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paulsiano at yahoo.com paulsiano at yahoo.com
Mon Nov 11 09:49:31 EST 2013

The following well written e-mail was sent to me by James Johnson of Kerrville, TX.  I thought others might enjoy reading it:
Paul, thank you for showing your car.  Takes  me way, way back.  I bought a 1960 two door with the 'hot' (90 hp) engine  in the early spring of 1960.  I read in one of the car magazines that the  1961s would have a four-speed transmission, so that day I went to my dealer and  ordered one from the parts dept.  We installed it before the 1961s came  out!!  So for a short while I had the only public owned 4 speed  Corvair!  Other modifications I made:  15x7 rear wheels, full size '57  Chevy front shocks--std duty in front, heavy duty in rear, metallic brake  linings with drilled/scooped backing plates, Corvette valve springs/solid  lifters, 3.90 rear gears, Atlas Bucron tires, cut one coil from the rear springs  to give negative camber.  I set NHRA 1/4 mile national record at 16.90  which lasted a few months, maybe.  Mainly I built the car to handle better,  which it did.  
In 1961 I was working in central Kansas and a buddy  and I decided one Saturday nite to go to a drive-in theatre some 30 odd miles  away.  After leaving the movie, I passed a car that I had helped the owner  tune up/modify slightly.  After a few miles a pair of headlights came up  behind me and I remarked to my buddy "Those guys must have talked the owner into  racing me!"  About that time the highway came up to a small river but  instead of crossing the river it paralled the river for about 3 miles before the  river curved away and the highway continued on straight.  The road was very  crooked, with literally 30 mph advisory signs before the curves, with the last  curve marked '45 mph'.  Knowing this, I said "Well, this is where I lose  him!"  After exiting the last curve at 95, I slowed down to my normal 70  mph (at night) and remarked "That oughta take care of him", as he was way, way  behind me.  
After a mile or so, the car caught up to me  again.  Just as I was about to say something to my friend, he turned on his  overhead lights!  I had just out run a highway patrol car!  The  troopers first question after getting my license was "What in the god dammed  hell have you done to this car?!"  I knew then it was not going to be a  typical highway stop.  He got me back into his cruiser, then paid me the  highest compliment I ever got when he said "Looky here.  I'm driving a 61  Dodge, its got 360 hp and the police suspension, I've been to pursuit driving  school and I was scared shitless back there.  Now I want to know what  you've done to that damned car!!  After laughing at him I told him what I  had done to the car.  We sat on the shoulder of the road for a couple of  hours just shooting the breeze about cars, women, whatever.  Totally nice  guy.  At the end he said that he would give me a ticket for 70 (10 over) as  that was the only
 speed he clocked me at, even tho he knew I was going much  faster than that.  The ticket cost me $10.  Best ten dollars I ever  spent.  
Incidentally, I had the engine balanced/blueprinted  also.   It would turn 6000 rpm, but produced very little hp at that  rpm.  Stock it would run into valve float at 4500.  The hot rod club I  belonged to set up the speed clocks on the strip we used on a day we were not  having drags and we ran for top speed by going the opposite way on the WW2  bomber strip we used.  Fastest I managed was 114.97 mph.  This was at  3500 altitude, temp about 60.  So I claimed it had a top speed of  115.  As you know, most cars of the day would not break 100.  
Got my draft notice after I had the car about 1 1/2  years, left it home when I went to basic.  My mother drove it while I was  gone.  Unfortunately, she had a habit of going to high gear at 20, then  never downshifting.  When I got home I found out the crankshaft had broken,  undoubtedly due to pre-ignition knock.  As I was only making about 60 bucks  a month, I let the finance company take the car back.  My first leave I  talked to my local dealers shop manager (a good friend) who laughed at me when  he said that they only had to replace the crank....even used the same  bearings!!  But I had seen other engines where the broken crank had  stretched the block when the crank came round, and I figured the same thing had  happened to mine.  Coulda salvaged the car for a couple hundred  bucks!!!  Ahh, well.  I enjoyed the hell out of it while I had  it.  

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