Monday, September 6, 2010

Hot Rod Jet Streak



My Grandpa and Grandma with their new 1955 Studebaker Commander

And my Grandpa's 1955 Studebaker Commander in 2000

In the early and mid 1950s Studebaker Corporation was still a primary manufacturing company in South Bend, Indiana, but in rapid decline. My grandfather and an uncle worked for Studebaker Company during this time. Studebaker merged with Packard Motor Car Company in 1954. However, intense competition between the big three finally put Studebaker-Packard under in 1966. Although the Studebaker Company no longer exists as a physical entity, it is still fondly remembered by those of us who grew up in and around South Bend.

The biggest engine used by Studebaker in the mid 1950s was the Packard 352 cubic inch. However it has been rumored that Studebaker installed the Packard 374 cubic inch engine in a few 1956 Golden Hawks. However, there is no evidence that this rumor is true. I thought it might be fun to come up with a scenario that at least one of these mystical cars from Studebaker did exist. Thus, I wrote Hot Rod Jet Streak:

Hot Rod Jet Streak

When I left school in fifty-three
I was driving an old four door sedan
I was a rippling stud a-roaming free
And wanted to dump the old oilcan
So with the help of my Uncle Bernie
A loyal Studebaker Brothers man
I got a job at the engine block factory

By fifty-six my Nash was wore out
The fenders rusty
The floor eaten away
The engine so weak it hardly put-out
A cloud of smoke a-following me all day
So I asked my uncle to be on the lookout

For a machine that was more to my style
So he said now you just hold on awhile
And I’ll sure get you a deal worthwhile
And he turned and walked away with a wink

He tested cars at the proving grounds
Was their best driver and before auction
He caught deals that would really astound
And so I knew it was gonna’ be a good one
So I waited in anxious high anticipation

That day he drove that beauty up the lane
Man was I in shock
I mean I could barely even talk
I just stood and gawked
For he rolled up you see
In a shiny slick Stuudie Golden Hawk

He stepped out with a his biggest grin
And said here take for a spin
I jumped in
And to begin
I tapped the pedal
And she took a backspin
I said what’s under the hood
But I thought I knew
It’s a three fifty two?
For I knew that was the biggest engine Studebaker used
He said no and smiled amused
It’s a genu-wine Packard blown out
Three seventy four cubes

He added she is the one and only Hawk Jet Streak
There’re never be another like her
She is all unique
Adding to the mystique
Saying she officially doesn’t exist
So to speak
You see I had to have her papered
As a standard Golden Hawk V8
So I could write up the registration
To get her out the gate

See I tested her
She buzzed like a bee
But one of the guys in suits
Took a ride with me
And decided the jet streak went a little too quick
So I was told by my boss
To strip out the big block
And scrap the brute

We stopped at the City Service
And I lifts the hood
And I couldn’t believe
On that big block stood
Two four barrel carbs
With big openings to breath
I asked the attendant for regular please
And my uncle says hold it right there

You better make that ethyl
You see
She has a ten to one compression ratio
She’ll put out three hundred and ten horsepower
There’s none faster no-where

I’ll tell you that beauty was worthy of her name
Cause she was never beat
To begin I took on a vette
With its ‘two eighty three’
Injectors and four speed
Let me tell you she tore that vette
A brand new one
Man was that ever sweet

She burned down a sleek
Hemi-powered C Three Hundred
That very next week
Then next month
Looking for more to tame
She put a ‘three twenty seven’
Rambler Rebel to shame
She put away a Bird Quad
‘Two ninety two’
And the streak was attaining fame

The following week
I got a visit
From the state police
Asking about the streak
Saying there was word out
That I was racing the Jet Streak
Out on the street
I assured that cop with my best humor
That this was a just a malicious rumor
But I knew I better cool it
So I put the streak
In the barn for the winter
And went back to the old oil bucket

Well the remainder of this story is very sad
You see that was the last
I drove the Jet streak
For one night I looked out the window all aghast
For I could plainly see
The old barn was burning down
Around the streak

After the fire my eyes started to weep
My legs were heavy
And my voice was weak
For I knew that this was the end
Of the one and only Hot Rod Jet Streak


Copyright 2011 Wayne Nolen. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

1 comment:

Ockie Ditchbank said...

WHY haven't you taken better care of that coral/gray Speedster that's all going to hell? And that's your grandpa's car? Shame on you!