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What car did your high school's bully drive?

Illustration for article titled What car did your high schools bully drive?

High school bullies. They come in all shapes and sizes (though usually large), of all social strata and all car-cultural species. Some follow the ratty-muscle-car or lifted-pickup stereotypes, others follow none. What car did your high school's bully drive?

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In my tiny, NYC-suburb high school, the major bullies (at least among us townies) were the Emanuele brothers. Word on the street was they were eighth-degree-black-belted karate experts, so even though they were about 5'4" each, they cast a tall shadow. I don't remember a single person who wasn't afraid of those two. I don't remember any specific incidents, but once, on the middle-school lunch line, I gave the younger Emanuele brother a dollar just because he asked. He even said thanks. If memory serves, the older one drove a '80 Oldsmobile Cutlass.

(QOTD is your chance to address the day's most pressing automotive questions and to experience the opinions of the insightful insiders, practicing pundits, and gleeful gearheads that make up the Jalopnik commentariat. If you've got a suggestion for a good Question of the Day, send an email to tips at jalopnik dot com.)

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DISCUSSION

Most of the people who did the bullying had Mustang GT's, Camaros, Firebirds and a couple of Monte Carlos.

Me and my Ranger got laughed at regularly. Halfway through senior year, the bullies of my class had discovered street racing. They systematically went through the class challenging everyone to a street race for money. They went after all the hand-me-down sedans and such first and then the kids with the clapped out beaters. Since only a few of us had small trucks, we were left until last.

I laughed and said no every time one of them would taunt me. They called me all kinds of variations of "chicken".

Then, one day, one of them flew by me on a residential street, cut in front of me and slammed on the brakes. Wouldn't move. Every time I tried to get around him, he'd speed up and get in front of me again. Since my Ranger was considerably slower, he had the best of me. He demanded that I race him. I thought this was quite stupid. So I relinquished but under certain conditions.

I told him it had to happen at the track on a grudge night so no question about timing, fair starts and finish lines. We could bring whatever we wanted to the race to help out our situation. A no-show was a forfeiture. He scoffed and tried to back out. Claimed it was too expensive. I told him no money, just bragging rights and I'd pay his entry fee and helmet rental. He said ok to that after I asked if he was scared.

Pretty much half the class showed up that night. They all were waiting at the gate for me to come pay this douche's way in. They thought I'd be the one to punk out. So I walked up to the gate, paid his way, rented his helmet and said "See you in the lanes." I walked away to my little corner of the pits. The classmates were wandering the pits looking for my little, tan, 87 Ranger. I heard a few of them say to the opponent that I must have left when he showed up.

They paid no mind to the primer gray '83 Mustang GT in the corner. When I pulled up next to him in the lanes, I had my helmet on. I got out of the car with the helmet on and walked up to the official. I took my helmet off and told him we were to race together, grudge match. Official smiled and gave me a thumbs up. I walked back to the car with the helmet off and they flipped out. "You're cheatin'! That's not your car! Where's your truck?!" I asked him what was the matter? His '92 Mustang was too slow to beat a 1983 Mustang? He demanded to see proof of ownership. I kept the title in the glovebox, stupid, I know but I was kid. I pulled out the title and registration with my name on both. He tried to make more excuses and I said "You're not scared, are ya?"

He got angry, shouted no and that he was going to kick my ass. We got up, the guy in front of me went to the light for a solo run and the official held us. I had been running my Mustang for a while so they knew me and they knew it was a sleeper of sorts. So the tower announcer played along. They lined us up. I deep staged on purpose to freak him out. I uncorked the exhaust cut outs just before I staged and coasted into the beams in all the rumpity-rump glory. I stood on the line lock and I sat there staring straight at him, ignoring the tree completely, revving the living hell out of the car. The lights dropped, he cut a fairly decent .511 light. Better than I thought he would. We were running heads up so I sat at the light until he got to about the 300 foot mark. I stood on the gas, dropped the clutch and actually got traction. The car twisted good and I was told there was daylight under the torqued side front wheel. I took off like a shot and passed him like he was standing still at 1,000 foot mark. He was pedaling hard.

His time: 15.288 @ 79 MPH

My time: 11.624 @ 121 MPH

I got warned about not having a safety cage and running that fast that night. Nobody from school ever asked me to race again.

You know, now that I write that all out, it sounds like some cheesy '80s "feel good", "coming of age" movie. Kinda lame. But the Ranger I had gotten the year before as a first car and had to share it with my sister. I wanted to race something and the parents said no. So I went behind their backs and bought the GT with no drivetrain for $300. I rented a truck and trailer to go get it. I got the drivertrain from a wrecked '86 for $375. I put it all together over the winter in my friend's driveway. I think I threw about $1200 in total in that car and spent weekend after weekend buried under the hood at the track tuning and tweaking. That 11.624 timeslip was my last full throttle run. I laminated it and stuck it to the dashboard then ran brackets for next couple of years until college got to be too much of a financial burden to continue funneling money in to the car. It ended up getting essentially stolen by a "friend" who swears to this day I said he could have it. He sold the car for $250 to pay for his girlfriend's nose piercing. That dude is in jail now. I put him there 'cause I reported his whereabouts to the cops when he came back to visit his kid. He jumped bail the year before and I managed to use my computer nerd skills to track him down. When I found out when and where he would be, an anonymous tip to county sheriff's office and he was met by plain clothes officers at the "secret meeting point", shackled and sat in jail awaiting trial on 9 different counts with no bail. I called him during visiting hours while he was in county lockup. He got on the phone and all I said was "Told you I'd get you. Karma's a bitch." I hung up and I haven't spoken to him since. Last I knew he was transferred to a state prison up north.