Like everyone else I really enjoy reminiscing old memories especially bench racing with friends about some of those times where all didn’t go as planned.
One such time was back in the late 70’s when I was an active member of the U.S. Olympic International Skeet shooting team. While hosting a weekend international competition at our local club in Palo Alto California there were many good friends and fellow competitors present. Two of them were John Satterwhite my coach and Eva Funes the women’s East German champion. One afternoon after the event had ended for the day John was telling Eva about my GT500 but she had no idea what was special about it. The next day I drove it to the club and John said, “Come on Eva… Hop in the front and Gary will take us for a ride.” It didn’t take long before we were on the freeway moving at a pretty good clip when John said, “Come on Faules, show us what she’s got!”
Now before I go any further I have to re-wind back a year or so to my honey-moon when my wife and I drove up to my parent’s ranch in North Eastern Oregon. It was winter and the roads had just opened up enough for us to drive the Shelby thru the highways that had been recently cleared by snowplows. My wife having been raised a high society city girl had never had the opportunity of seeing nature up close. When I parked the car so she could enjoy watching some mule deer she opened the window and to my surprise when she offered some peppermint sticks to the hungry deer they came running right up to the car. (make note to self; buy pepermint sticks before next hunting season.) Before we knew what was happening one large four-point buck had stuck his entire head, rack and all, in thru the passenger’s window. As I struggled to force him back out one of his points tore a one inch L-shaped tear in my head liner.
Now back in Palo Alto, doing about 130 miles per hour gently weaving in and out of traffic the last thing on my mind was that small tear in my head liner. That was until Eva said, “Oh my God, I need some fresh air.” As she rolled down the window at 130 miles per hour air rushed inside the car and forced it’s way into that small hole in the head liner which caused the headliner to burst at one of the seams. Unfortunately it was the seam that allowed the head liner to immediately cover my entire head and face which completely blocked me from being able to see the road let alone any other cars. Not only was I blinded by the black material but when the air rips a head liner apart like that it really plays hell with all the insulation that sits above the head liner. I don’t mind telling you there for a brief moment or two I had my doubts that any of us would be shooting any more skeet. As soon as I was able to uncover my face so I could see with at least one eye I was again blinded by all the irritating dust cloud that was swirling around inside the cockpit. It’s always the unexpected that can get you in trouble isn’t it?
A few years later while at dinner during another international competition in Bern Switzerland Eva began telling everyone about the exciting ride Gary had taken her on is his “old car”. Funny but back then hearing someone call my car “old” seemed humiliating but today I consider it a compliment. The bottom line is, if you want to impress the gals with your car, never let them roll down the windows.