Tuesday, April 22, 2008

You “Showed Em' What You Got” Ms. Patrick!

Here She Comes...Here Comes Speed Racer...

We all have our little unspoken lusts around here. On of mine...is the need for speed. Fast cars. Auto racing. The sleek, low and long, blasting across the macadam. Roaring steel and spitting oil. There's the percussive “thoomp” of a car rushing by and the sucking “whoosh” of air as it fills the million points in time the vehicle has just passed through. I love the play of light along a well-sculpted fender, the almost feminine swell of a post “B-pillar” curve on a beautiful automobile. A seminal moment inmy life was on a school bus in 1970 as it pulled up to the tollbooth approach at the Triborough Bridge. We heard it before we saw it—a rumble that seemed to erupt from the road itself, and then becoming like unto the roar of an angry beast in a cage.

And then it appeared alongside us on the left, “grooving up slowly”. An impossibly long, orange 1969 Dodge Daytona Charger with the huge, Boeing-like 17-inch spoiler on the deck lid. 440 c.i. engine, 390 horesepower. It was like the coolest, big, orange plane ever built had landed next to us for a minute, and that school bus full of boys, norrmally so rowdy it hurt, fell silent in the majesty of the mighty car. I remember it like it was yesterday. The driver tossed his 35¢ toll into the basket, and then as if just for us—gunned the motor and peeled out in a cloud of bluish smoke onto the Bronx arm of the bridge's roadway span.

“Gr-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-o-o-o-o-o--a-a-a-r-r-r-r, A-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r, A-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r!”

Shimmied for a second and vooomp, it was gone.

I love fast cars and the people who drive 'em. My uncle had a tricked-out blue Olds 4-4-2 that I can still remember the sound of. I remember flying east on the Long Island Expressway with my dad one pre-dawn fishing morning, experiencing 100 m.p.h. speed for the first time in a monster 501 c.i. (8.3 Litres in modern-speak) Cadillac Eldorado he'd borrowed from a friend. It was a rush I'll never forget.

Like I said. I LOVE fast cars and the people who drive 'em..

Which is why Jesse's post below about the lovely and damned talented Ms. Danica Patrick's kicking ass at the Indy Japan 300 makes me wanna do the super-happy dance. I know it galls the hell out of all the narrow-minded Cooters and Bubbas out there that she housed, served and rocked all comers at that race. And anything that pisses off those guys while gettng my speed jones off is just double-good everythang. Cha-Cha Muldowney and Janet Guthrie laid the foundation. Danica's the modern edifice—lovely and sturdy and obviously kick-ass.

Which inspired me to post the following video:

Not only does the video for Jay-Z's blazin' triz-zack feature the victorious Ms. Patrick, but the title “Show Em' What You Got” perfectly sums up what took place there in Montegi. Plus...the music is so Goddamned hot, and the beat so propulsive that it's one of my absolute favorite pieces of “driving music”. I blasted this while roaring up the Pacific Coast Highway during the fall of '06 and whenever I can get on a stretch of open road where I can cut a car loose, I blast the living hell out of this jam. Loud, baby, loud.

So for you Ms. Patrick , congratulations! And keep on “showin' em what you got”!

P.S. Here are a few pics of cars I've snapped. The first ones are from a trip to L.A. and a stop at the Bob's Big Boy a stone's throw from George Barris' Kustom Shop on Riverside, and the last one is a shot from the Auto Show here in NY last month. Yes, that is the NEW Dodge Challenger—the throwback to the original super-Pony car beast of the early seventies. Just beautiful!