I don’t know about you, readers, but growing up there was that daydream that perpetually plagued me: in what most adults would call “a momentary lapse in good judgement”, I would snipe the keys to whatever was the hottest thing in the driveway and run as if I had just knocked over a convenience store. Foot to the floor, powersliding everywhere, with a soundtrack that sounded like the perfect 1970s movie car chase. Scratch that…early 1970s car chase. “White Lightning”, “Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry”, “Two-Lane Blacktop” kind of V8 screaming that would end the moment reality caught up with me, the fuel ran out, and my account of luck became overdrawn. Would the police drama or the sure-fire ass-kicking have been worth it? Eh, better to not ask me. I got a taste of temptation a couple of times when was authorized to have a small bit of supervised fun. Even now, twenty years on, I think I should have gone for the gold and ran until the motor in the a certain black Chevy blew up. Or, after my hooning incident with my dad’s Grand Prix, maybe not. He didn’t kick my ass, but there was no doubt he was weighing some pros and cons of his own.
Scotty is in a slightly different situation. This Valiant ute belonged to his father, and he left it to him when he passed on. Scotty’s been busy whipping up a streetable 318 to make the little pickup a bit more lively and recently took it to the Mopar Nationals at Heathcote Raceway in Victoria, Australia for a solid day of drag racing. Note that we didn’t say “tuning”, or “testing”, or anything like that. Nah, this is more of a “let’s see what it’ll do” kind of day, a day that was supposed to be mellow…right up until Scotty’s luck started to get good. A heated 318 in what is essentially a Dart makes for a good time, but when a built-to-kill Chrysler hardtop and a Jeep Trackhawk fall victim to bracket racing against a worn, patina’d Valiant, that’s a great day. Sounds like ol’ Dad approves of the work!
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