Mr and Mrs Dixon were family friends, customers of my Pop's company, and people I did small jobs for from 10 years old. She was ancient, and he was older. 85+ for her, almost 90 for him. In 1969, they had bought his an hers cars. hers was a '69 Dodge Charger. His was a '69 Mustang. They refused to sell me either of them for years, but promised I was in the will, and I'd get the first one that cam up free. Needless to say, I didn't want one that way, and I dismissed it from my mind.
One cold morning in February, 1983, I got a call from John. "Could you please come over to the house? We have some things to talk about." I hopped in my '54 MB Jeep and headed over. John seemed kinda weird when he invited me in. "My Frannie is in the hospital. She's never coming home. She had a stroke last night, and she begged me to keep our word to you when I was driving her to the hospital, and I felt you should know WHY I wasn't going to." Well, I was horrified about her stroke, and confused about the promise. I didn't give a shit about promises, I wanted my spare Grandma to come home. I had a LOT of spare Grandmas, but Fran was one of my favorites. So I asked him "Does she have a chance??" "No, she had two more after the first, then a heart attack. If she lives, she's not there anymore. now, shut up and listen, I can't be strong much longer. We promised to give you the car of the first to go, but I can't do it. I can't give away her car."
I told him I didn't care. What was important was Fran. But he insisted. "I can't give up her car. It would be too tough on me. So tomorrow, I want us to go to DMV and transfer MY Mustanog to you." I was floored. Grateful, but floored. A 1969 Ford Mustang, golden tan, 45K miles, GIVEN to me? It was THE car to own, except for the Charger or a Camaro! He was so insistant that I had no choice. He wouldn't take money for it, but he insisted I accept it or "Frannie will kick BOTH our asses. PLEASE??" I did. That night, she died. It was actually a few days before John called to tell me it was time to go. After the funeral, he wanted to go and transfer it as a sign of honoring her wishes. I drove him to the funeral in her Charger, and to DMV. When all was said and done, I had the title and tags to a cherry 1969 ford Mustang. 3 months later, the chuch got his home, her Charger, and all his worldly goods. He didn't outlive Fran by long.
Over the next few months, I drove it around a LOT. Rusty Jacobs (a fellow speed freak) helped me make a few minor changes to her. We took out the 300ci straight 6 cylinder engine and installed an "acquired" engine from the staties Mustang interceptor car. A nice racing tranny, with a 5spd Hurst shifter. 70s on the front, 60s on the back. Stabilizers and swaybars. Things like that. Rusty had a '69 Firebird Convertible, and we'd often raced. He usually won, being the better driver ANd the crazier one, but I'd trounced him a few times. On a Friday night, he called me up and said "Let's go for a ride! I'll pick you up in a few and we'll go burn a few gallons." Now, with Rusty, this could mean one of two things. Either we were going to cruise the strip looking for races and chicks, or we were going to piss off cops for 3 or 4 counties. Either one worked, so I agreed.
We got on the road and Rusty said he wanted to go to AC (Atlantic City), a 60+ mile trip. I had cash in pocket, a fake ID (lagal age was 21 to drink), and we hit the road. BIG mistake. We got on the Garden State Parkway and within half a mile he was doing over 100. It was 15-20 miles before we saw the first set of flashing lights. The race was ON!! Rusty lowered the hammer and brought her to max on the speedo (140), and we headed down the road. Rusty was a very bad boy who liked his car. He had a switch to kill just the license plate light, and another that killed ALL lights except for the headlights and dashlights. We'd flash by spots where the staties were setting up roadblocks. We roared past exits where they were waiting for us to leave the Parkway. We were going so fast we actually made it to the AC exit before they got anything set up, roared off the exit, cut across the median, and back onto the Northbound lane. 62 miles to freedom. On the way back, the first 15-20 miles (7-8 minutes) were free of flashing lights. If I had been driving, I'da turned the lights back to normal and dropped my speed. We would have gotten back (I think) without further pursuit. But for Rusty, that would have been boring. We picked up more pursuit (or maybe old pursuit, going back to the barracks) about 15 miles from our exit. Rusty somehow managed to ditch them, got off the Parkway at exit 90, and got us lost in the pineys. half an hour later, we were home. An hour later (about 1am) there was a knock on my father's door. He called me to come back to the house, and I did. John, my next door neighbor, and police Captain of the local force, was sitting in the living room.
"Don't bother to deny it, because I saw him drop you off. His car ALWAYS wakes me up. Tonight, you and that red-headed asshole led the staties on a massive chase to AC and back. We can't prove it, and you know it. Sooner or later, Rusty's going to kill himself. I really couldn't give a fuck. But I like your Mom and Pop, so I'm going to do this for them. This is your only warning. IF that 'Stang leaves your driveway with you behind the wheel, it WILL be stopped. IT WILL be found in violation of any laws we can find, and believe me, we can ALWAYS find a few. It WILL cost you hundreds per week to operate it, and you'll probably be without a license within a month. You're a good kid. I've been in your life since my wife weas your Cub Scout Den Mother, and I don't want to be here telling your mom you died stupidly. Ditch the car or move out of my state."
I didn't have the heart to tell him that tonight had already scared me into deciding to do that, he'd just made it more.....urgent. I'd actually thought about putting the old motor back in, but I couldn't do that to her. I sold her to a nutjob from Spring Lake, who killed her and him about a year later, in a race. I've been a truck man ever since. I've had other vehicles, but pickup trucks are my main choice.
My current 2007 F150 does 120. Don't ask me how I know.