Volume III, Issue 5, Page 16

3.91 Fun and Thinking Spring

Spring is sprung and everything is a riot of color. All the winter work on the ride is done and it’s time to play. I finally put the 3.91:1 gears in the Satellite. Talk about a wake up call. She’s a little animal now. The midrange is especially fun and she feels like she’s almost hazing ‘em on downshifts at 55mph.  Power sliding corners is a breeze and the acceleration is nearly frightening. Almost, I said. In truth it’s a blast. I was getting bored with the old girl and now it’s like a carnival ride again. As it should be. It feels good to be getting back into driving. I even started thinking about Wednesday nights at Sears Point for the first time in a while.

Sure, there are the typical downsides. Fast lane at 75 mph is 4 grand and premium here in the Bay Area is well over $4 a gallon. OUCH! Oh it does hurt, and as usual Chevron is posting record profits. The pain goes away when I’m slamming into second on some open road with two long black lines in the rearview. Can’t look back there for too long, though, cause the revs come up a hell of a lot quicker now and it’s time to punch the Torqueflite into third. Ah, four and five speed dreams are getting much sharper and clearer now.  Especially since romping her so hard is taking its toll on the salvaged  tranny that has been bravely putting up with my abuse.  Some mush is creeping into the shifts and we all know what that means.

It means money! That’s what it means. The money is just the crappy part. The work itself will be a rejuvenator. A good final clean up, some tool organization and it’s on with the latex gloves. (Yeah, I know it ain’t pure.) Gleefully cursing rusty bolts and stripped threads. Cigarettes piling up in the burned hemi piston and the cat sauntering through the mess and giving me a quick sniff while I lie on the creeper. Sliding around on greasy parts, out with the old and in with the new, or used at least. But clean and in working order! Getting dirty and cut up, ZZ Top on the basement garage boom box and cold beer in the old Thermos cooler by the back door. I can practically smell a steak cooking out in the old rusty barrel BBQ in the back yard. A real friggin’ weekend. Damn, I hope it happens soon.

Well, if things don’t pick up soon here in the good ‘ol US of A then that fantasy weekend in the basement garage is going to have to wait. There’s the rub. Excuse me for one minute but what in hell is going on here? I’m gonna start using dollar bills for wallpaper soon, maybe kindling for the campfire while I cook some hobo stew. And meanwhile back at the ranch, past the tight security, there’s a party going on. I’m walking over near dead junkies, driving by families living in a van and still I see more Maseratis and Bentleys every day. Just the other night the street was filled on a Wednesday at 3 a.m. (don’t ask) with the beautiful people climbing drunkenly out of their Cayennes and BMW M5’s to go to an “underground” party. I guess I’m just missing the whole point of life here. Me? I’m just hoi polloi.

Well, now what’s it gonna be? Five speed, yeah that sounds good. A decent used Torqueflite just might have to do. That would be fine too. Pop in some new seals, block the accumulator, wind out the throttle pressure a bit, new fluid, new filter and away we go. BANG! Goes the shift. CHIRRPPP! Go the tires and there goes another twenty bucks into the tank, and fifteen minutes later its over. It used to be a 60-minute thing with the old girl but with the price of gas and the economy, the good times are down to 15 maybe 30 minutes. The good times might be a little fewer and further between but at least we still got ‘em.