M is for Monte Carlo

MI CAN’T DRIVE 55 – A Love Affair with My Monte Carlo©

My first car: a ’71 Monte Carlo. A 350 4-barrel dual exhaust blue beauty that could do zero to sixty in 4.9 seconds. Always washed and waxed, the wheels shined and the black hard-top glistened. The neighborhood cop dubbed me “the Blue Streak.” He told me once that he could always hear me coming (who couldn’t?) but just as he’d look up, he’d catch only a glimpse of sky-blue as I sped past and never quite managed to stop for the stop sign at the end of his street.

1971 Monte Carlo120-watt Jensen speakers blasted shades of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult. Iconic tunes blended with the haze of purple microdot, orange sunshine or the rainbow-color blotter of the day, accented of course by the sweet aroma of Colombian Gold.

rolling papers - E-Z Wider 1-1/2

A pack of EZ Widers rolling papers was always strategically wedged under the 8-track cartridge. It was the burnouts’ solution to control the ‘waah-waah’ drag of overplayed warped tape.

 

Nestled in the crook of the ashtray would be my favorite head-shop find: the Jimmy Carter roach clip. Our political declarations – or lack of them – spoke volumes as we passed around “Mr. Jimmy,” as he fondly became known… that presidential roach clip with a handily crafted resin peanut on the end, and liberally carved into it those famous Jimmy Carter lips and toothy grin.

With carefree spirits we’d cruise to various neighborhoods, making the rounds to support our friends and their garage bands.

We’d bar-hop nightly, jumping across county lines to catch the latest last-call. And we’d always make a final stop for breakfast at Sambo’s or Denny’s before rolling home at dawn.

The summer days were spent moving from party to party at Oppenheim Park: sitting atop weathered picnic tables, passing joints and vintage Power Hittersharing bottles of Mad Dog 20/20 MD 20/20 Pure Grape Wine  (how  ever did we drink that stuff??) while cases of Labatt’s Blue and six-packs of Miller ponies sat icing in the back of someone’s van.

We’d pass the cold months sitting parked in some dark lot, bundled up and huddled, with the Chevy’s heat blasting to assuage the bitter sub-zero temperatures of Buffalo winters. We’d trip and we’d smoke and we’d drink while we laughed and played and flirted and philosophized, listening to tracks of The Guess Who, Van Halen, AC/DC and Aerosmith.

And on those rare days when I wanted to be alone, my Monte Carlo satisfied my introspection. She and I would take to the wide open highway, barreling along aimlessly. Or we’d wind through back country roads, a joint in hand Vintage roach stone - marijuana leafand a chilled bottle of wine tucked in between the seats, usually not knowing quite where we’d end up…just content to be rolling.

Well, the seasons, they turned into years, and the years into decades and my Monte Carlo is long gone. But that car lives on forever in my heart. She was an extension of me, part of my identity really, somehow inextricably linked to my very soul. No doubt when friends look back on days gone by and happen to think of me, my Monte Carlo will spring to mind as well because, after all, she was so much a part of me. How I miss that car!

Tell me about your first car: Did you love it? Hate it? What memories does it hold for you?

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 Copyright © 2014 Michele Truhlik. All Rights Reserved.

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17 thoughts on “M is for Monte Carlo

  1. Oh gosh, this did take me back! I would have been in your circle, no doubt about that. You had me at MD 20/20!

    I learned to drive in my dad’s Ford F150, four-wheel drive pick ’em up truck. I didn’t have a car until I got married. We owned a Cutless and ended up trading it in for a turbo charged TransAm. We couldn’t afford the gas so we only had it 9 months. I loved the hum of the motor and how heads would turn when we rolled down the street.

    Love your good-old-days stories. Keep ’em coming.

    Like

    • Thanks Susan! Oh, I LOVE the Cutlass!!! And my first lust had a TransAm and we used to race, he and I. I smoked his ass! Almost killed myself going over a bridge doing it but I won! Lol. The risks we took back then. We were, after all, immortal, right? I miss those days….

