Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Mid-Night flight of the Mongoose............

Mongoose III in Auto Show DM, IA

Late one night about 11 o'clock when I was leaving the Convention Center in Des Moines, Iowa after an Auto Show. A show in which I had received a first place trophy my class.

Tom Adkins-Big Faithful Friend-Trusted Body Guard-Loyal Crew Member 
with 1st Place Auto Show Trophy

I was gassing up the Mongoose outside the Auto Show. The organizers of the Auto Show didn't allow cars inside the convention center with gas in their tanks. But I knew better than that. You had to drain the gas tank before you got in. While filling the gas tank up again outside after the show, I was approached by an old acquaintance of mine that I used to see at the east 14 th street drive-inn. You know a drive inn like in the movies, where they have car hops and car guys are setting on the fenders of their cars just hanging out. That fellow just happened to own a pristine metallic blue Carrol Shelby Cobra with the original aluminum body. A 289 ci full race Ford V-8 engine with four down-draft Weber carburetors on it.

Considered quite awesome for the day.

He challenged me and the Mongoose to a race "OK, Let's settle it right here and now, once and for all". 

<I thought> After all a Mongoose was supposed to be Cobra killer. They are natural enemies!

After thinking about the challenge for a moment, I said: I'd love to, but my drivers license is in serious jeopardy for past transgressions and I can't afford to get caught again, but........ I will take you for a ride.

Mongoose III the final edition, the car he rode in
He understood my dilemma and agreed! With some added coxing he jumped in to the passengers seat of the Mongoose. I drove with him riding, several miles to the outs-skirts of town on a lonely stretch of strait asphalt pavement. Soon after we came to a stop, I said: READY? Shouting over the threatening irregular sound of the Mongoose engine idling with no mufflers on it, L o p e....Lope....L o p   e..Lope He buckled up in his seat and he shouted back: Yea, I'm ready. I tightened up my seat belt one more time just to make sure, released the brakes and punched the accelerator to the floor. The Mongoose instantly forced us back in our seats like a rocket lifting off the launch pad. The Mongoose's engine was so powerful with the duel air-metered fuel injection on it, that the car seemed like it was shaking and trying to rip the fiberglass body and aluminum supports from it's steel frame, and ..........at any moment it might be successful. It was a exhilarating zoned out feeling, I'd been there before I smiled to myself knowingly. I only shifted through three gears, about 170 or 180 mph, jerking our heads back and screeching the tires each time, I still had one gear left to go when I saw that we were running out of road. So I hit the brakes and we safely came to a stop. I looked over at my passenger for his reaction. His eyes were big as silver dollars, he had a pail face with a look of outright fear on it. He just sat there, his hands down holding on to his seat, as though not trusting his seat belts. His whole body was shaking. He shouted over the loud rumble of the menacing Mongoose engine idling once again:


I dropped him off back at his car behind the convention center. I let him out of the Mongoose shaking his head from side to side.

After that he became one of the Mongoose's greatest supporters. 

And he never once said anything about challenging the Mongoose to a race again. 
But he bragged about riding in it..........

Goose III and a Carol II

Boy, I've learned so much since that day forty some years ago. I would sure like to take that picture over again now!

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