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Morning Symphony: The Howl Of The Angry Demolition Derby Car


Morning Symphony: The Howl Of The Angry Demolition Derby Car

Around 1997, there was a demolition derby build car in our yard. It was a late 1970s Pontiac Catalina two-door, which was just another cheap GM B-body that somehow had the misfortune to end up at the far end of the field. It’s fate was sealed the moment it showed up…which was announced by a family friend using part of what was, at the time, my dirt-bike track’s uphill section as an impromptu rally stage before it came sliding to a stop. We gutted it, tuned the Pontiac 350 to within an inch of it’s life, caged it, put the required rail bars on the sides of the car, and prepared it for a run at Spanaway Speedway. Before it’s debut on the track, I had driven the car around and found it to be a torque-monster that seemed incapable of getting stuck anywhere. But on the track, it seemed to be, at best, a mid-pack car in the bump-to-pass races, which didn’t fill me with hope that the car would return in one piece. In fact, there was a ringer at the track that night, a 1969 or 1970 full-size Mopar that sounded like it was packing the engine from a drag car under the hood. This mother absolutely¬†screamed…like “I’m deaf now!” screamed, and it carried speed to match it’s voice. The Catalina didn’t stand a chance…by the time it was all said and done, the driver was maybe millimeters from getting an intrusive medical exam from the pinion shaft, and the rear bumper was all but facing the sky. Lesson learned: some demo drivers take their hobby very, very seriously.


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