If you've been around car guys long enough, there's sure to be some bench racing and other tall tales that are bound to happen. You know them instantly, because they sound so ridiculous that you think, "That just can't be true!" Or is it?
The truth may not be known. The details may have been exaggerated. But they're still great stories nonetheless.
And that's why, just like any great story, they need to be retold and shared. They may not be from the likes of William Shakespeare, or Mark Twain, or Stephen King, but their storytellers are unpolished backyard talents - much like their marvelous mechanical abilities!
So look for them here. The names have been changed to protect the guilty. Whether they're true or not is up to you, but they still make for a great story!
Back in the 1960s, my father was a young art student who always seemed to have a black turtleneck, an old Harmony acoustic guitar, and a copy of Jack Kerouac's latest novel on him at all times. He was the epitome of the Beat generation, and loved and trusted a good number of people over the years, truly believing that there was good in everyone.
This belief stayed with him through the years, but during the 1960s, he often followed this rule of thumb while hitch hiking, which was still legal in those days.
One time, somewhere between Florida and Ohio, a large, burly man pulled up and offered him a ride. The man wore a work shirt, had greased-back hair, and mostly kept to himself the first 10 seconds or so. Then he put a large handgun to my father's head.
"You try anything - ANYTHING - and I'll f-ing kill you," he said to the skinny (and now scared) 20-year-old Beatnick kid sitting in the passenger seat.
My father quickly assured the man that, "it's cool, man. It's REAL cool," and the man slowly put the gun back under the seat, all the while giving my father the hairy eyeball.
After nervously choking down an unfiltered Camel cigarette, Dad asked the man about the episode. The man went on to explain that he'd been picking up hitch hikers for many years. One day, he picked up a young guy who pulled out a gun and attempted to rob the man. Thinking quickly, he decided to put the pedal to the floor.
"What the hell are you doing?" asked the robber.
"I got nothing to live for, so you either pull that trigger and kill me, or I'll roll this sumbitch car and kill BOTH of us!" This, of course, put the assailant into a nervous fit now that he no longer had the upper hand. But the driver knew better.
While speeding along the highway, their quick pace caught the attention of a passing police officer who started a pursuit. After a few miles, more officers joined in the chase. Once there was enough police personnel behind him, he slammed on the brakes and, in one fluid motion, opened the door and jumped on the ground.
"He's got a gun!!" he yelled to the officers. The police quickly apprehended the thief, and the man was sent on his way.
Unbelievably, his adventure didn't deter him from picking up hitch hikers - he just gave you fair warning upon entering his car. But maybe, like my father, he still believed that deep down inside, there was good in everyone.