The Last Flight of the New Yorker Part Seven

by John Desranleau


The First Night Prowl

It was a Late May evening sun just going down – Coolness was in the late spring air.

Most of the delicate pink peddles had fallen off of the Tulip tree in the yard where Jacques kept the New Yorker caged, the ones that were still clinging on were about to be vibrated off!!!!

My best friend Jim was over, he and I walked to see Jacques who was doodling under the hood of his rocket. He popped up his head when he heard us approaching. I should have notice that wicked grin that held the butt to lips that he was up to something. “Hey you Hoodlums ” Want to go for the shake down cruise?

To me it short of sounded like something I had read about in a naval book about sea trials. In this case it was sounding more like the "Great German Battle ship Bismarck" that was much feared in the early years of World War II going for its first shake down cruise, to test out its main battery of Big Guns ! Jump in! “Light My Fire” by the Doors was playing on Radio Station WABC through the New Yorker’s Mopor AM Radio Sound System which was turned up to "High Volume" status.

Just before I could jump in the back seat, Jacques shouted an order to me! “Give the Beast Its “Nitro Cough Medicine"

Jacques had me squirt a full dose of Starting Ether into the Air Cleaner of the big AFB Carter Carburetor.

“ Light My Fire”
Time to hesitate is through
No time to wallow in the mire
Try now we can only lose
Try to Set the Night on """FIRE"""

“Ignition Sequence Start”
Jacques looking serious placed his thumb on the Start Button on the Master Control Panel

\\ Mashed It //

The Big Hemi snorted it and stirred to Life

Immediately the torque flexed the chassis side to side flexing the Torsion Bars in the front suspension proclaiming it was alive and willing!

I closed the massive hood and realized that this was the moment Jacques had been waiting for these last 4 weeks and Jim and I were now going for the first real ride in his so called Super Car?

A Hazy Green Blue Glow came from the Dash Boards twin circular clusters housing the vital needles that vibrated oh so slightly from the explosion detonations resonating from the massive cylinders churning from the engine room…..

The Smile on Jacques face became more cynical now and he took a long drag from the Winston perched at the corner of his mouth and let it out in a smooth long cloud ending it with a POP! Sound.

(A quote: from the Movie Top Gun comes to mind “I Feel The Need for Speed)

Jacques Punched in the first command via the Push Buttons on the Command pad situated on the left side of the dash.
The Command was immediately sent to The “Torque flight Transmission” – “First Gear – Take Off”

The Torque was then transferred to the posi-traction rear end that distributed the torque equally to both axils shafts connected to the big Firestone’s. The explosive power distorted both tires by the rapid transferring of power, which cause them to flex under great strain and releasing the rapid turning power to the ground. A violent flurry of loose gravel sprayed outwards like the thrust coming out of a rocket’s exhaust, digging a twine trenches in the parking lot floor as the big Car lunged forward towards the gated fence. Jacques quickly hit the brakes and stopped inches from going right through the gate!!!! I guess he was just checking his reaction reflexes that he will be needing later on that night!

I was sure impressed as I got out again to swing the gates fully opened to let the lion out, the back part of the yard was full of dust and smoke from the pre launch. WOW! I thought to myself looking at the twine furrows that were just dug up, this beast can really chews up the pavement, What Power!

The Car leaped with the slightest touch of the gas pedal as Jacques pulled it totally out of its slip. I quickly closed the gates and jumped into the back wondering what the owner of the yard would say when he sees his yard and the trenches next day?

With a Quick Flick from the suicide knob on the steering wheel Jacques aligns the Bow of the New Yorker to it’s destination heading North towards Central Ave!!!! Now on 11 Street black top, The Firestone’s Chirped with a twin Clean Burn of black rubber as a signature of our departure into this night.............

I was feeling a bit uneasy as we sped to the first stop sign at the end of our street. (Jacques never had the Seat Belts installed as I wanted them to be – That was Jacques Philosophy “What Me worry?”)

Stopped….. Cleared the first Stop sign and on to the next longer block that seem to beckoning to apply more speed.

As we were all being pressed into our seats by the forward thrust; Jacques blurted out “4000” (“4000” was Jacques code word when he was about to lose all sensibility)

We went through the remaining blocks leading to Central Avenue like a Rocket going through and shedding its booster stages.

Each block was jettison faster and faster ---
It was going to be a wild ride – My Stomach was getting that tight nervous feeling ---
The “Granny Syndrome” had fully taken over my nervous system!!!!!!!!!!!!

Central Avenue

Jacques Started cruising the Ave.
I tried to strike up a conversation to settle Jacques down.

All of a sudden Jacques sees something ahead.
He starts waving in and around slower traffic ahead of him.

(Sort of like a Cheetah weeding out the heard looking for a kill)

I spotted it a half a block ahead, slowing down for the changing light.

It was a Sleek Low to the ground fully decked out 1960 White Pontiac Bonneville. This thing looked wicked and loaded with all the right do-dads, Rear fender skirts – Twin Antennas on the back trunk - Side Pipes, Spinners on all four wheels and the Lettering Flanking the front quarter panel in Black reading RESPECT!

