The most important day of my life, I always thought, was the day I got my driver's license. I was 16 and my first car, which I had bought several months earlier, was a 1951 Ford that was in pieces in our garage.
I was installing headers, high-compression heads, a dual intake manifold and a 3/4 race cam.
That was my first exposure to hot-rodding. All I wanted to do was make that flathead go faster, first on the street and then on the drag strip. A couple of years later, a 394-cubic-inch Olds powered the car — after a couple of flatheads and a smaller Olds had self-destructed.
That was the beginning of going fast. After a decade — and shortly before moving to Detroit to run Automotive News — I happily graduated to AA/Fuel Dragsters and I shall never forget the thrill and the fun of simply going fast.