So now that I was bitten by the car bug, I needed to search for just the right car. My bright idea was to find a smaller/lighter car with a big block engine in it. There were several cars I saw regularly that I really liked. None of these cars were actually for sale at the time. I only mention them because they were the type of car I was searching for.
There was a 1969 Nova SS with a 396 and 4 speed I used to see all of the time. I don’t remember the owner’s name, but he worked at a local restaurant where my family frequently bought pizza. It had the cool feature of having front bucket seats that swiveled to facilitate entry and exit from the vehicle. That car was always one of my favorites.
Another big block Nova SS I saw frequently was owned by Fred. I don’t believe it was the original engine, but he had a built 454 in it. I never rode in it but saw it run on many occasions. It was loud and it was fast. It was reputed to be capable of doing a wheel stand, but I was never a witness to that feat of power. One day I was walking along one of our country roads just at the start of a short straight section that ran for something less than 1/10th mile at the most. An older woman was just approaching the straight. I don’t remember what kind of car she was driving, but she had an SS Nova or Camaro (I can’t remember clearly which) just behind her and Fred in his Nova just behind him. As soon as they got to the straight away they both took off and blew by the woman who had a look of shock and terror on her face. She looked scared to death from the noise alone. They both had hit the gas right when they were next to me. The sound almost blew me over and I was immediately moved back several feet from the road and into the weeds. Fred passed not only the woman, but the other Nova as well.
I also used to see a 1968 or 69 Dodge Dart with 383 emblems parked at the local shopping center every day. I don’t think I ever saw the owner or the car being driven. But I was intrigued because big block Darts were not a common sight. Plus I thought the car was cool looking, even though nobody else thought a Dodge Dart could possibly be cool. Here’s a picture of another 383 Dart in the same color. I always liked the bulges in the hood for some reason. I don’t remember what wheels the one I saw had on it, but otherwise this car looks the same as the one I remember.
I also felt that a big block Mustang would fit the bill. I had gotten a glimpse of the then new Mustang at the New York Worlds Fair in 1964. Back then it was popular for breakfast cereal manufacturers to include a prize for kids in the cereal box. Including a treat for kids ensured that the kids would be asking for mom to buy them that brand so they could get that toy prize. My favorite cereal was Post Rice Krinkles. They don’t sell it under that name anymore. I’m assuming that the rickshaw boy on the box cover wouldn’t be considered politically correct today. When the Mustang first came out Rice Krinkles included a small plastic model of the Mustang coupe. I remember playing with that toy quite a bit. I also remember that Ford chose to release the Mustang coupe and convertible first, and the fastback came a few months later. So when the fastback body style was released, I had to power through the remaining Rice Krinkles so that my mom would have to buy a new box, hopefully with the fastback inside.
I also clearly remember my dad’s friend dropping by with a shiny new red 1965 Mustang with a black interior and getting to ride around the neighborhood in it as a back seat passenger. Dad was in the market for a new car at the time so he was curious to see his friend’s car. Dad liked it, but ended up purchasing a 1965 Chevy Corvair instead. One factor in that decision was that he didn’t like Ford. In 1967 Ford restyled the Mustang and made it big enough to install the 390 engine similar to the one that had powered my friend Jim’s big old Galaxie.
Here’s a picture of a 1967 Mustang with a 390 engine. People who know me might recognize it as the one I eventually ended up with, although it didn’t look like this when I found it.
So now that I had some ideas it was time to search for a likely candidate that was within my budget.