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FLOODED 61' by ???

The people that owned the drug store had a Chrysler. Either a '61 or '62. It looked pretty close to the '61 Chrysler that we had after the Dodge station wagon until we got the Mercury. Automatic chokes hadn't been around all that long yet. Furthermore, the Chrysler Corporation's design wasn't too great. If they were adjusted to where they choked enough to start it in mild weather, when it got cold, they over choked. People had a narrow window of opportunity to get the thing fired up and keep it running before it would flood.

The Chrysler that we had would flood too, the same as the Dodge wagon did. If mom started it to warm up and went back in the house, in a few minutes the thing was chugging and blowing black smoke. Sometimes it would have died and she'd have to restart it. Ours started without too much trouble and she'd rev it up a ways and blow it out. If she got in, started it and took off then after about a minute and for the next few minutes it loped and blew black smoke as we went down the road and out to the highway. As a little kid you're curious about such stuff, and the revving up is interesting.

The Chrysler that Mrs. Jackson, the druggists' wife, drove was worse. I remember coming out of the grocery store with mom one night, and it was across the highway in a parking spot sputtering and blowing black smoke out of the tailpipes. It sputtered and chugged for quite a while and then started to rev up. It revved up with a loud roar and big cloud of smoke. It revved up several more times and roared some more before she backed out and drove away. The car flooded on her quite a bit, because I remember her revving it up in one parking spot or another with it roaring and blowing smoke quite a bit.

The best one was a while later.

It happened in the parking spaces along the railroad tracks across from the stores. Mom needed something from one of the stores so we stopped. She said it would be quick, so I needed to stay in the car. We parked in a space next to what turned out to be the Mrs. Jackson's car to my side. I remember looking over and the red lights on the dash were on. She had apparently left it running, but it had died. In a little bit, she came across the street in her white drugstore coat and some red high heels. She opened the door, got in, closed the door, and hit the key. The starter started its whine. The thing cranked and would hit now and then, making the starter almost whistle. She stopped, said "shit" and then, judging from body language, slammed the pedal down and started cranking again. Same results. Fire a bit and buck but not run as she cranks for a good 30 seconds. Her mouth was moving as she gave up. As soon as the starter noise was gone I heard a perfectly clear "Son of a Bitch" at the top of her voice.

She was some kind of pissed off.

She throws the door open, & it was a damn good thing our car was far enough away, or she'd have caved in our door a mile. She stomped around front with her high heels making that type of clomp clomp noise that they do. She fiddled with the hood and it didn't come open right away. I don't remember hearing what she was saying clearly, but it wasn't too hard to figure out. She threw the hood open and looked in. Then she took the top of the air cleaner off and set it partway on the fender and something under the hood. She took a pen or something from her coat and poked at the choke plate, I guess. She stomped back around and got back in and left the door open with her left leg out of the car.

I could watch as he stomped down on the gas pedal like she was trying to shove it through the floor and hit the key. She kept her foot down hard with her heel off the floor and it began to crank. It cranked and cranked without much happening for quite a while. She let up on the key for a bit and then tried again. It cranked and then hit and bucked for few seconds and started. It didn't really run it just shook and sputtered for about 10 seconds and died. She hit the key again and it did the whine and buck routine for about 10 seconds & then it started. It sputtered, shook and smoked for about another 5 seconds. She was so pissed off by now and pushing so hard on the gas pedal that her arms were straight and her back was arched. But it was running and it began to rev up.

It revved up alright.

She kept her foot down and her back arched. It revved up and screamed. She kept it floored and a jet of black smoke blew out of the tailpipe all the way across the highway. The open carburetor was howling & the air cleaner lid fell off the fender & rolled across the ground. She just kept her back arched and held it floored for probably 10 seconds. Count off 10 seconds. It's a long time to hold it floored and let it rev to the max. She just kept her foot on the pedal and kept it planted in the carpet. All I could do was watch the smoke billow out of the back, listen to it scream, and look at her foot holding the pedal floored.

I was nine or ten years old, but knew that you didn't just hold the gas pedal to floor for a long time. Mom floored the car now and then and Pam floored the '58 Chev and made its pipes roar, but never like this. Although I was thinking it was pretty neat as she did it. I'd never heard or seen such a thing before. I loved to see a flooded car that got loud and made some smoke after it started, but this was something. There was a tremendous high pitched roar and a big cloud of smoke started to cover the whole highway. She finally let up and it idled down. She got out, stomped around front, picked up the air cleaner lid and had to look for the wing nut. She fumed around looking for the nut and finally found it, put the air cleaner lid on and slammed the hood.

She got back in the car with one leg in and one leg out again, put her foot on the gas and floored it again. I could see her stomp down really hard on the pedal, lifting up her heel. She held it floored for another few seconds, let up for a split second and then floored it hard again for a few seconds and made it scream. Then she pounded her foot on the pedal about 5 times as hard and fast as she could. The car revved and screamed while blowing another big plume of gray and brown smoke across the highway. She let up, put her leg in, and slammed the door. Then she put it in reverse, backed out real fast, and screeched the tires taking off up the highway.

Mom came back and we headed for home. On the way home, I was curious. I understood that if the car flooded that you floored it and it revved up. But I wondered why she revved it up for so long and then did it again and pounded her foot on the gas pedal. I asked mom and she said that the car had probably been being bad like that lately and that she got mad at it. Yeah...well it sure was noisy and made a lot of smoke. Kind of neat though, I'm thinking.

So, I had learned something, more or less. If you're a car, don't piss off a woman and think you'll get by with it.