Friday, December 15, 2006

The Land Speed Record I almost Had?

Or my lost 15 minutes of fame!
BS Brash

Late in 1957 I decided to try out my dad's 1957 DeSoto Adventurer, it was absolutely beautiful! It was Gold and White with white vinyl seats, it had 150 big ones on the Speedometer, this in a day when tires weren't rated for speed and what seat belts there were lay unused on the back seat floor! The dang thing had a 3/4 race cam (the factory said it was full race) and two 4bbls on a hemi engine, it didn't idle, it loped. Two things happened when you floored the gas pedal, the car was so light that it fishtailed and the gas gauge made a quick trip done the dial to empty. Gas was only .25 cents a gallon, but when you got on this thing, the gas mileage dropped to 4 or 5 mpg. That 30-gallon tank just didn't stay full very long at that rate. One good, or bad thing, depending on your view, it attracted so much attention at the gas pumps, that the attendant forgot to collect payment for the gas as often as not. I got propositioned by so many women it was scary, even by some of the moms! I was in hog heaven and the King of KC when I drove it and the envy of all the guys, even the dads! The car was a repo from a local TV personality and my dad sold cars and he had been assigned the Adventurer as a demo car, I lived high for about a month, then dad was assigned an Isetta? Still got me a lot of dates, but not much envy, but that’s another story for another time.

It was a Friday in June of ’58, I had just been graduated from SE High and all was good. I would soon go to work full time and my life would change, but that Friday night after I dropped off my date, I decided to give the Adventurer it test. I drove out 63rd St to the where the 63rd St Drive-in and 50 highway met and then turned left on what was then a fairly lonesome stretch of double lane highway and dropped the hammer on the Hemi. The car fishtailed and then leaped like a gazelle. The speedometer needle sped across the dial till it was buried out of site and still the speed increased. About then I went thru a speed trap and back then, you didn’t run from the cops, especially if your dad was and ex-KC cop! I started slowing down and stopped, about 10 minutes later the cop caught up with me. I got out of the car to face him and as I did I realized that I knew him and he knew me, he had been a partner of my dad back in the day when KC Cops all rode in pairs. His face fell when he recognized me and he wasn’t vary complimentary when he told me that he was going to forget this incident, but if he ever saw me again, even walking down the street, he was going to throw me in jail for sure! I thanked him and as I climbed back in the Adventurer, he said, “Man that is some car!”As I quietly and slowly drove off, I figured that the 142mph that he said I had registered on the then state-of-the-art equipment, two chalk lines and a stop watch, absolutely must have been a record for an KCMO speeder ever caught up to that time. Oh well, the Guinness Book Of Records wasn’t even circulated in the US back then and I was just happy that I didn’t get any jail time. But man oh man, what a rush!!

BS Brash copyright 2006

No comments: