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Mary in her garage in the Lower Beast Side of NYC.

It’s funny how my views on older Vettes and older cars of the sixties and seventies, parallel how I feel about Harleys. Just as I have zero interest in newer Harleys, newer Corvettes do nuthin’ for me. They just leave me cold. Except for a joyless appreciation of the eye popping numbers of the new 755 horse Vette, nothing about new Vettes moves me. My views of the new 755 horsepower Corvette, represents a sterile interest devoid of emotion.

My view on old Harleys, those from the Shovelhead era last made in 1984, on back to the Knucklehead made in the 1930s—is emotionally based. Traditional bikers love old Harleys based on their emotional response to them, and not on logic. The same can be said about the love of old cars. My love for old Vettes, from the early 1970s on back to the C1 Corvettes of the late 1950s–is entirely driven by my emotional reaction to ’em

The “C1” generation of Vettes ranged from 1953 when the first Vettes were introduced to the world, to 1962. However, I didn’t love all C1 Vettes. The styling of the first C1 Vettes, never moved me emotionally. My love for the Vette really begins with the 1957 Vette, when the more classic and hardcore style along with the 283 cubic inch displacement Chevy V-8 was introduced. That year the 283 mill with fuel injection produced 290 horses, surpassing the time-honored “one horsepower per cubic inch” golden performance measurement.

The ’57 Vette with the 290 horse 283—righteous!

My interest in and love of old Vettes was signed, sealed and delivered by the time I got my first Vette, a used 1964 Corvette Sting Ray in 1966. Man, was I head over heels in love! This car had the 327 cubic inch 365 horse mill, and 4-speed. I got her mag wheels and exhaust dumpers, which made her three times as loud as a straight piped Shovelhead! That essentially straight piped dual exhaust would ultimately get me into trouble. Not surprising, since you could hear this Vette from miles away!

1964 Vette Sting Ray with mag wheels.

I enjoyed the hell outta this baby. I was Speed Crazy with her, reveling in her performance. The clatter of her solid lifters gave me a high. This car was my infamous “Unnamed Vette” (see “Personal Memoir Part Seven”). The cops in Queens, New York were on the lookout for me and Unnamed Vette. They knew us and it was only a matter of time until I started getting speeding tickets.

In a matter of months, I had accrued three speeding tickets, which in New York State is the “red line” that signals the loss of license. It’s been too long ago for me to remember where I got the first two, but the third and final citation is memorable. It occurred on a 6:00 AM early saturday morning jaunt on the Triboro Bridge in NYC, when a cop caught me doing 110 miles per hour on the bridge. At that hour of a weekend, the bridge was almost entirely deserted of traffic. When I got on the Bridge on the Astoria, Queens end of the bridge, I floored Unnamed Vette as I went through the gears. In fourth gear near the end of the bridge, we were doin’ 110. Problem was, there was a NYPD cop car forming a roadblock there, waiting for me.

The Triboro Bridge was almost deserted when I floored Unnamed Vette.

What a racket Unnamed Vette made, as I braked and her motor backed off….“RRRRAAAACK-A-A-A-A….” Uh oh. We stopped as the cop came over. “License and registration, please” the cop said, as he looked us over. As he looked my license and reggie over, he said….

“Mr. Wong, do you know that my radar showed you doing 110 miles an hour?”

What could I say? Apparently it was “I took my stupid pills time” as I responded, “Umm no officer. I didn’t realize it.” DOH! Then the cop started writing out my third speeding ticket received within a six month period. After he did that, he began looking under Unnamed Vette. He said, do you have mufflers? Stupidly I said, “I think so.” Then he spotted the exhaust dumpers near the headers. He said, “Did you know about these?” I said, “No, this is the way the car was when I bought it used.” With that, he released me. To his credit, he was polite throughout.

That third speeding ticket caused New York State to revoke my drivers license. After a probationary period, I had to take a mandatory drivers safety course, before I could apply for and be tested for a new license. I was so grateful when I got all of that done. A change I made in Unnamed Vette, was I closed off her exhaust cutouts and installed glass pack mufflers. Glass packs are a nice compromise, as they are not as blatantly police-attracting as open pipes, yet are still “straight-through.”

I love the sound of the Small Block Chevy mill with glass packs. Which is why I had glass packs installed on my current Vette, “Mary.” It is a deep throated, robust sound pretty much up there in the decibel range without sounding like a full race open exhaust.

CHEVY THUNDER: Mary with her glass packs.

“When waves and ripples are emitted, energy vibrating at a certain frequency will become waveform and sound. Only now we are discovering this extraordinary world through the lens of quantum observation. Likewise, water is an uncanny transformative storer of information, and as the human body is composed of some 90% of water, it is recording everything—our environment, our emotional state and our bio-rhythm…..”

I experience a powerful and visceral response, every time I start my Vette up. I get this undeniably irresistible love-like emotion, when I hear her Chevy Heartbeat. There is a symbiotic joining of my heartbeat and that of my Chevy motor, a bonding of souls across the abyss. You might say a synaptic jump between species (I believe machines like old Vettes and Harleys are alive and have a soul). Sounds crazy, but it’s true. My sound and Mary’s sounds “mate” to form a holy union of sorts.

I love glass packs. They provide a straight-through, throaty and lusty roar from the Small Block Chevy when the gas pedal’s mashed balls to the wall, that says, “I own the street,” and a rumbly and authoritative idle, that can’t be matched in the automotive world. A pretty girl is like a melody, and a righteous sounding Chevy is like a completed song. I feel emotional when I hear my Stingray’s beautiful bellowing exhaust notes with glass packs, the sound of an unchained Chevy V-8 is one that connotes power and poise, at the same time.

The lusty sound announces to one and all in the vicinity, that lying within the confines of that V-8, is a power to be unleashed according to the discretion of my throttle foot. I get the feeling that the world is my oyster to be eaten with as much Louisiana hot sauce as I want. The hot sauce component of course, consists of the sound of my Vette. It tells the world, “I own the world, as long my our master is piloting me.” The sounds of my Vette with glass packs, is a Declaration of War on the mundane.

The sound of my Vette with glass packs, is a statement.

The sound of an angry Small Block Chevy is unforgettable, etching lines of memory on the surface of one’s brain. It is the sound of instant torque and limitless joy. Fuggeddabowt the high-winding whine of a Ferrari V-12, man! Nothing sounds as good in the car world as the All-American muscular sound of a Small Block Chevy V-8 when mated to straight-through glass packs. It is a visceral scream with balls attached to it.

I had glass packs on my ’64 Sting Ray “Unnamed Vette” back in the ’60s, so I decided to get ’em for my current Vette, “Mary.” Note—the original Sting Rays of the ’60s, were spelled as two words, “Sting” and “Ray.” The later Stingrays of the early ’70s combined the two words to form “Stingray.” For Mary, I chose JEGS’ well-made “Flowpack Bullet” glass packs.

JEGS’ “FLOWPACK BULLET:” Stainless steel construction with long strand glass fibers

I chose JEGS’ Flowpack Bullets for their rugged construction, and the use of long strand, high-temperature glass fibers that resist compression. I loved glass packs ever since I had ’em on Unnamed Vette. It was with Unnamed Vette (who by the way, even though unnamed, was a female—as all vehicles are) that I learned what a beautiful compromise glass packs are.

Glass packs are in between the untamed cacophany of an open piped Vette, and the insignificant quietude of a Vette with stock mufflers. The former with Unnamed Vette was too loud, attracting police attention like the sound of World War Three. The latter, stock mufflers, relegated the magnificent sound of a Vette’s V-8 to the Like All The Rest silent majority on the street—totally unacceptable to the auditorily appreciative.

GLASS PACKS: Essentially a straight-through design.

Glass packs are virtually as effective as totally open exhaust systems, because glass pack mufflers utilize a core pipe that is of a straight-through configuration. This core pipe however, has openings in it for some of the exhaust gases to pass through to the glass fibers where some of the sound energy is be absorbed, making what is a deafening racket, into a measured roar.

This gives a Small Block Chevy a throatier and mellower sound than a totally open system. Glass packs are the perfect compromise for a car that should sound like it means business, but without sounding like a nuke just went off. As it is, glass packs might be too loud for some, but not for me. To me, it is music to my ears—and stimuli for the pleasure centers of my hungry brain.

Let me tell ya, the way that Mary sounds with her glass packs, gives me goosebumps. If ever there was any evidence that the sound frequencies emitted by my Vette are causing waveforms in the 90% water content of my body, and that these water-borne waveforms are giving me the pleasurable emotional responses that I get—then my dermatological response is that evidence. Hey man, goosebumps don’t lie. Whoever knew that a righteous sounding Vette could cause such a new agey, feel-good response in humans?

So you can keep your 755 horse new Vette that does 0-60 in less three seconds, what moves me are righteous old Vettes. The old style Vettes with their classic styling, get my blood heating up. They sure beat the sterile looks of later gen Vettes.

Old Vettes Rule!


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