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When I got out of the Marines, I found out everybody started selling their cars because of the gas prices during the oil crisis.
These things only got eight or five miles to a gallon. I only drove this a couple of years, but it was too much of my life to sell it. So, I parked it for about 35 years and only got it out around three years ago.
This car was $2,800 brand new. I was 17 when I went to the Northland Chrysler Plymouth dealer and bought it.
It had a lot of racing scars I had to clean up when I took it out. I did some major drag racing around Detroit at the Detroit Dragway, Milan Dragway and Motorcity Dragway.
When I lived in Detroit, it was nuts down there. I lived around Telegraph and Ford Road. All along Telegraph, there would be drive-in restaurants with 50 to 60 cars wanting to race and we would.
Later, we’d go on to I-696 with around 50 cars late at night. All the cars would stop traffic on the freeway in every lane to race. We would do about five races and by the time the police got there, we were gone.
The detail I enjoy the most is its big V8 with dual carburetors. This is my artwork. I basically took the whole thing apart, made it a bigger engine with more cubic inches putting in twice the fuel.
Today, when people talk about Chrysler it is all about the Hemi. But this is a special engine Chrysler used from around 1960 to 1965. In the ‘50s, they had a small group of crazy people like me who wanted to go fast and Chrysler turned them loose. This engine was called the Maximum Performance Wedge, and this car was the end of the Wedge.
They only made a few thousand of these. I have not seen another one like this in 10 years.
My second wife was not part of the scene when we went to a cruise a few years ago. The first year of the cruise, you could pull whole hot shots down there, but now they give you a $500 ticket for squealing the tires.
I came up to a light and there had to be more than a 100 people yelling at me to light up the tires. I let it have it, the car didn’t move and all the smoke started coming up.
My wife said “Tony, I’ve never seen this side of you before.”
We were down there all night going nuts until I finally got pulled over at 5 a.m. The cop said, “Sir, don’t you think it is time to take this thing home?” I said “Yeah, I probably should.”
(This interview was edited and condensed by Dennis Burck. If you have a recommendation for “Favorite Things,” please email email@example.com.)