Prom was a very special thing growing up back in the '60s. If you didn't have a prom date you were nothing. If you didn't have a prom car you were a dork. I was that dork. I had one of the prettiest girls in the school, but had to share the ugliest car with my mother. It was a 1968 Delmont 88 in Canary Yellow with a White painted top. It came that way from GM. Some dummy executive ordered it that way and wanted to dump it as soon as he could as soon as he saw it. To top it off it had a baby puke-green interior. By far the world's worst date car, let alone a Prom car. My father drove Lincolns at that time. Not a cool Prom car either. That and the fact that I was never allowed to drive it, but that's another story.
This story is about the Prom car that I ended up with. A neighbor of my parents was the manager of a Dodge dealership. He needed to have a fence installed around his new pool and I needed a Prom car. All I asked for was a nice car. I completed my task in about three days. He was very happy. The day of the prom I still didn't know what he was bringing home, but he said it was something cool.
I got a call to come across the street to pick up the keys and saw a new Polara in his driveway. I wasn't happy, but I wasn't mad because it was miles better that the POS I had to drive. I walked into the driveway and said, "Nice car." He burst out laughing as he hit the garage remote in his pocket. My jaw dropped and I got a severe tingling in my nether parts.
It was a brand-new 1970 Dodge Challenger 440 RT 6-pack in Plumb Crazy with a white interior, top and stripe.
As he dangled the keys in front of me he said, "Two rules, no drag racing and no taking it out of state!" I was still speechless, so I just nodded my head as he gave me bad ideas.
My date, who is now my wife of 38 years, was, and is, a huge Mopar fan. In fact, the first time I got to see her bedroom I was expecting to see posters of movie and rock stars. No, she had blown up photos of mid-'60s Mopar hotrods that she had taken at Autorama in the '60s. I was stunned. I think it it was that moment that I fell out of lust and into love. OK, the lust was still there. The woman still has 30wt running through her veins.
OK, her reaction. Silence. That was unexpected. She was actually dumbstruck. I never honked the horn picking up a date, but this time I had to. I laid on it and I see the garage door open and her bruiser Puritan father exit with an evil look on his face. Honking for a date was considered very bad form. She however, opened the front door of the house and stood like a statue on the front porch, unable to move, or talk. As her father approached me I pointed to his daughter, and he stopped dead in his tracks. It was quite a sight to see.
Her sisters came running up to the car as my girlfriend screamed out, "Don't touch it!!!!!", and we all started laughing at the absurdity of the situation. Pops mellowed, as he was a Chrysler engineer at the time. Once everyone started breathing again all was right with the world. I think she and her family were as surprised as I was.
Now, this was early on Prom Saturday so I had all day to burn up some gas. I lived at the corner of 13 & Southfield, 2 miles from the famous Woodward Avenue. Remember, this was the heyday of the muscle car and I had an out of the box race car at my disposal. I picked up my tux and went cruising up and down woodward, stopping at Ted's, Maverick and the Totem Pole. The car drew a crowd everywhere I went. I was approached by a cop and asked for ID. Luckily the dealership manager gave me some documents that made him go away.
I went home after burning up a whole tank of gas and was confronted with angry 'rents. Couldn't figure out why, didn't care, didn't stick around long enough to listen. Something about telling them what my plans were, who I was going to be with, where I was going to sleep. Walked away, took a shower, went down stairs, told them that they were not entitled to that information as I was already 18 and if they didn't like it, I would just keep driving. That shut them up because they knew I was right.
I picked her up, sans honking this time. She was lovely. She had just had her hair done, Prom style, but insisted that I put the top down. We drove to the banquet facility and was waved into the absolute "A" parking spot. Sat in the car talking for about 15 minutes while our classmates walked in. By the time we got in we were surrounded with admirers. I thought it was pretty damn funny since I didn't own the car. Maybe that was my first taste of 15 minutes of fame, but I loved it.
We ate an institutional, but filling meal and then the mirrored ball came on and the band started playing. I hate dancing but I fulfilled the obligatory dance requirement. We went back to the table and I excused myself to go to the bathroom. When I didn't come back in 20 minutes she went looking for me. She asked some people if they had seen me. The banquet hall had 10 men's room, it was so large. She enlisted some help to check them all. I was nowhere to be found. She saw one of my friends and asked if he had seen me. He told her, "He's out on Telegraph Rd. drag-racing for $20 bills". Telegraph was the second hottest road in the Detroit area for Westsiders.
She walked out of the facility and found our "A" spot empty. As I returned after what I thought was maybe 10 minutes she was standing in the middle of the spot with her arms folded, Ice Queen style. She move out of my way and was about to chew me a new one when I said, "I won enough to cover the prom tickets so we have money to go to Cedar Point tomorrow!" That melted the chill. We went back to the dance and had a nice evening.
The next day we loaded up the car, disconnected the odometer and drove from Michigan to Ohio. Had a great time, got the worst wind burn of my life but generated some great memories.
Now that I had broken both of his rules I reconnected the speedo, washed all the freeway bugs off the grill and returned the car.
Now, I'm not advocating that kind of stupid behavior. Had something happened he would have had huge problems with his insurance company. He would have had had huge problems with the sate as it had a dealer plate. Had something really bad happened they would have gone after the dealer, the deep pockets. However, my penis was doing most of my thinking at 18, and that was really stupid.
Still have the girl. Wish I had the car.
What's your Prom car story?