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I'm so old I just can't remember

Old 02-20-2019, 11:26 PM
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St. Jude Donor '03-'04
Default I'm so old I just can't remember

When I was young, 50 years ago. I'm fairly sure my affliction for cars was very apparent. I was young and dumb and well you know the rest. I liked going fast. I remember 65 years ago waiting for a car to pass on the highway at the end of the street were I lived. Me and my best friend would try to identify the car. IN 1953 we went to Atlantic city and saw a corvette on display at the motorama at the steel pier. I told my parent that I want a car like that when I grow up. My first car was a 58 corvette. I belonged to a corvette club, hung out at a burger place, we had our own Corvette Corral. Good music, girls, burger and shakes. and street racing. Having the fastest car was every young car guys dream. the 50's was an innocent time. Speed seemed sop natural. I even remember racing the sheriff of our town in his Chrysler 300F 413 cu in. 375 HP. Id you Ever saw the movie American Graffiti, then you can relate , That was my time..singing on the street corner, having a girl friend and going off to war. Coming home to pot smokers a hippies and raft dodgers
Enter the Vietnam war. I was in my first year of college and felt the call.. I went to OCS and did two tours in Vietnam much to the fear of my parents. I did not escape cleanly ,some shrapnel sent to Bangkok then home to the States and Valley forge army hospital, Six months later I returned to college to finish my first of two degrees, then on to GM. I came home from Vietnam only to find out 50 years later that I contracted cancer from agent orange. I had no symptoms until I fell in the shower and broke my back, while in the hospital they found the cancer. I was given two years to live. I found a clinical trials program as Cancer research was in overdrive mode. I'm in remission and two years past my expiration date.

Today, its a much different world.. so many cars, gun violence, road rage, much stricter laws, etc. Lots of fast cars out there with no place to go, today street racing can get you a forfeit of your car, suspend your license etc. Are young people today willing to street race , I dont see it any more but back in the 50's it was thrilling to see two guys square off on the highway and have a go at it. Today that thrill is riddled with consequences that were not there 50 years ago, sure it was illegal, but even the cops would drag race the fastest cars in the town, back then.
I see the you tube videos of people risking their lives and the lives of others, and the stupid mistakes and crashes that are viewed on You tube. I fully understanding the need to make your car more than stoc, or to personalize it, but I just cant see 750, hp on the street.
My question has been curious over the last18 years here in that 80 % of Corvette built never see a track. However almost everyone here wants to suck every ounce of horse power they can even at the expense of mechanical problems when done incorrectly.

Sorry , just the ramblings of an Old guy
Bill aka
A little reminiscing for the old guys here.
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Old 02-21-2019, 12:07 AM
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Sounds like an amazing time and an awesome life. Hang in there my Stealth brother..
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Old 02-21-2019, 12:16 AM
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Awesome story :-)
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Old 02-21-2019, 12:40 AM
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Great story. I grew up a couple decades later. I have done some of those street things you mentioned and wouldn't change any of if for any reason. It was a blast. Glad you're still around and able to educate and entertain us.
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Old 02-21-2019, 12:41 AM
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Those were definitely interesting times, Bill. My first Corvette was a 1955, purchased in 1968, followed by a steady procession of musclecars, Tri-5's, streetrods and many more Corvettes. Diagnosed with early Stage 4 prostate cancer in 2002 and been in remission, since 2005.
If it all ends tomorrow, I didn't get cheated.
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Old 02-21-2019, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Jistari View Post
Awesome story :-)
Thanks, I was not sure if my reminiscing would be receive poorly. Ive had a great life.. married 51 years to the same woman, who helped put me through school, Feared for my life, gave me two kids, one now a doctor and the other an engineer, and 5 grand kids. two character making careers, one in the military the other as a design engineer. If I died tomorrow it would not shock anyone who knows me, but I would not feel cheated.
Bill aka ET
The C5 was my last project before retiring.
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Old 02-21-2019, 01:52 AM
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Bill, I remember those times as well. Police were our friends and a lot of times I was given a break when they had me dead to rights. I was given some man to man talks from some officers that really made a difference in my life. I was good friends with a lot of those retired police officers until their passing.

Most young kids that I know today are not interested at all in fast cars or older street rods. They just want a car to get them to and from school or work. We had a lot of drive-in restaurants that were the hang outs for the car guys. Those local hangouts have all went by the wayside here as well.

I bought my first Corvette in 1969 for $800.00. It was a 1963 Roadster. Those were the good ole days. I have had a great life as well and cars have been a great part of it.

