Posted by: johnhourihan | January 16, 2014

Deja vu and the Miscoe drag strip

Who says you can’t go back?
Lorenzo owned a 1950, drop-top, black primed Ford. What was under the hood wasn’t clear, but when he revved the engine and popped the clutch the back tires spun like they were on ice. This Detroit monster was fast.
Dicky Deloia owned a 58 everyone called the Mexican Ford. It was deep coral black with extended headlights and tail lights. It was nosed and decked and sported a continental kit holding a wire wheeled custom replacement. It had a big mill that was etched in chrome, but the perfectly beautiful custom machine was heavy with bondo, and the fact that it too was a convertible made it that much heavier.
We all knew the cars They were part of our adolescence. They were the wonder horses of the screen at the Ideal Theater, brought to life on the back roads of Northbridge, Massachusetts.
By the time they raced each other they were owned by different people and had been forgotten like yesterday’s studs put to pasture, and the roads were being burned up by Chucky Roy’s ram charger and Carl Eden’s 427 Chevelle.
Screw had bought Lorenzo’s 50 and Arty had scooped up the Mexican Ford.
My ‘62 Olds was probably faster than either by the time of this race, but in their day they had the respect of both the leaders and the followers who lined the quarter mile up on Miscoe Road with their girl friends for the squeal of tires, the roar of engines and smell of burnt rubber.
Today it was an afternoon. There were only a few of us at the strip of fairly straight, fairly flat asphalt. Screw was lined up on the left and Arty was forcing short bursts through glass packed mufflers on the right.
Peter T, Mike Norton and myself walked up to the bridge about an eighth of a mile though the quarter mile. We sat on the railing, lit cigarettes and each popped a beer.
There were no other cars visible at the stating line, just the two elders of this strip of road, the background of green trees and the entryway to Chicky‘s junkyard.
“I wonder how many times those two cars have run this race?” I asked.
We wondered and waited.
A T-shirt waved up in the air and then down and the two cars jumped. The flat black monster took the lead in first, then almost in unison both drivers hit second with a short chirp of rubber on the hot summer pavement.
I felt as if we were sitting in the middle of “Thunder Road,.”
“Damn that’s beautiful,” Norton said.
The two were almost on us as they released into third.
The wind from the racers blew our hair as they passed. I could see nothing but these two beautiful warriors fighting it out without even being driven by their true owners.
I don’t remember who won. If I did I wouldn’t tell you.
That wasn’t the point.
The point was I learned that day in 1964 or 65 that the beauty of the past is just a thought away.
I’ll never forget that race – the sunshine, the wind, the blue sky, green trees, the screech and roar of Lorenzo’s 50 and the flash and glint of Deloia’s Mexican Ford.
Who says you can’t go back?



  1. I use to go back, but every day relived end in thunder and lightening.

    • very very frightening


  2. Nice…

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