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  2. Ahhh those days! Mine were spent in a green & white VW Bus foot to the pedal up the mountain passes never knowing if progress was being made. I loved that car racing through the streets of Denver on my way to work, after parties and mountain passes. So many friends would laugh as I pulled in behind them at our destinations even with the head start.

    I had forgotten the Jimmy clip and the 8-track leveler… so well written drawing my memories back.

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    • That just cracked me up: I could just see you pulling in behind your friends and them laughing and you laughing. How funny!! A VW bus?? Wow, that’s funky! A good funky! I remember getting picked up in a VW bus to go see Godspell. Or it might have been Hair. I can’t remember which. But that was so fitting, no? You had a jimmy carter roach clip too??? OMG, I have mine, i just can’t find him! I found him about a year ago and then went searching so I could take a photo to include in my post today and do you think I can find it now? Arrrgh. Do you still have yours?? What a great time those days… Thanks Teri!

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  3. Loved your post and the memories! I kept nodding my head, yup, yup, yup all the way through! My first car was a ’69 bright orange mustang with black leather interior. LOVED that thing. Someone I knew back then used to beg me to paint a tiger’s face on the hood but I kept saying NO WAY. I was sorry to see it go but I never forgot it.

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    • That sounds pretty Renata. Do you have pictures of it? Cars of the late 60s and early 70s were the BEST!! I wonder if the kids today have such affinities for their cars like we had for ours back in the day??

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      • I do have a picture somewhere I’ll have to dig up. I don’t know about the kids these days (OMG, I just sounded like my mom!). Cars were different back then and they meant a lot more I think.

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      • yeah, you’re probably right. And I really sounded like your mom?? Yikes! I know, I catch myself sounding like my mom all the time too! Well, I bet neither of them would ever say this: “I just found a joint and I have no idea how old it is but I’m gonna spark it up right now and check it out.” Lol! True. I found it when I was looking for my Jimmy Carter roach clip the other day! Ha!!! I’ll let you know if it’s any good… 🙂

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    • Thanks so much for stopping by Susan! I miss the muscle cars… The new Charger and Challenger have that same body style and I always get a heart tug when I see one. 🙂

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  4. I was relating to just about everything in this post. I go back a few years before Carter, but I remember the things you were talking about. The power hitters and those little toke stones whatever they were called–I’d forgotten about those. I was just thinking about orange sunshine today strangely enough. I’ve told people about Sambo’s and they think I’m kidding.

    Yes those were great days. My friends and I were doing the same things back in East Tennessee in the early 70’s. It was a great time. And my rain novel has to do with all of this. Now you’re getting me reinspired!

    Great post! Love this one.

    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

    Like

    • Thanks!! That’s so funny that you were just talking about orange sunshine! Wow, those were the days. I’m so glad to hear that you’re getting re inspired to get back into your rain book! I’m tellin’ ya, I can’t wait to read it. There’s something really special about the 70s. You being in TEnnessee, you must’ve went to a lot of concerts and music festivals, yeah? The only other real nostalgia piece I did about “back in the day” during the challenge was my C is for Concerts. You can give that a read here https://angelsbark.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/c-is-for-concerts/. Talk about orange sunshine days! :). You’ve inspired me to get serious with my writing and make more time for it. I visited your other blogs and it just made me realize that I could be devoting a lot more time to writing than I do now. Thank you for that Lee!

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      • And speaking of all those other blogs, I’ve been realizing for a good while that I need to stop blogging so much and start writing more. But I love this blogging. I’m going to have to figure out how to do both efficiently.

        Thanks!

        Lee
        An A to Z Co-Host
        Tossing It Out

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    • They really can feel like a part of you, can’t they? I’ve always been in love with old cars and I really don’t know quite where that came from. Maybe my dad? I don’t know but I’ve always been attracted to the body shapes. I especially like cars of the 40s and the 60s/early 70s. I have coffee-table books with cars from various decades. Ha! It’s fun being a woman and being into cars, isn’t it? 🙂

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