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Featured Article
Burnouts - The Story of My First Car
By Chris Pokorny

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Burnouts - The Story of My First Car
By Chris Pokorny

Most of my friends and family are constantly asking me “Why?”
“Why do you need that car?”
“Why is that part so expensive?”
“Why do you need to go racing all weekend?”

As you can probably tell, I did not come from a family of car enthusiasts and I don’t have too many friends who like cars as much as I do. 

It all started when I was about 14, I had a neighbor who had an ’87 IROC Camaro. He was constantly working on it, and me being curious, I watched him. My neighbor noticed my interest and eventually took me on some rides in his car. These rides usually consisted of some pretty high speeds and a lot of burnouts – I was hooked.

When I turned 16 I had finally saved up enough money from doing yard work to buy my first car. A beautiful 1982 Pontiac Firebird – it was pink. Literally… painted pink. It smoked like crazy and didn’t turn very well. But on my income of collecting lawn trimmings it was what I could afford, and I was thrilled. The first thing I did was spray painted the car grey, I wasn’t man enough to drive a pink car living in southern California at the time. I had to get it registered as it had not been done in over three years, which meant it had to be smog tested. I took the car to have a ‘practice’ smog test performed. Guess what? It failed. It must have had something to do with the cloud of smoke that followed me when I drove it. After the failed test, I go into full on panic mode, I just dumped my life savings into this car and I can’t even drive the beast to school. I stop in at a local automotive store and buy a can of additive that is ‘guaranteed’ to make my car pass. Thirty dollars and another failed smog test and I was back to square one. While telling a friend about my awesome problem, he said he knew someone who could ‘make’ my car pass, a guy that owned an auto shop. No dyno test, just a few clicks on the computer and $200 of my money and a few minutes later he printed me out a passing smog sheet. How fitting that the name of his shop was ‘Honest Auto’. What did I care? I could finally drive the beast.

I had another friend look into the steering problem. I was just learning about cars and had no idea what I was doing. He informed me that the frame was broken where the steering box was mounted. The good news though, he knew how to weld. Probably not the safest way to repair a frame, but what did I know? Once that was fixed it was time for some burnouts! That little 305 could barely spin the rear wheels, but it could, and that was all that mattered to me.

About two weeks later the 200C transmission had enough of the burnouts and had stopped working completely. I had been informing myself about what kind of modifications I could do to my car and I knew what I eventually wanted. I knew I wanted more power out of that 305, so I should put a turbo 350, knowing the 200C was a weak link. About three weeks later it had a new transmission. Time to do more burnouts! Nope, me and my all knowing misinformed self did not realize that a 200C had a lower 1st gear than the 350, so no more burnouts… and in my 16 year old mind that was the best thing about having a car. Shortly after the new transmission was installed the steering started having problems again. Apparently the welds on the frame from the first attempt to fix it were not holding up. During those last couple of weeks I knew that there was not going to be a future for me and my once pink firebird. It wasn’t long before I had come across my next victim, a 1970 Chevy Camaro – and I could see some pretty badass burnouts in my future.



 

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