Living The Dream Part III

I know, I know… it’s been a REALLY long time this time. My apologies. Back to the origin story:

Well, you know… I still had a brand new car, right? I mean beggars can’t be choosers, so I swallowed my pride and tried to put those GTAs that passed me out of my mind. I was finishing the day a lot better than I was starting it out, that was for sure. So at the end of the holiday break I took my Mustang GT and went back to college for my last semester…

And everything was OK for a while, it really was. I was the only person on campus who had a Fox-body GT Mustang, and the car was certainly a novelty among the student body: lots of looks, lots of waves, lots of thumbs ups, you name it. I had a lot of fun in town with the car; there were several in Russellville at that time, and everybody wanted to race you. The aftermarket at that time was non-existent for those cars because they were brand new, and there was always some punk kid who had to try and pull on you at a light or try to coax you into a speed race. I was always like “everybody’s got 225 hp, so you go ahead and blow your car up, buddy… don’t mind me”. Of course, I wasn’t above dispatching other cars that tried to best me. Hehe Back in those days the only thing that could best a 5.0 GT was a Corvette, and lots of times that was only if the Corvette had a good driver. I’m not ashamed to say I bested many a Camaro and Firebird in those days; they were easy pickings.

But every night when I laid down in my dorm room, that framed ad over the head of my bed still haunted me…

Finished college in May of 1988, and came back home ready to go into the job market and set the world on fire. I went on a lot of job interviews only to find that the coming computer revolution was going to render traditionally trained artists obsolete virtually overnight. But I still had a new car, right???? Lots of cruising and down time that summer amidst the many interviews and such and before I knew it, August was upon us. When I moved my stuff back from college, I had a huge 19” Magnavox TV that weighed something like two tons. For some reason that month, the picture decided to go out. We didn’t have a local repair place, so my Magnavox dealer gave me the name of a place in Sherwood, AR to take it to for repair. The set was gone for about 10 days when they called me back and told me it was ready for pickup.

I had taken the TV in the back of the Mustang for ease of loading and all (the hatchback) but for some reason still unknown to me to this day I decided to take the ‘81 T/A to pick it up. Got up early to make a quick trip about 75 miles to pick up my set, and arrived without incident at the TV shop. I went inside to pick up my set, waited maybe 10 minutes for them to collect it and bring it to the counter, paid my repair charges, and went outside with my TV to find my T/A fully engulfed in flames… I mean “flames out the turbo scoop” FULLY ENGULFED. As I was standing there in a daze, the shop owner came out and asked me if I would mind to get in and allow the car to roll back to get farther away from his shop… and like an idiot, I DID IT!

To this day I can still see that wall of flame through the windshield and what was really eerie was that all the lights on the dash came on and the radio started up when I turned the key to IGN… while the entire front of the car was in flames. Man, was I stupid or what? Anyway, the Sherwood fire department eventually came and wrenched the hood up and put the blaze out. I called my Dad and he called our insurance company; the decision was made to tow the car to what was then Sidney Moncrief Pontiac/GMC and await further instructions there. Well, the tow truck pulled it right into the service department, still smoking and steaming and everything! I was inconsolable, only semi-coherent, and naively thought the car could be repaired. The service manager put that idea to rest pretty quickly when he raised the mangled hood a crack and said ”son, this car ain’t ever getting repaired”. You can imagine my reaction… I don’t remember anything else until my parents arrived to collect me for the trip back home. Turned out to be one expensive TV repair, let me tell you… I drove away leaving a charred front clip… and a freshly waxed, show-ready rest of an ‘81 Turbo Trans Am. And it broke my heart.

Until the insurance paid off…