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  • Writer's pictureJP EMERSON


Updated: Jun 12, 2020

I’ve had a love hate relationship with my now fifty year old muscle car for nearly my entire life. What was once considered merely transportation has progressed through an evolution that few of today’s machines will ever experience or even survive. For as much as I resisted, I must concede that many of today’s offerings would run doughnuts around my classic but unless you drive the original, you really just don’t get it.

There is no grabbing an electronic key and plopping down in your lumbar support driver seat with classic muscle. No push button starts, no paddle shifting, no rear view cameras. If you haven’t twisted a real key, sawed on a starter or felt the rumble of ignition on a cold morning you’re not a driver, you’re a commuter.

A classic muscle car takes more than just space in your garage, it takes root in your family. It bonds itself to every spare shirt that you own and immortalizes itself with every fluid drip on that new concrete. It proves that you can in fact dual purpose the family dishwasher as a parts washer and safely bake a holiday meal in the same oven as you baked that new paint in last weekend.

Classic muscle is fickle, it will laugh as you leave your garage bloody knuckled and gnashing your teeth in frustration over yet another minor repair that turned into a full weekend project. It will poke you and prod you annoyingly in ways today's versions haven’t even learned yet, always at the most inopportune times.

Rattles, smoke, whines, creaks, vapors, exhaust drone, buckboard comfort and never ending maintenance are constant companions of the muscle car rat pack. If you own one, you’re a member.

Ownership is like a speakeasy. Tucked neatly away on a damp, dark night with only the light of a single bulb overhead so as not to grab the attention of prying eyes. It’s lust and pride and at times a degree of self-worth. It’s history, legacy and preservation and foolishly we believe that us, not the car are in control.

And we like it that way.

There is absolutely nothing simple or easy about owning a classic muscle car. No quick trips to Home Depot, no drive thru’s, no gas-n-go type fill ups. It is impossible to go unnoticed and even harder to explain why you would rather drive with your windows down than your radio up.

It’s understanding that when you’re driving a classic car it has less to do with the destination, and everything to do with the journey. It’s chrome and paint and a healthy rumble. It’s thumbs up, stares and stories of the ones that got away, and ultimately at the end of the day it goes home with you, like the most popular girl in school who they all secretly desired but will never be with.

Like I said, we like it that way.

Our classic cars serve as a constant reminder, It’s not us, it’s them. Fewer, (if any) leggy blondes are snapping a pic of us and our flying south for the winter physique anymore but let me stand next to my classic muscle car oozing image, attitude and enough high octane fumes to choke every employee of the EPA and watch what happens.

You guessed it…I move out of the way so they can get a picture of the car. At least she asked nicely.

Just the way we like it.

Copyright © 2019 JP Emerson All Rights Reserved.


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