Quite a few people think racing drivers, and by assocciation, all involved are crazy. Now I don’t believe that but we sure had a tendancy to get up to no good. This especially held true if you got a bunch hanging around together with a little time on their hands.
The old late 60’s early 70’s enclave of race shops on Midwest and Midland in Scarborough had more than its share of nonsense. The Atlantic teams of the 70’s were nortorious for destroyed rental cars and other shennanigans. Alan de la Plante and I both have come to the conclusion many of those stories still cannot be published. Some milder ones may get told later. This pretty tame one took place at John Dobbins shop on Birch Ave in Toronto in the mid 60’s. Gary Magwood ran out of there and several other racer types were always around.
My tow car had been a 59 Dodge Mayfair 2 door with a 318. Huge trunk but not practical otherwise. I bought it cheap but had just replaced it with a 63 Dodge wagon.
Now nobody wanted the old monster. From the time I bought it the low oil pressure light would come on after about 10 miles when it got below 20 mph. The 30w50 oil was enhanced with a considerable amount of STP. A few calls to wreckers produced low offers and not one cared if it was running or not.
So one Sat. morning there were a bunch of bored racer types hanging out at Dobbins shop when somebody (probably Gary) came up with the bright idea of blowing up the old 318. Motion carried. So I got in and with it in Park just floored it. I don’t know if anybody else has tried that but as you sit there your mind invariably starts to consider just where flying pieces of exploding block might go. I lasted for about 2 or 3 minutes. Gary was the next one in and he didn’t last as long as I had. When you are sitting there listening to the motor scream it starts to prey on your mind. A few others tried but nodody lasted long as we all had time to consider things.
I think it was John Dobbins who suggested we remove the air cleaner. He was also smart enough to not get in the car!
So time to try again. By now we had attracted some spectators. Having recovered my nerve a bit I had another go. Not for long though. Everyone had had seconds thoughts but we were a determined bunch of screwballs. So a couple of concrete blocks were rounded up from somewhere and placed on the throttle.
We all stood well back and made sure the neighborhood kids did too. John wisely brought a couple of fire extinguishers out from the garage. We didn’t need the fire department or cops on our case.
So that old lump, which couldn’t keep any oil pressure just sat there howling away. We kept waiting as finally steam and then some smoke started to come from under the hood. By now nobody was going to go near it. Finally it just slowed down and seized! Wouldn’t blow and despite any oily engine compartment didn’t catch fire.
That old 318 was one tough engine!
That was our off season Saturday morning entertainment.
Mayfair photo courtesy of Allpar.com