Mixsonian Larry


I continued to make improvements to my Camaro, changing the two barrel carburetor out for a four barrel carburetor which required changing the intake manifold to match the four barrel carburetor.  Bill got me the parts starting with a used cast iron intake manifold for $10. I was ok with that and then got me a used Rochester Quadrajet four barrel carburetor for $20.  While a big improvement of the two barrel carb my Camaro came with, Bill did one better for his Mustang’s engine adding a newer lighter, aluminum Edelbrock manifold with Holley 750 CFM carburetor.   One last improvement was removing the smog pump.  It seemed my Camaro came from California which had stricter emissions for cars, so it came equipped with a compressor that injected air into the exhaust manifold to reduce emissions. The pump connected to engine looking like a second alternator with octopus like tubes running to each exhaust port.  With the improvements it probably added 50 horsepower to the stock 275 hp engine.   Even so with the improvements to Bill’s smaller 289 V8 engine, our cars were pretty well matched. 

There was one time it came to a test, or I should say chase.  I don’t remember what sparked it, but for some reason Bill set off in his Mustang with a challenge for me to follow him in my Camaro. It was a late Saturday afternoon and we set off from somewhere with me following him going west on University with me staying right on his bumper going a bit too fast as we raced down Gator Hill where I raced my soapbox derby, then  having to come to a quick stop as we approached a red light at Northwest 34th Street intersection.  Bill stops at the light, I stop behind him, our engines roaring, well mine roared, the smaller 289 screamed, as we waited like at the dragstrip for the light to turn green.  The instant light turned green, Bill roars ahead with me a second behind but his Mustang was quicker off the line, and he gained on me.  We roared past 36th street, 36th Terrace, then past 36th Drive that I grew up on.  A couple of blocks later Bill suddenly takes the smaller left branch of University Avenue instead of staying on the main road that turns into Newberry Road.  Bill was now fifty yards in front of me, but I was gaining as we roared down the road.  Now I knew that University Avenue came to an end in a few blocks with the only option being a right hand turn onto to 47th way so I knew I would catch him when he slowed down to make the turn.  I mash on the accelerator, and I go into a spin doing a full 180 degrees facing the opposite direction, shaken but not stirred, I whip my Camaro around just I see Bill turning right.  I get there a second later and see that he had turned into the Westside Church parking lot.  Now I knew I had him. Having gone to Westside Church for the past ten years I knew there was the main parking lot that you could only enter from the Newberry Road, while there was a smaller parking lot on the back side, there was no connecting road between them.  I turn into the parking lot expecting to see Bill stopped there but I found him weaving between the pine trees going thirty miles an hour, pine needles flying up behind him as he raced across the front yard of the church and into the parking lot on the other side.  I pause, deciding if I should follow him or not, then deciding to do so but at a slower pace when see him reach the main road and turn.  By the time I got there, stopped and looked he was gone.  Bill had won.

Bill had built his Mustang’s 289 V8 engine well, allowing it to do well over the engine’s original 6,000 RPM redline.  I remember riding with him when he would push it close to 7,000 RPM until one night he pushed it too far.  I was at our apartment the night when he called asking me if I could come tow his Mustang home.  I asked him what happened, he said that he blew up his engine and was stuck on the side of the road out 39th avenue by route 234.  Bill later told me that he had broken up with the girl that had been seeing that lived in Windsor .  I drove out to where he was, Bill was quiet and upset, although he was more upset about blowing up his engine than the girl.  I help him connect a rope to the front of his car and the back of mine and towed him back to our apartment. 

Updated: 12-08-2022

To The Moon