Jer, Bear, And A Couple Of Longhairs.

CarMichael Angelo

clearly, I’ve got something going on in that hole
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Jerry was one of those guys we all see somewhere. Whether at a track, or a rock concert, Jerry was your token, typical stoner. When ever you spoke w/ him, words always came out of his mouth attached to a slowly nodding, tilted head. The typical “yeah,..I’m stoned, feeling mellow, and want you to know how laid back I am” tilt of the head that comes with the territory.

I met Jerry at the local hangout on Dodge street in Omaha, Nebraska on a Friday evening in the early summer of 1978. Jerry had a 1966 Chevelle, and he approached me looking for a race. He introduced himself as Jerry, but preferred the shorter version “Jer”. He said “You can call me Jer” smiling and nodding his tilted head. I assumed that he preferred it because it took less effort on his part to say it giving his constantly altered state of mind.

I asked Jer what he had, and he told me that he had a 66 Chevelle w/ a lil’ 327/ 4 speed. ** Note: I always find it amusing when talking to a Chevy guy, because the car’s engine size is always preceded by the words “just a lil”, regardless of it’s size. (I.e. it’s just a lil 327, it’s just a lil 383, It’s just a lil 454) engines were always small to a chevy guy.

When I went over to the Chevelle to check it out, I was rudely greeted by a growling, gnashing junk yard dog chained to Jer’s car. I said “S hit! Where the hell did that dog come from?” Jer says “That’s my dog man,….he goes where I go,…his name’s Bear”
“Well, “Bear” almost took my leg off, why didn’t you tell me there was a mad dog chained to your car”?? Jer found that amusing,…and in a really wide smile he says, “Yeah,.. Bear don’t like people f ucking w/ my car”

Bear looked like he smelled bad, Imagine him as you will, he was a big hairy dog that looked to be the product of some sort of mix breed that had all of the mean dog breeds blended into one. When Jer was standing there in close proximity, Bear would allow someone to inspect the car.

Your typical big assed 66 Chevelle HT. Jer’s version was a little worse for the wear. The front bumper was missing altogether, and the rear quarters were all scratched from the chain that the dog was tied to. The interior was covered in hair, and the seats and the white shifter ball had obvious signs of being confused with a rolling chew toys. There was nose slobber stains on every piece of glass. The engine was a small block, but as all SBC’s look the same, who knew how big the engine really was. The car was a faded red hard top and was ran on the street on drag slicks as was the custom for that year, for all of us. When he came up the street, before pulling in, his speed exhibitions also revealed that the car had either worn out front shocks, or none at all.

I had a 1969 mach 1. The cosmetic opposite of Jers car. W/ a freshly painted Base/clear Copper and white two tone covered in a gold pearl. If you followed any of the other stories that revolve around the car, you’d know this, but for the sake of the uninitiated, the stats are as follows: 351 Windsor, w/ stock ported iron heads. A big Crane flat tappet cam, A Shelby dual plane intake manifold w/ a 750 CFM DP sitting on top. The car had an FMX auto trans, w/ a 3500 stall converter, and a Detroit locker 9” rear, sporting 5.43 rear end gears. The car had been to the track a couple of times, and being grossly over geared, and severely choked by a stock head, it ran out of motor pretty much at half track. BUT, it had 11.5 x 28.5 Firestone drag slicks, and would hook in sand. The 5.43’s ensured that the car left like a rocket, ( or at least looked like it did) but at the 660’ mark, fell on it’s face so dramatically, that you could read a book waiting for the rest of the ¼ to pass by after that. Best e.t. back then for me was a 13.20, at some miserable MPH I cant remember.

A race was arranged between me and Jer, and after piling Bear into the passenger seat, off we went. I lost to Jer that evening, but not by much. The races between him and I became a tradition almost every Friday night. Depending on whether or not we had other “engagements”, the fall back would end up with him and I going at it. One week end we raced for money, the next time it was just because. Strangely enough, every time we raced for money, I got beat. Every time it was just for s hits and grins,.I’d win. I know I was suckered in each time, but there was always my secret little tweak or tune that had been performed during the week before that kept me believing that this would be the time I could beat him and start making my money back. It used to really piss me off that this pile of crap was beating me regularly, as our pre race prep usually involved me opening the headers, and jer had the valve covers off, beating (w/ a bal peen hammer) his non-pinned rocker arm studs back into his heads. I was doing every thing I could do to get over on hime, and he was beating me w/ stock, non- race junk. The only good thing that did come from him being in front of me when I’d get beat ,was being able to get the occasional glimpse of his big assed hairy dog getting slammed around in the car as Jer grabbed the next gear.

