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Mopac I have owned several Chevy muscle cars, 5 '57 Chevy's plus later 2 Plymouth GTX's. The one car I never got was a Tri power GTO, 4 speed. In 1964 when they first came out, I beat it to a Pontiac dealer and there on the showroom floor was the exact car I had envisioned owning. It was a dark blue with white interior post car. I had read in Car Craft and Hot Rod where a post car body would run a better ET due to a slightly more ridged body which translated into less body flex than a hard top. Since I was already drag racing a '57 Chevy post car, great. I'll take it! Nope. I could not get it insured. I was 17 at the time. The insurance co. said they would not insure that car no matter what. I found high risk unaffordable insurance. So I had to walk away from that car. Ironically Chevy built a lowly Chevy II, later renamed Nova, which they would insure, I bought 1965 SS, 327, 350 hp 4 speed that was quicker than any GTO I ever raced on the street or dragstrip. They happily insured it and at a super low rate just because the name, Chevy II. I guess they didn't care about the SS designation. I must say most GTO guys thought they were somebody, as you say. I had to humble them with my cheap Chevy II. lol

Kenny
 

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That is a lot of cars. When I was 17 I was away at college. Freshmen were required to live on campus and Freshmen were not permitted to have cars on campus. That made life easier in a way. At 21 with a degree and a job it was possible to insure pretty much anything. Those cars were a lot of fun but we are living in the golden age of performance cars right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #2,843 (Edited)
Cool cars Kenny. You are correct, the 327 Chevy II s were very quick. Much lighter than my GTO. Not many years ago I found out that Pontiac only made 1500 1965 GTOs like mine. Seemed like that is not very many. My goat had a very rare option on it. Transiorized ignition. Common on cars 1972 and newer. Not 1965. it went out on me and no one knew how to fix it. I ended up putting a points distributor in it.

Tom, I too at 17 was off to college. I had to live in a dorm but I could have a car. I will
always remember guys waking me up late at night wanting to go riding in my GTO.
They would say we got gas money. They called my car the Space Ship.
 

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Cool cars Kenny. You are correct, the 327 Chevy II s were very quick. Much lighter than my GTO. Not many years ago I found out that Pontiac only made 1500 1965 GTOs like mine. Seemed like that is not very many. My goat had a very rare option on it. Transiorized ignition. Common on cars 1972 and newer. Not 1965. it went out on me and no one knew how to fix it. I ended up putting a points distributor in it.

Tom, I too at 17 was off to college. I had to live in a dorm but I could have a car. I will
always remember guys waking me up late at night wanting to go riding in my GTO.
They would say we got gas money. They called my car the Space Ship.
Mopac, if you didn't have that GTO, would those guys have woke you up to ride around in an Catalina? There is a town 10 miles from me where I lived for 35 years called Pontiac, IL. In that town there is a car museum. Can you guess what cars the museum contains? Right you are! Pontiacs! The guy who owns it, is from Kansas. He is a Pontiac expert. I got to know him when he first moved here. The actual name is "Pontiac-Oakland Museum". Oakland being the forerunner of Pontiac. So I don't get too far a field from trains and anger some of the more sensitive Forum people, Google the museum name.
I learned about that transistor ignition from a Pontiac-Buick dealer in town that had a reputation as a performance leaning dealer since they stocked and sold Pontiac and Buick muscle cars with regular cars and also had a dealership drag race car, a '65 GTO like you had. As you say, that option was so rare that nobody knew much about it. One of the mechanics there had training with it. They later had a '69 Ram Air IV GTO drag race car. I drove a '69 Ram AIR IV GTO 4 speed with a FACTORY ordered 4:56 gear. It had been prepped so I drove it straight off the lot. A test drive. The owner's son and I were friends. What a ride that was! I even considered buying it. Then common sense kicked in. I had just ordered a 427 L88 crate engine and didn't have any extra cash to pay for much else even though I was working in construction then because that was the only way I knew to make good money to race on.
While you and Tom were off to college getting a degree, I was also getting my degree--in drag racing, since that was what I was going to be--a professional drag racer. You couldn't get a degree for building and racing cars 50+ years ago anywhere but the drag strip. Of course now days you can get a degree in any area of any kind of racing you want. Wyoming Tech comes to mind but I know there are others.

To circle back to trains, does anybody know why there are so many towns on a railroad 10 miles, and a few, 15 miles apart? There is no prize for the correct answer. Just an "Atta Boy".

Kenny
 

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Discussion Starter #2,845
I do not know the answer to your question. But it probably has to do with fuel or water.
 

