jumped out and asked "whats wrong." Officer Barry restated "WHATS WRONG?" He went into a full blown explanation on "WHATS WRONG." After explaning the wrongs about going around gas pumps with the tires spinning, exspostions and possible death, he told Anthony not to do it again. Emma stated he only did it a couple of times. "A COUPLE OF TIMES?" Officer Barry yelled back, "Anthony the whole Police station has been watching you," with that statment the officer pointed in the direction of the Police station. The station was located 100 yards due west from the gas station. Emma and I both looked in the direction the Officer was pointing to conferm that you could see from the station. He was right, not only could you clearly see but there was also Police Officers still looking out the window. Seeing this Emma apologized. the Officer jumped back in cruser, gave Anthony one final look over and left.

On an another occation Emma phoned me on a Sunday morning telling me to come on down to the gas station right away. There was a tone of advenchure is his voice. With out questioning him I imediatly set off for the station. The station was located at the end of my streeet on Fletcher ave and Woburn st. I parked the El-Cameno and asked "whats going on," Emma explained that he had just cut the exhaust off his car from the headers. He informed me he wanted to hear how load the car was with no exhaust. We jumped in the Dart and turned headed East on Woburn st. At approximatly 25mph I exclaimed "wow thats load" "oh ya watch this" he replied. Emma stomped on the accelirator with such force that he lifted himself several inches off the seat. The car erroupted in a deafining ball of noice. The mid 1980's were pre car alarms. If cars had alarms back then he would have set off every alarm on the street as we passed. Emma continue with the accelorator pinned to the floor boards for about 1/16 of a mile. i was holding on for dear life with one hand on the dash board and the other holding the door shut. I hadent noticed the speed we were traveling for I was keeping an eye out for dogs on a Sunday mornibing stroll, solo. No dogs were around. We reached the end of Wobun st turned around and proceeded in the westerly direction with the same acceloration. We arived back at the station, when we left Emma calculatingly left one of the garage doors open at the station. He pulled into the bay a bit too fast and screeched to a hault, jumped out and shut the garage door. With-in 15-20 minutes we had the exhaust back on the car and the car parked out front as though nothing had happened. Emma was constantly looking out the windows as though waiting for the Police to show, they never did. Back then Lexington did not staff the Department on sunday mornings but I can assure you that the switch board at the Police station lite up. I believe Anthony was dissap[ointed that no Police showed because he pacing back and forth while looking out the windows. Anyone who live on Woburn st and was home should beable to recall that Sunday morning.

That Dodge Dart recieved a complete and thorough thrashing each day with no exceptions. During the week we would visit Jonny Carrolls junk yard in Lexington to pick up tires. Emma would burn them off the car during the week and weekends. Anthony was on first name basess with the owner Jonny. He did slow down on the donuts because one day he split the rim in half doing donuts and swore them off. Very rarly did that car ever break down, the car accually seemed to enjoy it. I miss that car even though it was not mine. Creative Commons Copyright by
Dess Dermondy

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