On one of our typical Friday night fights, when all was said and done, and we had raced everybody that was there to race, the cars went their respective ways. A lot of times, we’d come back to the hang out in a 4 door something or other and wind the evening down until we decided to go get breakfast or donuts, or whatever else to end that Friday night.

The weirdest part of that whole summer was my nickname. I wasn’t known by my name, but was referred to by the car’s name that was splashed across each door instead. I was known simply as Thundercolt. With the exception of my immediate friends, everytime somebody wanted my attention, it was “hey Thundercolt”.

This particular evening the racing was over. We were sitting in a couple of cars in the back of the lot as the crowd had dwindled down to a last few stragglers. There was a truck load of long hairs shooting the sh it, drinking beer, and discussing that evening’s race match up which as usual was between me and Jer.

I started paying attention to these guys after I heard my nickname get dropped, I hushed the rest of my car load so we could listen in:
Longhair dude #1 “ Man,…did you check out Jer’s car when he raced Thundercolt tonight..man, he pulled the freakin wheels!” (which he did all the time, the car had no front shocks after all.)
Longhair dude #2 “ Yeah man, but Thundercolt had him off the line, that car don’t no waste time pulling the wheels man,…it just sh its and gits.”

Now by this time we were laughing loud enough that the long hairs started paying attention to us….. LH#1 says “what’s your problem man”? looking directly at me. I said back to him “ You think Thundercolt’s car is fast man”? He replies “Faster than that piece of sh it Caprice you got”. I said back “I ain’t talkin’ about this Caprice, but I have something that’ll beat that ass” I add.“Oh what you got, bad ass “? LH#1 says, now walking towards me. “A Mustang, I replied, a brown and white mustang”. Now LH#1 is looking me straight in the face of the back window I was sitting at. “How comes I’ve never seen your bad assed brown and white Mustang before mouth?” “You just haven’t been paying attention.” I said back to him. “Well I’m paying attention Now! And I’ll be sure that Thundercolt knows you been shooting your mouth off next time I see him.” LH1 says. “So you speak for Thundercolt”? I asked. “I’m speaking for him tonight man, and I see him every Friday night, so I’ll be sure he knows you’re looking for him“.
I have to punch my friend in the leg, because he is laughing too hard, and I don’t want him to ruin it for me. “ Friday night,….you can tell him for me, I’ll be looking for him” I said . “Count on it.” LH#1 says as he walks away.
That next Friday night I pull in, and I see the pick up w/ my “Long haired agent” sitting in the bed. As soon as he sees the car, he leaps out of the truck bed and heads straight for me. He gets close enough to recognize me, and you can see his face cloud up w/ confusion.
“Hey…….man that was you!” LH#1 says. I said “Yeah man, I told you that you just weren’t paying attention.” looking out my window smiling at him. “That was cold man” he said, finally giving in to the fact that he’d been punked. “Don’t take it too bad man,..everybody knows me by the car,…take away the car, and I blend right into the crowd.” I reassured him. He walked back to his car, probably more pissed that he didn’t get to be my pimp instead of getting busted for not recognizing me.

Late that summer I traded that car in for a new 1978 Trans AM. Although It was “new” it had 6,000 miles on it. So I actually bought a used new car. I hated it almost immediately, and was fortunate enough that I knew the guys that owned the lot I bought the T/A from, and they had tried, but didn’t sell my mustang. I was able to trade back for it almost straight back. It did however end up costing me 800.00 to get the car back. The 3 weeks that Thundercolt sat on the ramps at that car lot had every kid that had ever drooled over that car trying to buy it, but back in the day,…3800.00 was premium money for a 1969 mach 1 w/ an obnoxious two tone w/ rainbow effect “prism tape” letters spelling the word ThundercolT across the doors.

