Back when the roads were ruled by two-toned, chromed, firedomed machines. And later, coke bottle-hipped, bullet tipped, shaker-equipped bruisers packing a combination of looks & muscle that remain unsurpassed.
At the drive-in every session was a procession of automotive art sculpted from Detroit steel. The kids built hot rods in backyards, scavenging parts from junkyards like so many juvenile Frankensteins. Weekend drag meets where the wail of V8s seemed to summon demons from the bowels of the earth for just as long as it took to cover 400 yards.
A time when automotive stylists lived and breathed cars, turning dreams into metal. Management at the Big Three weren't products of Harvard and Yale business school, but started at the bottom as engineering graduates at Chevy, Ford and Dodge. Men with gasoline in their veins.
A time when bands celebrated car culture with lingo only car nuts could understand - lake pipes, slicks, power shifts, pink slips and stick shifts. TV shows joined the party with custom rods featured on everything from the Munsters, Monkees and Batman to Motormouse & Autocat. Matchbox and Hot Wheels had the little'uns covered with mini supercharged rods with custom style paint jobs.
Down at the beach, woody wagons made way for souped up ragtops - surfboards propped in the back like giant tombstones signalling the death of the old guard. Hemis & side oilers screamed around banked ovals piloted by good ol' boys while Shelby helped Ford blow Ferrari in to the weeds at Le Mans.
In Australia we watched it all unfold from afar...hungry for a piece of the action. A few years behind maybe, but by '68 road warriors were taking on Mt Panorama in local V8 muscle. Lap after lap, pulling up from 140mph at the end of Conrod Straight with brakes on fire, never really knowing if the anchors would do the job.
Aussie surfers took on the world's best and won, but to get to the beach you needed wheels. The big three came to the party with race specials available right off the showroom floor; choose your weapon...GT351, GTS350, XU-1, E55, R/T E49 or SLR5000? The lucky few slid behind the wheel and lit the wick...the lumpy idle seemed to whisper "How far, how soon, my man?"
And if you weren't into muscle that was okay - a '64 Beetle, Kombi or jalopy was a pretty cool way to go too.
Tunnel Ram is dedicated to a time when Detroit ruled the world, when music and pop culture revolved around cars. A time when the journey seemed more important than the destination. For those who still believe - Tunnel Ram