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with big block cars. If I went the mod-

ified route, I’d be racing against 10-

second Volkswagens. I guess I didn’t

understand that you had to “cross the

palm” of the guy at the gate – the guy

with the white shoe polish. I finally

“retired” from racing when a girl in a

383 Road Runner kept beating me. I

could beat anyone off the line, but the

car would run out of steam halfway

down the track – right in front of the

grandstands – as the Road Runner

girl passed me. The announcer

laughed into the loudspeaker, saying

something about the “Little Engine

That Couldn’t.”

In 1970, the “U” in Miami was our

new home. The Shelby became the fa-

vorite ride to the beach (after class, of

course) with surfboard racks on top. It

never bothered us that with only four

gears, it would be taching 3500 rpm @

65 mph. Who needs a radio when

you’ve got side pipes? Fuel economy

referred to the price of gas (35¢ a gal-

lon), not miles per gallon.

Bonnie and I were married in the

summer of 1973, back in Maryland.

We bought an El Camino to pull our

camper and to make the 1,100-mile

trip back to Miami. The Shelby was

semi-retired or, as they say, rode hard

and put away wet. It spent the next

couple of years in my parents’ drive-

way or alongside the barn on a friend’s

farm. We would start it and talk about

“old” times while sitting in it, but we

couldn’t drive it because the tags were

dead and we couldn’t afford the insur-

ance to get them renewed.


Fall 2016 29

When you own the same car almost forever, it plays a central role in your life. Or lives.

As Kevin and Bonnie moved through their lives 6S2186 was never very far away: the

prom in 1970 [

above left

], attending a friend’s wedding in November, 1971 [


] and at

the University of Miami in 1971 [



The inescapable before-and-after photos, thirty-two years apart.