When I got it back, it all started again. On more than one occasion, I had some guy pull up to me and tell me he knew the guy that used to own the car. ( to which I just nodded and smiled). One guy was floored when he discovered that I “bought” the car for 800.00 when, he had tried, ( and failed) to buy it for 3800.00.

I drove it for another 3 months before selling it again, this time to a kid that didn’t know what an allen wrench was. It ended up getting badly rearended on his watch, and sat disabled in a field before I approached the kid and negotiated a buy back.

I was the second, forth, and sixth owner of that car.
 
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CarMichael Angelo

clearly, I’ve got something going on in that hole
15 Year Member
Nov 29, 1999
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Great story... So did you ever figure out what Jer had and how he kept beating you?

He kept beating me because he had a faster car. Knowing what I know now, I probably should've changed out the gear set down to a 4.56, the car would've probably pulled its way down the second half of the 1/4, as opposed to nosing over and just make noise. But I was making 3.25 an hour, back then, it was all I could do just to be able to eat 3 meals a day.
 

CarMichael Angelo

clearly, I’ve got something going on in that hole
15 Year Member
Nov 29, 1999
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Birmingham, al
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95BlueStallion.

Rebuilt the 351, bumped the cam to the next level. Payed my machinist to do a mild exhaust port, and dropped the gear down to a 4.30, and painted the car a candy black cherry, Or Dr. pepper depending on how you look at it. Like a late 60's Camaro, I shaved/removed the front bumper, and filled the lower valance. The 11.5" slicks were long gone when I had to make it street legal to sell it to the kid that had it last, so when I got it back, I put some Firestone 7.0 x 29.5 x 15 cheater slicks on it.

When I say it was scary to drive, I mean it was SCARY to drive it in the top of high gear in the 1/4.
w/ those skinny, tall assed slicks, It was moving soo bad side to side,..I had to actually move the steering wheel to keep it going straight.:eek:

BUT,....It still wouldn't fall out of a tree.

I think it went 13.20's at Thunder Valley SD in this iteration. (picked up 5/10 from the previous config, probably because I got rid of the 5.43 rear gears)
 

CarMichael Angelo

clearly, I’ve got something going on in that hole
15 Year Member
Nov 29, 1999
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Birmingham, al
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I wonder what you current car can do in the quarter? Have you taken it to the strip yet?
No, but I'd bet that it would run on par w/ the old one. After having the slew of cars since that one,....and since the the early 90's, haven't had a car I've modified go slower than that, I gotta say that my "seatofthepantcellerator" has determined that it should run in the low 13's .

Street tires are a HUGE limiting factor for me, as I cannot "pedal" a traction limited car off the line. I just rev the engine to 3000-3500,...sidestep the clutch, and bury my right foot while I drift slightly sideways through 2nd gear,...just boiling the p iss outta those Nittos.
:burnout:
See this little slow-assed dude? There is no pause between the blackmarks between 1st and second on my car.
 

CarMichael Angelo

clearly, I’ve got something going on in that hole
15 Year Member
Nov 29, 1999
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Birmingham, al
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Any more plans for the weber carbs? I think more unique touches such as that will keep putting your car further in the bad assed, one of a kind category. Plus, I miss your build thread.

Yes, but first I have to try and sell it one more time. I have registered (and payed) to enter it in an upcoming Muscle Car Auction in Nashville this Saturday.

Reality is setting in, and I have set a 15k reserve. If it gets any where close (read w/i $1,000.00) of that reserve, It will be sold.

I have had it on ebay, and it manages to get to 11k, so I think that in a live auction where people are able to see it, it'll sell for my reserve. If it don't, it comes back w/ me, goes to the last 3 days of Mustang week in Myrtle Beach, and will start getting looked at for the Webers as we go into fall. I spoke w/ Empi, ( a Weber look-a-like) and they'll be offering their version of a 48 IDA w/ a better idle circuit in the 4th quarter of this year,
48IDA1.jpg

If/when things get better, now that I have a real job, (and if it's still down there) I'll start listening to the voice that is in the garage, begging me to pay attention to it again.