When the group of neighborhood guys I grew up with, was in fact trying to grow up, we all had a fascination with “muscle cars”. We all fancied ourselves as experts on speed while driving ’54 Chevys and ’53 Fords and whatnot. The older generations, guys three and four years older, drove ’58 Chevys and ’59 Chevys and we heard about the tales of the ‘marked’ off quarter mile part of US Hwy 7 about three miles west of Davis, Oklahoma.
That is where all of the challenge drag races were carried out. The Dairy Queen was located on the western edge of Davis where Hwys 77 and 7 converged, and this was where everyone hung out. If two guys decided they wanted to race each other word would spread in a New York minute, and it would look like a funeral procession at high speed trying to get out to the ‘drag strip’ for the nights main entertainment.
This happened many times on Saturday nights in the ’50s. Later, when I started driving, I had a few races myself out there.
One particular Friday in the Springtime of 1965, a guy, who drove a 1964 Ford loaded with a 406 cubic engine stopped at the Dairy Queen one night, and some of us guys told this fellow that we would count it as an adventure of a lifetime to get to take a high speed ride in that big ole Ford.
He said ‘hop in’ and so about four of us did just that. Back then IH 35 was non existent. He drove us out to the other side of the river bottom up on the hill where IH 35 now crosses under this hill where a cut was made through and an overpass was built.
It was about one o’clock in the morning, moon was out, no other cars on the highway. He stopped at the top of the hill after turning around headed back east toward Davis. The river bottom is fairly straight for about three miles before any curves come into play.
He took off, not spinning the tires, and went through the four speed transmission fairly easily. At 120 miles an hour, the tachometer was sitting on 5000 rpms’ and the speedometer needle went out of sight. I watched the tach then go to 7000 rpms’ before he let up on the gas, and we were still quite a ways from the curves. That remains to be probably the fastest I have ever ridden in a car.
A few years later in Plano, Texas I had the opportunity to drive a 1967 Camaro loaded with a 427 cubic inch engine and 425 horsepower. I drove this car for about 15 minutes and scared myself quickly enough to know I would not ever attempt to drive another one as powerful as that.