07 December 2009

The Beast

For those of you who read the comments on my blog, The Beast was my parent's 1973 Chevy Caprice Classic. Not the one pictured here, but this one is very close. Ours was a huge 4 dr with deep blue metallic paint and a white vinyl roof. If my memory serves me correctly, it had the biggest engine block on the market - 454 - and was a V8. It also had a posi rear end. This is where the rear wheels of the car spin independently of each other. I do believe posi rear ends were the prelude to what we call traction control now.

My dad bought it with the settlement he received from the City Transit in 1976. You see, my dad was at a red light with a big red bus in front of him. He looked into his rear view mirror to see another big red bus coming up behind him. Except the bus behind him didn't stop for the light and instead plowed into my dad, causing my dad to plow into the bus in front of him. When the driver of the bus behind my dad got out he said "that's the third time this year!". It was March.

The Beast had a problem though. The glue used to hold down the vinyl roof ate away at the metal under it. So very soon the only roof was the vinyl covering over top of the blue spongy ceiling inside the car. My dad used household silicone to fix the holes in the vinyl, so much so that eventually most (or possibly all) of the roof was siliconed. We had hailstones the size of golf balls one year and watched as all the neighbor's cars got dented. The hail bounced off The Beast.

If the roof made the car merely unsightly, the rust made it an eyesore. We had no garage growing up so the car was parked in the same location regardless of weather. Little bits of rust blossomed and began to take over. People stopped parking near The Beast in malls for fear the rust would leap off and infect their car. At one point the rust ate away at the trunk so much that the marker lights on the side fell into the trunk. You could actually crawl into the trunk from the outside shortly before my parents got rid of it. The rust wasn't limited to the outside either. My mom and I were driving down the road and heard a loud BANG. She pulled over, got out of the car, picked up the muffler from the road, put it in the trunk, got back in the car, and continued driving. It didn't make much difference in noise levels not to have the muffler.

Because the car was so, uh, beaten up, my parents didn't bother locking the doors. They were kind enough to also leave a blanket in the back seat for the hobo that would sleep in it. I never minded the car, it was just simply our car. It ran very well and was maintained regularly by my dad. When they traded it in thirteen years later for the new Crown Victoria, I was sad to see it go. But only for a minute until I sat in the luxurious new car :)


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

And it was a great car to drive, especially in the winter!
Love, Mom

Chantelle said...

Your description of the Beast is perfect! I miss that car, in a way. It was definitely part of our family.

Wasn't there actually a homeless guy sleeping in the car at one point? I seem to remember that there had been some guy in there. At least the Beast (with the blanket) would have been a warmer place to sleep than the outdoors in the winter.