Racin’ Dad’s ‘59 Chevy

ScottBumgarner2009

Back in the early 1960s, my Dad and Mother purchased or traded for a 1959 family style Chevrolet from the local Chevrolet Company in Davis, Oklahoma where we lived. This car was a four-door, with a small 283 cubic inch engine, and an automatic transmission known as a Power Glide. The transmission gears included: Park, Neutral, Drive, Low, and Reverse, in that order.

 

When we purchased the car, it was only getting about eight miles to a gallon of gasoline. Dad knew a man from Dougherty who worked for the Chevy dealer in Davis who was purported to be the best carburetor man in southern Oklahoma. His name was Clyde Akers.

 

When Clyde was finished repairing the carburetor, Mother and I drove it to Joplin Missouri one summer and it got over twenty miles a gallon. Clyde was an excellent carburetor man.

In those days, I knew a young man, older than me, who drove a white 1957 Chevrolet that had power-pack heads with a four barrel carburetor, dual exhausts, and automatic, all housed in a four door hardtop body painted white. If I remember correctly, his name was Kenneth King.

Anyways, I was always a nut about hot rodding, and drag racing. I knew Dad’s ’59 had a lot of ‘getup and go’ for a car with only a two-barrel carburetor, and so Kenneth and I staged a little drag race out west of Davis where a quarter mile was laid off on US 7.

The road that turns south off US 7 was the starting point, and a quarter of a mile west, was an old tree that stood by an old road, that wasn’t used much, going north. This was the so-called finish line.

Kenneth pulled his ’57 up even with me in the ’59. We took off, and when we crossed the finish line, we were in a ‘dead heat’, so we kept the ‘pedal to the metal’ and when we started up the long hill which now crosses IH 35, Kenneth pulled in front of me by a car length, and said he was goin’ a hundred miles an hour when he finally pulled in front of me.

Like I said, the ole ’59 would really run even though it had a small V-8 and 2-Barrel Carb. I wanted so much to tell my Dad about the race, but, I didn’t dare. I was fourteen years of age, no drivers license, and I was supposed to be down at the hog pens feeding my red hog.

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