Boogey Nights

Oakover Show 2014 37

Don’t ask. I have no idea. The title just popped into my head when I saw the Dodge in the photographs and it won’t go away.

Heaven knows I like Dodge cars, and I have a clear enough memory of a 1966 Dodge that my Father owned to be reasonably unbiased. It was a beige salesman’s special he picked up in Nelson, British Columbia as the model year ended. Salesman’s Special is the industry code for unsalable vehicle -something that is either going to have to be discounted heavily or burnt to the axles on the lot. In the case of the Beige Bomb, it was sold cheap but proved to be reliable transport in spite of the tacky trim and sad interior.

I hope I am not condemning the Dodge you see here to the same judgement. It was presented at Oakover Winery earlier in the year. A free show so I must not complain.

Oakover Show 2014 40

I am taken by the side trim – the shape of it and the colour of it is pure 1960’s. It says domestic racer far better than any bonnet stripe. Purists may quail at the fact that the interior seems to be from the brown side of the palette but look at the magnificent state of preservation of that vinyl! You could fit two girls and a basket of fried chicken on that front seat…if you were lucky…and even if the chicken was greasy the upholstery would not be ruined.

Oakover Show 2014 39

The steering wheel is a little daunting, but then most of them were at the time. Detroit had gone through a phase of making the wheels and center columns increasingly space-age until in some cars you were in danger of impalement even when parked. particularly if you had finished the chicken and were starting on the girls. Horror stories of crash victims lead to redesign but sometimes they were spindly things. No wonder we all covered them with leather-binding kits or fuzzy sheepskins as soon as we could. The rest of the dash is rather plain for today’s tastes, but you have to remember that there were no air bags to be accommodated in those days. You either wore a seatbelt or the edge of the dashboard in the teeth. They were honest times.

Oakover Show 2014 38

That’s not really a large engine in there by US standards but it would have been big for Australia. You might also recall that the Superstock Dodge of the day was one of the original muscle cars and required as much suspension as you could afford to tame the torque. I can admit I wracked the Beige Bomb as hard as I could on some of the B.C. back roads but it is hard to sustain the impression in your own mind of the Daytona Speedway when you are doing it with a three-speed column shift.

And no fried chicken.

 

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