“Hey hey mama said the way you move,
Gon’ make you sweat, gon’ make you groove. “
Led Zeppelin – “Black Dog” – Page/Plant/Jones – 1971
It was late spring of 1971 and I had just finished up my first year of college. My parents had sold my ’65 Pontiac Catalina coupe when I left, so now I needed a car. A friend of a friend had an old ’63 Volkswagen Beetle that wasn’t running. I handed over $150 in cash and paid the man to tow her home.
After a few days, I had her cleaned up and running pretty well. She was red with white interior and a sliding canvas sunroof. Most of my friends, probably twelve or fifteen in total, also had Vee-Dubs. We would all gather ’round when someone needed work done, pitching in to help.
We would all mount our tires “backwards” so they looked wider and we took off the narrow “running boards.” I painted my rims red to match the body color. Most of our cars had rusty bumpers, so we trimmed them off, too. I put a “hot rod” freeflow muffler on mine and it sounded all so cool.
We had an eclectic group of Vee-Dubs. They ranged from ’59 to ’70, a couple of convertibles, a Squareback and colors from grey primer to black to red to yellow. One guy filled all the body seams on his with Bondo and painted her green – with spray cans.
Down at the corner, there was a huge old oak tree in front of the bank parking lot. That’s where we would all hang out after work. By then, most of the guys had shoulder length hair and the girls wore skin-tight hip-hugger bell bottoms. Someone always had a bottle of Southern Comfort and inevitably there would be a few “cigarettes” passed around.
And then we would go crusin’. Sometimes it was to one of the local Metro Parks for swimming and other activities. Sometimes it was just down to the pool hall. If we had the cash, it would be off to the Grande or East Town for a concert.
Regardless of where we went, it was always in a line – ten, twelve, fifteen – Vee-Dubs in a row, windows down, hair streaming and the radios on, all tuned to WRIF-FM and blasting out the latest rock ‘n’ roll. We were a rolling, stoned band of gypsies and WRIF played the soundtrack of our youth.
What was the soundtrack of your youth?
William Stephenson Clark