Its Gloss white Paint "Glisten" in the Florescent lights from the Ave.
It was the “Millennium Falcon Star Cruiser”

To Myself I said NO! Not this car!! It going to make Jacques ride look like a "Hay Wagon"!

It’s gleaming shinning profile, it’s low to the ground grouse and the sweet sound resonating from it’s twin side pipes had me convince that this car might be too much to take on.

I then looked at Jacques to see if he did not notice this challenge.

Jacques went from a mild manner Clark Kent to this Street Gun Fighter. A serious look came to his face – His Thick Black rimmed glasses looked like Phase Array Radar that had locked in on the Bonnie.

As we pulled up right next to the Bonnie door handle to door handle
I looked at my buddy Jim – acknowledging It was on!

The Challenge was being pressed on to our opponents in their Shinny Bonnie on Central Ave

Before going on here’s the perspective

The two black gentleman in the Pontiac, I’m sure did not expect to be challenged in Newark on Central Ave, by a white boy and two young punks on a Friday night! Mind you these two cars were full size blue collar behemoths Both were from guys from a hard life section of town – each with their own attitudes!!! Unlike some young rich white suburban kid whose Daddy bought him a brand New GTO or the like.
(Sure! A New “GTO” would have eaten these two cars for breakfast.)
This happening was happening in a city that had months left to live. Probably the last time a young white kid from the inner city faced down a black man who was just trying to make his mark in his new town, before all hell broke out in July of that Summer.

It’s on

The Gentle man in the Bonnie had his arm sort of resting on the edge of door. "Thinking" I’ll blow away this joker and my shinning Vista Shine Paint job will never see the reflective image of this faded blue Bomb next to me Again! His bring it on looks convinced me that he might be right!

Jacques Now became JACK – His every move was orchestrated for the show down.

Lock and Load / Lets Rock

The Big Chrysler had it’s tires planted and locked as Jack fed the big four barrel fuel and held down the brake pedal. The revs from the Hemi embraced and flexed the whole body
---------- GREEN Light!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I Looked at the Bonnie as it was stepping out, then like a Navel Jet catapulted from a Aircraft Carrier, The New Yorker unhooked and lunched with full ferocity…………………………………..
Jacques had a Slight grin like he knew his car would trounce that hyped upped Bonny like a Cheetah running against a Bob Cat. No Contest!

Jacques Punched in each Power Shifts from the Push Button command center.

Each Shift felt like an other stage of the rocket was firing – “Jolting” and bring in more “G” forces of accelerating Thrust of Power

I was being pushed against the back seat hard from the “G" forces being generated by the Big Hemi. I had ridden on a lot of fast roller coasters in my youth, but never had I felt the accelerating G’s like this, that this sled was producing.

The New Yorker was doing its thing just like a Good Hunting Dog would do for it’s Master No hesitation, Just a Go Get em attitude!

My head swung back as I saw the big Pontiac giving it’s all but fading and falling away fast from the New Yorker’s Rear wayward angled Big Red Back Tail Lamps ………………………………………………………………………….

When Jacques left his challenger in the dust he applied the brake to scrub down the G’s thus reeling in the Big New Yorker down and descending like a twin engine high tail naval jet compressing down on a flight deck of a Carrier for a landing. The Heavy Front End eased back down and the torsion bars on the suspension did their job and leveled it out back to its normal motoring stance. The Big Hemi spooled down and “Purred” like it was satisfied too……………………………………………………….

We all “Screamed” like school boys at a Prep rally -- “We Smoked Him Soundly”

Borrowing a Line from Tom Cruise from the Movie Top Gun Yaaaaahoooooooo What a Ride !!!! ”

Victory Number One and I was a believer.

Jack was happy and like a fighter pilot having shot down his first foe he decided to bring the New Yorker back to its base camp.

We stayed up most of the night smoking and just reliving the first encounter. We retold it over and over just as you would rewind a film and relive it again and again.

Deep down inside I knew in a couple of days I would have to under go another life treating operation and not knowing if it would be my last. Thinking back to this first race I think my brother wanted to have me experience something real exciting before I went in for my operation. It certainly give me a will to look forward to go through with it and come back to enjoy more adventures in the New Yorker on the streets of Newark. It was certainly something that helped me be brave and go through with it.

One thing was clear, all the attributes (The some of all its parts) of the New Yorker that Jacques had bestowed on me the very first day he got it, all worked. – Just like the Famous Austin Martin DB5 Car did in the early 007 James Bond Movies.

Werner Von Brown: The Father of the US Space Race would have stated: It was" A Perfect Launch".

Being with my brother Jacques was like going on an adventure with Errol Flynn never know what to expect and having a blast. Something I could never have done with out him.

You might have had faster races in your life but to me That Night in that Time In That City with That Car my brother and my best friend it is one of those treasured moments that made youth so special in remembering then…………………………………………………………..

The Last Flight of the New Yorker Part Eight

John Desranlesu is a Car Show Photographer. You can view his work at:


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