GTO 3987 on Mulholland

GTO 3987 on Mulholland

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ferrari GTO at 140 mph

There is something special about late night/early morning motoring that goes beyond the absence of traffic. The darkness combined with the cooler air seems to add horsepower to the car as well as the dream and I used to do quite a bit of this on my way home after a night at Matthew's night club and the ceremonial three AM breakfast with selected companions.

One night, or early morning, I was headed home on the freeway at what I would call cruising speed. The GTO had a rev counter but no speedometer, so it was all seat-of-the-pants, so to speak. Nearing home, I turned onto my exit and waited at the end of the off-ramp for the traffic light to turn from red to green. It seemed to take forever and though no one else was on the street at that hour, I (inexplicably) waited for the green light reflecting, perhaps, on the events of the evening. When it finally turned green, I saw red. It was the red light from a California Highway Patrol car which pulled up behind me. "Pull to the side of the road," came the metallic command from the P.A. I did as instructed.

As the patrolman and I exited our cars, he came towards me with an incredulous smile saying, "If you hadn't stopped for the light I'd never have caught up with you." I mentally filed this in Notes to Self and prepared for the worst. His next words were: Can I see the engine?

He seemed to know what he was looking at, noting the six carburetors, twelve velocity stacks, and two distributors. He took his time enjoying the sight and I wasn't going to rush him. He asked about the redline. Usually 7000, 7500 on birthdays and special occasions, I told him. He used his flashlight to examine all the interesting bits in the engine compartment. I couldn't help noticing his citation pad tucked under his arm. Again, no need to rush him.

Finally, he'd seen all there was to see and had, no doubt, committed it to memory. Had he a camera with him, I'm certain he would have asked to take a picture. "Do you know how fast you were going?" Under any other circumstances, this would be a cool question that I would attempt to answer but before I could decline, he went on to say, "I clocked you at 140 about four miles back."

As I began to think about whom I could rouse from bed at that hour to bail me out of jail, the patrolman said, "Try to keep your speed down while you're in California, okay?" Absolutely okay, I thought!

And so it was that we parted company as the sun was coming up, the Nevada plates going far beyond the call of duty on this occasion.

An addendum from Ed Niles:

"Reminds me of the time that the FOC had a group (“Ride’n’Drive”) going to Las Vegas. We got caught in a road block after the eye in the sky spotted us, and the first one to whom the officer spoke was Walt McCune, who flashed his LAPD sergeant’s badge. Next in line was Bruce Sand, who showed his Sheriff’s Reserve badge. Turning red, the officer went back to poor Dan Ward, and said, “I suppose you’re a [expletive deleted] cop, too!”
Proving that cops are human, we too got off with a warning.
Keep on keepin’ on with the great tales. Ed"

1 comment:

Vic said...

Great story, Stephen. Undoubtedly, one of the perks of owning one of the truly awesome sports/race cars of all time!