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In the really old days they also had telegraph offices at short intervals for train movement orders.
I test drove a 1969 Judge with the 366hp Ram Air, it was fast but was not the 370hp Ram Air IV. Ended up buying a 1969 442 which was a bit slower but I felt was the better car. I was not a drag racer, no one who wanted to win would campaign a long stroke Olds engined car. I sold my final 442 shortly after I purchased my first V12. I was also well into my train collecting at that point.
 

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Discussion Starter #2,847
Tom, the 442s were very nice cars. A friend of mine had a beautiful one. In fact he had
an unfortunate accident with it. He did run a stop sign in a subdivision and struck a car.
I came on the scene shortly after it happened. It looked like a minor fender bender but
an 11 year old boy in the other car hit his head on something and was killed. I never saw
my friend or the 442 again.

On a lighter note. I got my C&NW caboose yesterday. I did not open the box till this morning.
Right off I saw a problem. A one inch piece of the roof corner was broke off. Not in the box.
I went to the ebay pics and sure enough I had missed it. It clearly did show in the pics. Seller
described it as very gently used. Contacted seller and let him know I was not happy. He said
he had not seen it. He was selling a large collection. He has offered me what I paid for the
car as a refund. So I am just out the shipping cost and I keep the caboose. I have another car to be delivered
today and I will get pics. Everything on ebay has always worked out. I don't think I can run the new caboose,
but I can use it for parts. Power trucks and other things.
 

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That is an awful story and experience about the 442 owner.
Maybe you can use the money to get the C&NW caboose you really wanted.
 

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Tom and mopac, you are both correct! The biggest reason was for water and sometimes fuel. Case in point is the TP&W that runs through the town where I live. It is an east-west route. Not a curve in the entire length. Coming from Peoria over to Eastern Indiana there is a town every 10 miles except east out of Peoria. There you got 3 towns 15 miles a part. The other railroad that runs north and south through here is the UP. The towns are a little more apart even though there are some that are 10 miles apart from St. Louis to Chicago. I suspect because it was always a class I owned railroad therefore bigger engines with bigger tender capacity. As I have documented here before, Chicago & Alton then GM&O, to Illinois Gulf, to SP and finally UP. Obviously only the Chicago & Alton was the only line to run almost entirely steam until the GM&O transition. Having seen those steamers at the yard and rebuild shops area in Bloomington, IL, the Chicago & Alton steamers setting there during the GM&O take over period were bigger than what the TP&W ran. Yes the telegraph was key for train movement too at the depot/offices.
Atta Boys!!

The 442's were nice cars for sure Tom. I think of all the A body cars from all the GM brands, they had the best compromise between performance and comfort. Some Buick Grand Sport owners might disagree. That RAM AIR IV I drove made no attempt at being a nice riding car. It was built for just what it did well--drag racing. I immersed myself in cars and full on drag racing as much as you were into the American Flyer collecting Tom. Looking back I wouldn't change a thing about my drag racing and keeping track of each manufactures muscle car production types. My only regret was being semi-pro at drag racing. Almost got to the pro level. The only thing that stopped me was MONEY! I spent money like it was water trying to keep up and it still wasn't enough in spite of winning every now and then. No, nobody can make a living from racing even though I had sponsorship money and my own money invested. At best you hope to break even. The ROI isn't great for sure.

Kenny
 

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Discussion Starter #2,850 (Edited)
I did not think I would like this caboose any way. I will get one I want later.

I have other stories stuck in my head from cars. Yes, they can be killers.
I was not the only person to have a GTO at my high school. 2 guys that
I did not know were out in one of the GTOs from my school. Driving too
fast and centered into a pole. Pushed the engine into passenger compartment.
Killed both of the guys. I saw that car also. Engines do not come back into
passenger areas anymore. They are designed to fold back under the cars now.
Cars are much safer today. That GTO engine was sitting on the 2 front seats.
How it got through the firewall I do not know.
 

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Discussion Starter #2,851
Early steam engines had very small tenders. So I figured it was about water and fuel.
And those towns would not be there except for the railroads.
 

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Discussion Starter #2,852
Kenny, in your drag travels did you ever come across a Don Gay Pontiac?
I do not remember if it was a super stock or a funny car. Don Gay owned
a performance dealership in Texas. It was near the dragstrip I ran at. I never
saw his car at the strip. I have seen it on TV. One of his mechanics set up
my rear end gears. I went from a 3:23 to a 3:90. Close to perfect for my car.
I was at about top end at end of the quarter. Those Pontiacs had no revs
like a 327 would do. At about 5,000 rpm my valves would start floating.
One thing my car needed that I never did was an electric fuel pump. I would
run out of fuel in 4th gear at top speed.
 

