I love it when I’m out and about and come across something that is featured in a song that I’ve been singing for several decades.
This morning I went to Albertsons, our local grocery store. Sitting in the middle of the parking lot was a Chevelle SS 396:
That had me singing “SS 396” by Paul Revere & The Raiders from 1966:
The Chevelle SS 396 was in production from 1964 through 1973. I do not know what year model the one I saw was; the best I can determine is that it might be a 1964 or 1965. The highest-rated horsepower SS 396 was the 1970 model with 375 horsepower.
My first car was a 1976 Chevrolet Impala with a 400 cubic inch engine. Theoretically it should have been able to keep up with the Chevelle since it had a bigger engine. However, I think the Impala was a few million pounds heavier. So much for speed. So much for gas mileage, too. I always have tracked gas mileage, and that Impala on a good day gave me just over 7 miles per gallon. Eventually, I bought a cruise control system from Sears and installed it, increasing my mileage to 11 miles per gallon!
My next car was a 1976 Chevy Nova, also with a 400 cubic inch engine. After downsizing to a 1970 Datsum B210 station wagon (don’t ask), I went full on into the muscle car program: Mustang, Camaro, Firebird, Trans Am, Porsche. If you had told me back then that in 40 years I would be driving Toyota Avalon & Camry & Corolla, Honda Civic & Accord, Nissan Altima & Maxima, and—gasp!—a Honda Insight hybrid, I might have gone over to my uncle’s house, borrowed one of his 500 shotguns, and come after you. Sacrilege. Yet here I am:
I like to tell people that I officially am out of the horsepower phase of
my life and into the gas mileage phase. My 2019 Honda Insight is rated
at 55 city/49 highway. At first I thought the numbers were reversed,
but they are not. Out on the freeway, most of the driving is under gas power. In the city, sitting at traffic signals and such, most of the driving
is under electric power.
The best I have done in the five months I have had the car is 51.1 mpg on the highway and 53.8 mpg in the city. The good highway driving on that one tank was the result of stop & go traffic for two round trips of 290 miles between San Diego and the Los Angeles County Arboretum over two consecutive days. I was quite happy
With electric power and 4TB of my music in the car, I don’t even mind stop & go traffic anymore. I just sit back, cruise on electric, and rock on down the highway.