Chrome Jewels Part Three

What a great car, the ’51 Monarch.

With fender skirts and Hollywood muffler dual exhausts it was the coolest car we ever knew. Since it was Dad’s car, he was automatically the coolest Dad.

It was about 2 years old when he bought it from the family dentist – who was another cool man. The dentist was into racing small hydroplane boats and had a buddy who liked to (as the saying went) “breath upon” anything that burned gasoline – in order to make it go faster. This car was one he had “breathed upon”. It had hotter ignition and shaved heads on that flathead V8.

Back in the mid ‘50s most police cars were rather sedate and not too quick, there was no radar to catch speeders, and particularly in small northern towns, a snorty “breathed upon”  1951 Monarch with Hollywood mufflers and fender skirts could really make time heading north to the cottage for the weekend. No small towns had stop lights to impede progress back then.

With the windows open, Mom and Dad in the front seat, , two kids, two cats and a dog in the back, the fur would fly around inside the car and the rumble of the exhaust pipes would bounce off the store windows and walls in those small towns– and in the fall, the leaves would be flying off the sidewalks. The trunk loaded with suitcases and groceries gave the car that certain look – low in the back end and slightly raised in the front.

The dad loved that car and liked to drive fast. It must have been his wartime experiences that made it seem like he had no fear. But he never worried about his family being hurt or not being able to pass that other car on a two lane road at 90 miles per hour. It was just the way he was – he made it back from the war and that hadn’t killed him – so nothing like a little speed in his own car could touch that for risk.

He turned out to be right after all.