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Mopac, you are so right about those towns not existing without the railroads.
As to Don Gay, I did see his cars over the years when they were involved in drag racing. At that same time there was also Arnie "The Farmer" Beswick Pontiac's running too. I got to know him a little bit sense he has a farm about 150 miles north of me. Yes he was really a farmer who just happened to like drag racing. His racing facility is bigger than his machine shed. He went from regular bodied GTO's and even a Tempest station wagon to Funny Cars. He used to make yearly visits to Pontiac, IL when that museum I spoke about had a yearly Pontiac only car show. He would bring that Tempest and a regular Funny Car for the show. I got to talk to him there often. He is 86 now and didn't make it down last year. Me, the museum owner, and a couple of friends used to go to his farm just to visit. He has all of his old race cars plus several regular GTO's. HIs machine shed building that he kept his newest combine and 3 tractors plus other machinery burned down 10 years ago. His comment? "At least I had enough sense to build the race shop building far enough away so it didn't burn down too. I can replace the machinery but not those race cars". He did have 3 race cars in the machinery building that were burned as well. He said they were never good handling cars so no big loss. He is quite a character.

That 3:90 gear choice you made sounds like it was a perfect match. If you matched the engine rpms to the end of the strip, that's all you needed. Better than running out of gear and rpms and not be at the end of the quarter as sometimes happens.

Kenny
 

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Discussion Starter #2,854
I do know of Arnie Beswick. I do have a diecast car of one of his race cars. "The Farmer". You got to love it. As I remember my diecast car is a green 65 GTO.
 

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I never met any racers with the exception of a distant in-law who raced a 1967 GTO in the Detroit area up until five years ago. It was an 8 or 9 second car, so not streetable. It has been sold.
Here is my last gasp at a muscle car, a 2000 Mustang GT manual. It sounded and drove great but it sounded much faster than it was. I sold it after a few years to a guy at work who just had to have it.


E16683D2-5FCE-42C8-8F4E-2FAD13518A54.jpeg
 

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Tom, that is a good looking Mustang. Unique color. I sold 2000 Mustangs and I do not remember that color. Maybe a special 35th Anniversary color.
Looks good.
 

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It was a good looking car, I saw it on the dealers lot and bought it on an impulse. For sure that color was not common but I do not recall it being a special order. The black pinstriping along the top of the panels and the Mustang lettered on the back of the rocker panels and the back of the trunk lid were unique. Likely added by the dealer. The interior was charcoal.


7B188741-16AF-46AD-9D34-3AEC94528EAA.jpeg
 

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Mopac, did you also sell SHO's? This Mustang lived in our DC townhouse for the 2 years I was located in DC, it shared the 2 car garage with a 1998 SHO, all silver, interior and exterior. That was the Gen 3 with the 3.4L V8.
 

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Tom nice Mustang. I've never seen that color before. You can tell that car has seen a lot of garage time due to the great looking condition the top is in and no color fade. Seems like every black convertible that hasn't been kept in a garage fades and loses it's even texture. The charcoal interior color just adds to the over all sharp look. I would have to agree with you about the dealer adding the the pin stripping and the Mustang script on the rocker. The dealer where I worked had an outside company that would come in and pinstripe Camaros and pick up trucks often. I remember he had 6 IROC Camaros all done a different way all in the same day.
I have to agree with you Tom on the point you made about today's performance cars. Every American manufacturer's performance model seems to have a base of 450 hp and most of the time have offerings above 500 hp, and generally get 28-30 or more mpg, I am amazed even though it is common place. I could easily get 500-600+ hp from a Chevy 427 but more than that took a lot of thinking and work. Now you can plunk your money down and get 700+ hp. Throw in the superior handling, there is no comparison to the '60's and early '70's muscle car era. 4 cylinder 2.0 engines with 380hp? Who would have thunk it? FI, turbo charging and great handling. In my opinion, the best value for your money is the C6 and later Corvette. When you study the engineering in that car, and now the C8 version, it is an amazing car. Not to mention 28 mpg. Most foreign cars at that level are at the $200,000+ price point. I just watched a Jay's Garage episode where Chevrolet brought one of two currently built ZR1 Corvettes. Jay drove the car with the engineer somewhere with a camera mounted inside pointing to the speedometer. 204 and change. That ZR1 is due out this coming spring the engineer said. No hp ratings were offered when Jay asked and no price either. Safe to say north of $120,000. Still a bargain for that caliber of car.

Kenny
 

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Tom, I did sell SHOs. Their Yamaha engines were beautiful. Very smooth and I never heard of any trouble with them.
Their big claim to fame was all that motor and very little torque steer. A problem with powerful front wheel drive cars.

Kenny, whats not to like with the vettes. Worth the money. I have always wanted one but so far there has not been one in my drive. I think I have spent enough at the casino to have paid
for one. A nice one.
 
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