written by Richard Coulter
It was the summer of ’72. I was fast completing my 2nd year of a 32 year sentence with IBM.
I lived at home with my parents in Scarborough. I banked most of my payroll. Currently I was between girl friends, single, in good health and the future looked promising. Life Was Good.
My regular ride was my parents previous daily grocery-getter. A ’61 black Pontiac Strato Chief, 6 banger 4 door sedan. Standard steering/ brakes, 3 in the tree, dog dish hubcaps and radio delete. If Mennonites drove cars this was it. I was seriously considering driving with a paper bag over my head.
I was in desperate need of an image buider. I had amassed the huge sum of $ 2700.00. The time was ripe for me to purchase my dream. Those muscle cars of the 60’s that had eluded me all through my high-school years were now within reach.
I was out for a walk on a warm summer’s evening. At the south east corner of Kennedy Road & Eglinton Ave East was a used car lot.
Several strings of 40 watt bulbs traversed above the cars. Every car’s antenna had silver & red tinsel that shimmered in the light summer breeze. I was attracted like a moth to the flame.
There it was, standing proudly in the front row in all it’s muscle car glory.
A black ’69 Dodge Charger R/T, 440 c.i.d Commando engine, black vinyl interior, 4 speed stick, 150 mph speedo, bucket seats, redline tires mounted on 5 spoke chrome Magnum 500 rims and a California rake. Buy me !! it screamed
I circled the car several times like a coyote ready to pounce on a road-runner.
If a car could talk I’m sure it was saying ” Hey Rich put me through the gears. Try keeping me in a straight line. I dare ya Ha Ha .
I was being taunted by an inanimate object, I just had to prove it wrong.
As I stood there in a daze drooling, a sales guy came out of his hut and made a beeline right for me.
” Can I help you son ? “
” How much for the Charger ? “
” $3200 ” he said matter of factly.
” $3200 !!! ” That was almost as much as my Dad paid for his new ’69 Cougar 3 years earlier.
” Maybe we can work something out. I’d like to go for a test drive”
” NO test drives ” he stated emphatically.
I was perplexed. ” Why not ?” I inquired
” About 3 days ago a kid came in here to test drive it. By the time we hit the green light at Midland Ave. we were doing well over 80 m.ph.
” I’m a cash buyer and I don’t plan on buying any car I can’t test drive “
” Take it or leave it ” was his terse reply
” I guess I’ll leave it . Good Luck selling it ” was my sarcastic response.
As he retreated back into the confines of his hut, I turned and proceeded west on Eglinton Ave.
One final look. As I peered over my right shoulder, it’s final pose was a head on view with it’s concealed headlights. What a beauty !!
Now the search was on in earnest.
I was never a big fan of Chrysler products. Perhaps it was my closed mind syndrome of their cars in the 50’s. Hard to start in wet or cold weather.
Poor electrics with a piece of bake lite mounted on the dash to discourage fires. Engine bays painted the same colour of the car because it was cheaper to produce. Thin window glass. etc etc.
But their styling was bang on ! Cudas, challengers, road-runners,super bees, GTX’s, chargers, dusters etc. Not an ugly one in the pack.