16 years old... long hair, Black Sabbath T-shirt, weird pants, 1970 Ford Bronco and Arco "pet" dog that loved to put holes in fresh.... or tires. He would bite right through the side walls of your tires. I got really good at patching sidewalls.
I was fifteen when my step dad Charlie said I could have this rusty pile of 1970 Ford Bronco if I fixed it up and got it running. It was a plow truck and if you are from northern Illinois you probably know that if you plan on unfastening anything you might as well get out the torch. It was about fifteen miles one way to school. My mom got really tired of driving us to school everyday so I was enrolled into Drive Right to get my license on my 16th birthday. This was a crash course in driving. It seemed like all the kids that failed their high school class went to Drive Right. We would watch re-runs of worlds scariest police chases to learn how to drive. Anyway... I had a year to get the thing running. Charlie helped me out a lot with the mechanical stuff. One day he brought home about five gallons of bondo and said have at'r. I thought that bondo was the greatest thing in the world. You could you could fix dents, cover rust holes and if you were really good you could fix an entire quarter panel that had been completely smashed in without any pier metal work. It was all good until winter hit and the rust, cracks and holes started to reappear.
It had a 402, three on the tree. You were in your last gear at about 15 mph. By the time you would hit 55 the thing was just screaming. It broke down just about every day. I would limp it home and spend all night working on it. About the time that I had replaced just about everything some dude blasted me in a big ass extended cab dually pick-up. It's crazy to see one of those things flipping through the air! It was a great learning experience.