The car that tried to kill me was my 1965 Pontiac LeMans.

I spent my youth tinkering on mini bikes, under the tutelage of my best friend, Eric. He’s the neighborhood whiz kid that fixes things, and I was his pilot fish, learning scraps of knowledge. We went to hot rod shows all the time, and joined a muscle car club, so when I got my license, it was time to hunt for a car.

I ended up with a blue ‘65 LeMans. It had had a 67 400 dropped in with the original carb, had a 3:55 posi and a Muncie 21 4 speed.

It had a really nice rake to it, because the front springs were bad. It had big rust bubbles on the rain gunners on both sides, which I believed I would one day fix using welding skills I would one day acquire. Spoiler: didn’t.

But it had a nice blue paint job, a pink pin stripe down the side, white vinyl interior and tires that were made from the trees of Krypton, because I did burnouts for two years and they never wore down.

The first week I had it, I took my little brother for a drive up Hwy 1. Outside Santa Cruz there’s a straightaway that’s 4 lanes wide (a rarity on that highway) and straight. (We would spend the next two years drag racing there every weekend).

We get to the starting line, heart aflutter, and go for it. I hit an indicated 95 at the 1/4 marker (surely a lie), we let out yells of joy, and I let off the throttle. And the car kept accelerating. I kick the gas pedal. The car kept accelerating. The throttle was stuck wide open.

We’re on a slight downhill now, the 4 lanes is going to move back to 2, after which you go over a bridge, up another hill, and then die. At some point in my life someone had said, “If the throttle ever sticks in a car, you can just turn it off.” Thank you lizard memory for making space among the sea of Baywatch curves and Plymouth Prowler specs and allowing that nugget to live among you.

I turned the car off, and we coasted at 105MPH in that special kind of silent terror you share with another person. Gentle brakes, pulled over. Car started up, we went home using 1/3 throttle, and I ordered a new carburetor that night.