I feel a sense of freedom as I slide into the stiff leather driver seat—now an off-white color showing its age—of my 1971 Plymouth Cuda, a.k.a. Plum Crazy.
1971. A year I lived through but don’t remember; I was still in diapers. Joy to the World by Three Dog Night was the top song, the voting age was dropped to 18, Flintstones Fruity everything was introduced by Post Foods, and Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory made its debut.
I grab the walnut steering wheel with my left hand, keys jingling in the right, turn the ignition far enough for the warning lights on the display to illuminate, and listen as the Sniper EFI injects fuel into the intake manifold.
I start the engine.
Ahhhh, the throaty rumble of a muscle car.
I roll down the window with the old school crank, turn on some Lord Huron, Godsmack, or Dylan, depending on my mood, and fix my gaze down the purple double scoop hood as I throw it in drive and hit the gas.
Nothing feels better than the open road with its endless possibilities.
People ask, “Where are you going next?”
To which I reply, “I don’t know. I’ll know when I know.”
Some shake their heads with a frown and can’t imagine unplanning.
Some stare at me, grinning, eyes dancing, locked in on mine—are they thinking about what it would be like to unplan? Or do they think I’m crazy?
Some throw their heads back and yell, “That’s the best answer I’ve ever heard!” And we share a laugh.
Plum crazy. We’re on this journey together, her and I.
She’s clunky. She needs a new motor mount, steering box, blower motor, and pod (parts are backordered), and I watch the road go by in the passenger side mirror because hell if I can get it to stay put—three mechanics have also had their hand at it; no one has been successful yet. If you know the trick, I’d be forever grateful!
It’s comfortable enough but not as comfortable as a 2000 something anything, I don’t know when it’ll break down next, and it sucks gas like Charlie Sheen goes through drugs and alcohol (or is he recovered?).
And…I love that damn car. I love road-trippin’ in it. It feels so good. It feels adventurous. It feels a bit rock-n-roll.
I’m meeting more people than I would usually meet while traveling, sharing stories, sharing experiences, and sharing the open road.
Music and muscle cars, baby.