Black 03 Z06

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Power User
Oct 30, 2013
Haliburton, Ontario
2003 Z06
As a kid growing up in west end Toronto in the 50's and 60's the local gas stations were a source of automotive treasures. Toronto was a hot bed for racing and if a garage did not have a race car or two well there was obviously something wrong with the place.

Open wheel supermodified race cars were a big deal here at the time and many stations had a super or two sitting on trailers. The station I like the best, maybe because it was so close to home was Mason's Sunoco. They were on Islington Avenue north of the Queensway in Etobicoke. They specialized in Corvettes, muscle cars, hot rods, drag race cars and just about anything that was quick.

Al Mason road raced a C3 Corvette with BF Goodrich sponsorship in A and B production. Mason's head mechanic on the car, Ray Gillies also worked at the station. Gillies was also the crew chief for legendary stock car racer Don Biderman. Somewhere I have an 8 x 10 B&W photograph of Mason's Corvette that I should try to find.

I really miss seeing these places, they had a huge impact on me growing up. We were probably a PITA but no one ever treated us badly at any of them.

So with that in mind what was your neighbourhood like for the car scene growing up? Like to hear your stories.
Looking back I'm amazed at what we did when street racing in Hamilton, really stupid but some how we got through it alright.

You are correct, garages where a lot more fun than they are now, they focused on cars, not lottery tickets and groceries.

I remember racing my Z28 in the west end of Hamilton down by the university. Didn't back off until I hit fourth gear, then I had to brake VERY hard to make the turn for Ancaster. I did have him by a few lengths but it was really stupid a lot of things could have gone wrong.

Now i only do it in my head :).
Not to make this a street racing thread but from the stories I hear, I think things are a lot different now than they were back then. There is much more traffic now and fewer people had cars back then where everyone and their dog has a vehicle now.

Between 1969 and 2009, vehicles per household is up by 66%. Number of licensed drivers is up by 47%. More cars, more accidents, more publicity and fear mongering means the public looks down on "dangerous" activity a lot more than it once did.

Now, back to our post! I want to hear the cool stories! I missed this era so I want to hear about it from the people that were there!
OK, you asked.

Hanging around a garage lot one night in Dundas with a friend of mine. The garage was closed but we were just sitting there shooting the breeze.

His car was a Dodge six pack 440. The previous year it had been drag raced by Bay King Chysler, when my friend bought it, it still had the skinny front wheels, M&H slicks, headers, 4:88 gears, black hood with huge scoop etc. etc. He was the first person to actually use it as a street car. Fun to drive on the track but horrible if there was any moisture at all.

Another car pulled into the lot and he started talking to us. In about 10 minutes he asked my friend if he could take the car for a short spin. My friend said "OK" and we both watched the car disappear down the road.

My friend said "he seems like a nice person, how long have you known him?" "Known him?" I replied "I thought he was your friend".

Short story.. neither of us knew him.

After about 30 minutes the car returned to the lot, my friend, all 5'2" of him, got in the other guys face and really let off a bit of steam. The other guy apoligised and buggered off. About 5 minutes later the OPP pulled into the lot, seems someone driving a car just like my friends had been racing on Highway 5. Well we both swore up and down that we had been there all night (true) ....after a lot of "don't do it agains" (clearly he didn't believe us) he left.

My friend was very lucky that night.

You are right, attitudes were totally different back then, it was a very different environment. So glad I was able to survive it :).
Hahaha! That is too funny! I won't let my friends drive my car, never mind a friend of a friend and by themselves! Very trusting! At least that guy could have given him some money for gas!
When I was a kid I grew up in downtown Toronto.
There was a GMC dealership on Spadina Ave .
A few of the mechanics had hobby cars they raced at the EX.
I would hang around at night , go for sandwiches and coffee.
They let me help? taking an old street car and make a race car out of it.
They would let me ride in the car that was towed by a tow bar to the races and pay my way in or get me a pit pass.
It was a dream to do.
My son won his first feature at the EX in 1990, where I went as a 10yr old kid.
As Jackie would say " how sweet it is"
as a kid i found wrecking yards to be a great source of joy too. i used to love tagging along with my cousins when pulling parts and watching them price haggle. my job was handing wrenches or whatever they needed. most of the time it was flathead fords that they worked on, in those days they were still pretty common, a local dirt track still ran a class for them. the wreckers of today just don't hold the same fascination they did for me 50 + years ago. :D
When it comes to cars and performance, I must be one of the most fortunate people around. In '65 I got into a tool and die apprenticeship at GM Oshawa. That in itself was like winning the lottery. The good paying job right from the start allowed me to own a string of very decent musclecars over the years. The Supertest garage that my buddy Ken and I hung out at most was in Mount Pleasant west of Peterborough. When boarding in Oshawa I used to hang out at a Shell 24 hour gas station on the south-east corner of Thickson road and Highway 2 between Whitby and Oshawa. The Mount Pleasant garage has been closed for years and the one on highway 2 is now a gas bar. It's sad. At one time, in our village, there were at least three garages and another two places with just the pumps in front of their stores. None today at all. We have to drive six miles just to get a fill up. Here are shots of some of the cars that we were able to enjoy.
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