Thanks for sharing and getting me to reminisce about the simpler times in my life. I do appreciate your comments and presence here on the Forum. Jerry
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Old 02-21-2019, 07:15 AM
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It's neat to read the experiences/memories of Gentleman like "Evil-Twin", as they are quite similar to the stories my Dad used to tell me from his childhood. He was a hot-rodder back in the day and his passion absolutely wore off on me. Growing up working on his 69 Chevelle, 63 Split Window, 57 Chevy, and now 63 Caddy; I've learned to appreciate all types on cars. But I'll always have a soft spot for Corvettes. Back when I was young and irresponsible, I did the street racing thing, but even back then (which wasn't THAT long ago), you could still have fun without worrying about going to jail. It's sad laws have changed the way they have, but it is also justified. With high horsepower cars relatively easy to come by for an affordable price, too many young bucks can get themselves more car then they can handle. Which typically means they abuse the power and unfortunately can hurt themselves or others. Now I am an Engineer/happily married/soon to be Dad and I can truly appreciate the memories I have working on cars and going out to be ignorant on a Saturday evening. I am still "young" enough at heart to have the itch for making more HP/TQ with my weekend warrior, but I surely don't drive like a used to. One 3 digit speeding ticket in my early 20s slowed me down pretty quick... All is well. God has been good to me and I pray for many more great years to come. I expect the same for you Bill aka ET! It's a pleasure to read your many posts from over the years as I research for the next go-fast mod. Now all I have to do is stay sane long enough for the weather to break here in the Northeast so I can take my FRC out to play.

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Old 02-21-2019, 07:37 AM
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Sir, You have our respect and my personal understanding of the trials life puts us through. You mentioned that very few of us really put our cars on the track. Either strip or road coarse, I think you would be surprised how many of us really use these fine works of engineering marvel. Even our serial# 46 “R” has to go out and stretch her legs! So for the record, it’s never too late to go to a track day event, grab a coach, balance out your turns and hammer it down the straights. The cars are just asking for it! As for life experiences. You have us all covered and deserve the utmost respect. Keep on living the dream. This end of the yardstick has its good moments too! It gives us satisfaction just reminiscing what we do remember.

PS. Horsepower is a good thing. Like guns and bombs, it belongs in the right hands and at the right place.

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Old 02-21-2019, 07:47 AM
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Welcome home. Thank you for your service.

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Old 02-21-2019, 07:59 AM
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Thanks Bill, I can relate to a lot of your story.....Fast cars, the girls, the burger joint and married to the same girl for 51 years. AND, I still feel that cops are our friends.
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Old 02-21-2019, 08:35 AM
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Nice stroll down memory lane...
Your passion for the C5 is evident in your posting... thank you for your service and for being a part of building us a car, that many enthusiast appreciate the styling, technology, and performance of an American Icon... the Corvette.
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Old 02-21-2019, 09:03 AM
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Great story Bill. It parallels mine very closely. A doctor on my paper route had a 53 back when I was 8 years old. My first "Corvette" was a Schwinn Corvette. I bought my first real; one ( a 1964 vert) in 1969, and have been driving them since. I too was pretty fresh out of Uncle Sam's army and I traded my 65 Corvair in on it. I too have got a disease, that will one day take me, but I ain't giving up yet. (I was 74 last Saturday.)
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Old 02-21-2019, 09:27 AM
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Born in '46 Bill. So you know that I was there with ya'. When I would put together a motor, and fire it up for the first time with open headers, I would feel like it was a "Religious Experience".. Gone are those days. All good things must come to an end. That is just the way of life. We have to enjoy these corvettes while we can.. Soon there will be electric cars,, and ..."Our".. "Religious Experiences"...will be gone forever. Fifty year wife, and two..."Great"....grand kids.
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Old 02-21-2019, 09:39 AM
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Great story Bill. Cars, burgers, girl of 51 years before passing 2 years ago. Had it all with no regrets. Agree 100% on the hp. Who needs all that on a street car. Very happy with my stock 350. Fin
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Old 02-21-2019, 10:11 AM
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Great post. I want to thank you again for the time you took to answer all my questions. I have great respect for you and for all you have done in your life.
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Old 02-21-2019, 10:23 AM
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Thank for posting

I am a couple generations younger, gen X. I value hearing from the old guys, you guys lived in a different world and saw a lot, learned a lot.

I think the biggest change (you tell me if I am wrong) is back in the 'good' days, it was always assumed life was pretty good and getting better. Everything was getting bigger, faster, more advanced, building roads, going to Space, etc. Humanity was on the upswing. sure there were worries & wars, but the trajectory and the feeling was one of onward and upwards, progress in the true meaning of the word. You guys were the baddest of the badasses in history.

