Monday, December 15, 2008

Good Enough For Nelly, Good Enough For Me.

I first learned how to drive in a tank. And I want it back.
In fact, I never wanted to give it up.

No, I didn't learn to drive in the Army.

The Tank was my dad's 1970 Chev Impala, affectionately named by my oldest sister and her friends, I believe. (I'd call and ask her, but she might not be too pleased being jarred from her sleep to be quizzed about an old brown car from the mid-70s.)

The car was almost exactly like the one pictured, except that ours was brown. Come to think of it, many of our vehicles were brown when I was growing up. Many. Of. Them.

That thing held about a hundred people inside, and we really put it through its paces some nights...with some buddies and me in the Impala, and another buddy driving his dad's Pontiac Phoenix. Oh, the good ol' days.

It was nearing its last legs when I was of the age to learn to drive and take my driving test, but my dad probably wasn't too keen on letting me make too many driving mistakes in a newer car...not that I blame him. At all. I was, and am, a pretty good driver, and comfortable behind the wheel in any situation. But let's be real. I was a new driver. In a rear-wheel-drive car. In a state that has snow four or five or ten months of the year. I had to see what it could do...right?

By the time my dad got rid of The Tank, the transmission was a little tempermental, meaning you had to shift it on the steering column (an automatic transmission, mind you) from Low 1 to Low 2 and up into Drive to get up to traveling speeds.

I didn't care. I considered that part of the car's personality, its charm. I couldn't imagine getting rid of The Tank. It was...rugged. It was brown. It was about a mile and a half long. And it was mine. (Even though it wasn't.)

Some hip-hoppers these days who collect classic cars have an Impala or two. And it makes me proud to have driven one myself. Not that they were very similar. Theirs are all chromed out and they're spinning 22s on 23s, or...or...whatever Sprewell's sellin'.

I was just thrilled to be riding on four.

And maybe my Impala wasn't all tricked out or lined up in a driveway on MTV Cribs, but the line in Nelly's song, "CG2," worked for me back then, too.

"...wait till they get a load of my Impala!"

Glitchy transmission and all.

"The engine of the tank is a weapon
just as the main-gun."
—Heinz Guderian

[this post inspired by five words from A-Bomb]


  1. My first car was a blue 1984 Chevy Cavalier (The number one selling car in the US for that model year). Unfortunately it was the early 90's when we picked one up. We call it the blue bomb.

    It was the perfect car for a teenager........a real POS with pretty good gas mileage.

    Check out this link to see just how hot a person has to be to drive such a fine automobile.

    I don't think my parents realized the danger they were placing the population of Two Rivers when they let my little brother drive the blue bomb. The combination of a smoking hot stud with fiery red hair cruising the streets in the hottest car from 1984 would lead to many a neck sprains from heads turning to catch a glimpse of absolute perfection. Yes, many a hearts were broken.

    Last I heard my dad had brought the blue bomb to his parents farm with hopes of putting it out to stud. Apparently he hadn't heard about the invention of the assembly line.

  2. Ah, the power of the Cavalier. I remember that car!

    It was...dare I say...HOTTT!!