Tales from Tech School

Now here’s a great story–my friend Cory from Tech School built a 1950 Chevy, using a ’77 Oldsmobile chassis and drive train. It was a rough old car, so we didn’t mind cutting it up. We chopped the top 3-1/2 inches, channeled it over the frame, and gave it a rattle can paint job once we patched up all the rust. Anyway, when the car was our version of road-worthy, Cory decided to race it against one of our classmates, who had a Hyundai Tiburon with bolt ons and nitrous. Weird race, I know. Of course, I wanted to go, and so did Beefy, another classmate that truly lived up to his nickname. With Cory at the wheel and Beefy on the passenger side of the bench seat, I crawled into what should normally be the back seat. But there wasn’t a back seat. This was a stupid idea.

Byrd Photo

Cory's '50 Chevy...can you imagine this thing lined up against an import on an old back road? Fun times! It took 17 cans of cheap Walmart flat black spray paint and 3 cans of red oxide paint for that custom paint job.

Luckily, I had something to hold onto, because Cory hadn’t cut the bracing out of the body from where we chopped the top. Beefy had his video camera with him and documented the race…I’d love to see that video. Anyway, we went to the not-so secret spot, and lined up. The Tiburon in the right lane, while we’re in the opposite lane, making the level of danger much higher, thanks to the possibility of oncoming traffic. The launch was uneventful, but as we picked up speed, we saw a van pull up to stop sign of a road perpendicular to the one we were racing on. Assuming they’d wait at the stop sign until we passed, Cory kept the hammer down, as we were actually ahead of the modified import at this point. Apparently, the driver of the van didn’t notice the chopped Chevy rat rod racing in the wrong lane, and we were fast approaching the intersection. Cory stabbed the brakes, and quickly figured out that only one brake was working…the left front. Smoke spewed from the squealing front tire, and a collective exclamation came from all three of us in Cory’s car because it had barely scrubbed any speed. Thankfully, the driver of the import stayed in the throttle, and we were able to swerve into his lane to avoid a head on collision. It would’ve been really bad, but for whatever reason, we were able to escape and end up with a great story to tell our buddies when we got back to school that day.

There will definitely be more tales from tech school so add that to my already long list of ongoing blogging series.

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