So, back in the day—I’m talking the late ’70s and early ’80s—there were quite a few cars in my high school parking lot that were considered fairly rowdy for the time. Rowdy in the sense that most of these Camaros, Chevelles, Novas, and Mustangs (no Tri-Fives back then—they weren’t considered cool), were armed with pretty stout big-blocks or healthy small-blocks (for the time) that could make a whole bunch of noise and easily burn rubber for hundreds of feet. Those were some good times. Unfortunately, as these young guns were building up their engines and bolting on exhaust systems with mufflers that didn’t muffle very much, the cash they earned delivering pizzas (in the same hopped-up cars, by the way), wasn’t funneled toward funding a posi unit if it didn’t already have one. You also have to remember; cool wheels and wider rubber always came first.
So, while these cars looked and sounded mean, leaving only one black line on the ground post-burnout put a huge dent in the car’s street credibility. What good is an engine rated at over 380 hp (that was huge back then) if it can’t deliver power to both rear Goodyears? It’s not good for getting off the line in a hurry, that’s for sure. And what about the pitiful nicknames associated to a car with a non-posi rearend? Names like Peg Leg, One Tire Fire, and other derogatory terms were used. It’s burnout bullying, if you ask me—and deservedly so. It’s the one time I’ll condone this sort of behavior.
With that said, it’s hard not to sympathize with a high school kid trying to build a badass muscle car on 1978-era minimum wage, which in Southern California started the year at $2.50, then worked its way up to a “robust” $2.65 by April 1st. So, unless your pops was kicking down the cash to help fund your ride, the car would have to suffer somewhere. Typically, the rearend was one of the last places to receive the proper equipment.
With the amount of horsepower muscle cars are dishing out today, new or old, 600+ to the rear tires is not uncommon, so it’s pretty much understood that a fairly beefy rearend is necessary to handle all that power. Besides, no one wants burn rubber and leave a single patch to that of a motorcycle. It’s just not cool.
As fun as it is to reach back and tell stories of the good ol days, I think it’s only appropriate to mention how difficult it is to scribe a lighthearted editorial with my continual thoughts regarding recent events happening in our country and around the world today. I’ve always tried to keep my editorials fun and somewhat entertaining (that’s debatable), but I feel I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that where I grew up everyone’s life mattered. Skin color or what anyone did for a living didn’t matter—even cops ... especially cops.
So in the grand scheme of things do black lines matter? Absolutely! You have to make two if you want to get that elusive street cred and a killer 60-foot time. Besides, you’ll want YOLO to stand for “you only live once,” not “you only left one.”