Today things actually are still getting better by almost every any metric: violent crime down for decades, life expectancy better and better, and sorry there's no 'poor' people in the USA. The 'poor' people we have are RICH compared to true poor people throughout history. There are 200MILLION+ guns in the USA but gun violence is not a problem unless you are in a gang. The weird thing is, society seems consumed by the opposite. The pop culture is that humans are bad, we are a blight on the planet, building and growth and prosperity is bad. See the new-agey idiot socialists like Occasional Cortex who celebrate 'victory' as they drive away a huge influx of jobs and property into a city. Absolutely friggin Nuts.

But, I'd say that is only 'pop culture' and pop culture is what we see on Media and media is controlled by a bunch of lefty losers who think that way. They repeat it and repeat it and we start thinking it's true.... It's not true. It's only 15-20% of population are idiots on the left, but they're noisy, and have been for generations. The 'silent majority' of us are too busy working, raising kids, enjoying our Vettes on the weekend. Media will never celebrate you Bill and will never celebrate me, raising kids with a wife, in a suburban neighborhood, working hard and getting ahead. We'll feel alone since we are not in the media.....But there are a lot of us.... we fight with our votes and our $$, but we have no voice. what small voice we have online is actively repressed by big tech....

So it is doubly important to stay connected, with our neighbors, church, work, and other forums such as this, to encourage each other; keep living the good life, fighting the good fight, be decent people.

I will say the ideals of personal morality/accountability have declined and are often actively vilified. High divorce rates, abortions, etc are symptoms of selfishness, they want fun with no consequences. I think of all issues we have, this is the big one. Turn away from God, you've turned away from good and things go bad.... no surprise. everyday human decency is lost because kids were raised without it and turn into adults with no concept of the idea. Then you see road-ragers, adults acting like the self-centered spoiled brats they actually are.... Actions have consequences.

I'm off my soapbox - thanks for starting the topic
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Old 02-21-2019, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by runner140* View Post
AND, I still feel that cops are our friends.
yes I have nothing but positive experience with cops + the Vette. I blew by a cop 86 in a 70, no plates either, last June driving home from Seattle where I bought it to Tx. She pulled me over and gave me a good questioning.... let me off with 5 over, a smile and a wave.

DW was driving the Vette once recently, blasted up to 90+ up an onramp with concrete barriers on each side to hear the V8 thunder - right into a 60mph speed trap. The cops smiled and waved.
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Old 02-21-2019, 10:28 AM
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Thank you for taking the time to post those memories, several very much remind me of my dad. He grew up in the same era and spent his time in the USMC and Vietnam as well. I loved hearing him talk about growing up during this time and how it seemed "easier" and much more simple. He wasn't a huge car guy but enough to give me the itch and help me start tinkering with cars from a young age. We built a '57 Chevy together when I was 16, he had a '57 Fairlane but said it just wasn't like having a '57 Chevy and he had always wanted one. So we completely restored one in the late '80's together, it would be called a resto-mod now but back then it was just fixed to resemble stock on the outside with all modern, at the time, driveline underneath. We learned a lot together and messed up a lot too but that was kind of the fun part, it really didn't matter as long as we were spending that time together. Once we took that step together, it just amplified my love for old cars, new cars, weird cars....anything really, it taught me to appreciate the time and effort anyone put into their car, whether I liked it or not. It led me to work in a restoration body shop all through HS and college, I learned so much and it was all because my dad took the time to teach me what he knew and spend that time with me. Years later I would finally be able to buy my first C4, which a Corvette of any kind was always my dream car. I had zero money to modify it or increase the HP but just to own one was enough at the time. Many (like way too many) car projects later, I have a C5 FRC as a project with my two sons, my oldest just got a C5 coupe, my youngest a Mustang (forgive me please.....) and we all spend time together wrenching and fixing issues with our cars together. I hope one day my boys will look back as I do to your generation and people like you and my dad who helped create the next generation of "car guys".

Thank you for taking the time to post and all the help, advice and wisdom you provide here. My dad is in the later stages of Alzheimer's now but I wish he could see how that one car has affected so many people down the road......Thanks again, very much enjoyed your post and memories.
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Old 02-21-2019, 10:40 AM
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Wow! what an interesting story and life you have lived.... I was very touched to read what you wrote.

First off thank you for your service! My freedom came at your expense and many others like you..... NEVER taken for granted.....

As far as your health I am truly sorry and good luck with your everyday. Try to enjoy each day like you lived your life.

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