The Hampton Hot Rod Jamboree
The Hampton Hot Rod Jamboree
Hot Rods and Racing Cars #11
Maria Braun wasn't a jealous girl. From a practical viewpoint there was no necessity for this state of affairs. First, she had been voted the prettiest senior at Hampton High School. Second, she had the boy she wanted, Douglas Kent, president of the Senior Class. But at this given moment she was in a teasing mood as she tossed back her blond hair.
"I really wonder who has the special spot in your heart? That hot rod of yours? Or myself? Suppose you had to save one of us? Who would it be?"
"Don't force an issue, my pet," snapped back Douglas Kent with mock seriousness in his voice. "If you compare details you will find both of you are almost evenly matched. Name of my Hot Rod is the Road Buster. Born a '32 Ford. I removed the original V8 klunker and installed a four barrel and transmission from a European Ford sports car. You'll find .040 oversize pistons, E8 European head, cast aluminum pan, twin Stromberg 97 carbs, and a high cam. Got an affection for that car. Name of my girl is Maria Braun. She was a '36 model but each year changed the chassis a bit, and now after 17 years she's still in good shape. Two blue headlights. Top upholstery is something between gold and light orange. Heart, lungs, and motor always working. Fuel capacity light. Got an affection for that gal."
Maria laughed as she looked at her boy friend and then at his car. "We have an appointment with Dr. Howard in his office. And you know our principal never likes to have anyone come even a teeny weeny second late. Maybe if we catch him in a good mood, you can tell him your brain storm about having a Hot Rod Jamboree. Who knows? In this day and age, a miracle can happen even in our school.
Dr. John R. Howard eyed carefully the members of the school council assembled in his office. That stern face of his was enough to freeze water into ice.
"You think he was born with that high collar on his neck?" Joe Simpson had once asked the gang. "Or did he lose a bet some thirty years ago and is wearing it as punishment?"
No matter what they thought of their principal, all the students were agreed about one thing. Mrs. Ruth Howard, his wife, was certainly a wonderful woman. And their three year old daughter, Susan, was adorable.
"I have before me a petition signed by the members of the school council," began the principal. "Permission is asked to run a Hot Rod Jamboree in June. Also permission is asked to convert the south field into a drag strip. Gentlemen, it is one of the essential attributes of a democracy that in order to act intelligently, we must have sound information. Exactly what would take place at this so-called Jamboree?"
"As secretary of our local Hot Rod Club," began Joe Simpson, "I can explain plans for the Jamboree. All Hot Rod cars will be on the field. Officer Frank Murphy of the Traffic Education Division of the State will be present. He will show how cars are inspected. Then give a short talk on safety. We shall have a tire changing contest for the girls. Then a trouble shooting contest for the boys. Prizes will be donated by the local merchants. All this is to take place in the morning. Then in the afternoon we go over to the drag strip for the rest of the show."
"I'll explain about that drag strip," continued Douglas Kent. "As president of our Hot Rod Club I have been in constant contact with other Hot Rod Clubs throughout the country. The drag race sport has been growing. Our national committee recommends that any strip under consideration be a minimum of six tenth a of a mile in length. A length of six tenth a of a mile should allow adequate stopping distance for the fastest cars on a quarter mile course. Spectators and their cars must be kept away from the starting area and as far away from the sides of the strip as practicable. Our national committee recommends a minimum distance of 150 feet. I have with me the plans for the layout of the drag racing course. All I need is your approval. The members of our Hot Rod Club will start working at once."
It was evident that the principal of Hampton High School was a bit uncomfortable. Maybe it was the high collar he wearing. Or maybe it was the sad fact that he had sort of lost contact with modern day youth and their activities. But being an educator he knew he had to do some checking up on what he had just heard. So he stalled for time with the time honored sentence.
"I shall give everything you said my full consideration and announce my decision shortly."
At the end of three weeks one thing became apparent to Douglas Kent as well as to the other members of the Hot Rod Club. Unless their principal gave them an affirmative answer within a few days they could never finish the drag strip in time.
"We all go up to Silver Lake Saturday morning," Maria Braun told the boys. "I just spoke to Officer Frank Murphy. He said it would be o.k. to use the Wiliton section of the old road for our speed tests. Both ends have been cut off from the main highway and we can use it on week ends as long as we notify him. He will be there to watch our trial runs."
It was a pleasant Saturday morning and all the cars were assembled at the southern end of the road. Officer Frank Murphy was checking on the hot rod just finished by Joe Simpson who was explaining its construction.
"I call her 'Twins." Sort of a combination hot rod and sports car. Started with a '39 Ford sedan I bought from my uncle. Dismantled it and used only the transmission and rear end. Then I added a '39 Dodge frame, front axle and spindles, springs, shocks and brakes. A '34 Ford driveshaft and housing were shortened 22 inches and hooked up to the '39 gearbox. This allowed the engine to be placed behind the front axle with an oil pan-to-ground clearance of four inches. For final details the engine is a '49 Ford, ported, relieved and bored to .030 over Mercury."
Suddenly a terrible cry of "Help" came from the beach at Silver Lake. Douglas Kent was sitting with Maria Braun in his "Road Buster." Within a minute his car shot off the road, went over the small hill that separated the road from the beach, and stopped. Douglas Kent and Maria Braun jumped out of the car and ran up to a screaming hysterical woman. She was none other than Mrs. Ruth Howard. She pointed to something black in the water.
"The car rolled down into the lake. Susan is inside."
Without hesitation, Douglas Kent dashed into the lake. He dove to the side of the car and spotted little Susan on the front seat. The windows were all shut and only a little water was trickling through. She waved a hand to him. He tried the door handle but it wouldn't budge. He had to work against time to save that little girl! He came up to the surface and landed on the beach.
"Quick," he shouted to the boys gathering around him. Get those chains. We have to hook our cars together and pull out Mrs. Howard's car. Susan is inside!"
They broke every speed record for efficiency. There was no panic. Douglas Kent took the chain and attached it to the car and the joint effort of the hot rods did the trick. Susan was none the worse for her experience. She enjoyed it so much that all she managed to say was just one short sentence.
"Do it again!"
The day for the great Hot Rod Jamboree had come. And it was a great success. Maria Braun had won the prize for changing a tire in the shortest time. And Douglas Kent got the trouble shooting prize. Officer Murphy gave a good talk on safety factors. Before they went over to the drag racing course, the principal made a short speech.
"I firmly believe that the Hot Rod movement is a good sound moral factor in helping our youth today. We should do everything in our power to encourage Hot Rod Clubs. And I even feel girls should join them. In fact I want you to meet the youngest hot rod driver in the country."
And suddenly a very small midget car appeared. It was driven by a little three year old girl wearing a crash helmet and a pair of goggles. People cheered as they realized the girl was little Susan Howard.
"You deserve a kiss for building that little car for Susan," remarked Maria. "And I won't even be jealous of her."
"What a man deserves, he should get," was the apt reply.
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