Years ago a buddy of mine — we’ll just call him Kevin — had a metallic green 1996 Mustang GT that was semi-setup for drag racing. It had the basic bolt-ons for the time. Headers, catless X pipe, Borla side exhaust, under drive pulleys, 3.73 gears, and 26″ tall Mickey Thompson ET Streets… skinnies up front. It was just about as much as you could do to the 4.6 SOHC engine without the 99+ head swap or forced induction. Both of those options were expensive and being that money was tight he bought the next best thing — a Compucar nitrous kit dubbed the Bottle in a Bag.
It was exactly as advertised. A nitrous bottle mounted on a wood plank that fits snug in a gym bag. Toss the bag in the trunk, or on the floor in front of the passenger seat, conceal the hose through the car running into the engine bay and directly into the center of the air filter. Power is supplied by the 12V outlet. The trigger is small enough to hold in your hand along with the shift knob.
Forward to the summer of…. 2002 or 2003. We decide to check out the annual Ocean City Car Show and it did not disappoint. The salty ocean breeze, girls in bikinis, eight cylinders echoing off buildings, crowds lining the sidewalk egging you on for a smokey burnout. Oh yeah, there were cops. Lots of cops. But people didn’t seem to care. If a cop pulled somebody over on one side of the road it simply meant the other side of the street was fair game. No fucks were given. This. Was. It.
You think I’m kidding? Feast your eyes on this shit.
So here we are, cruising up and down Coast Highway. My girlfriend and I in the back seat. It’s early morning about 1AM and we hit a light, first in line. Next to us rolls up a black Chevrolet Nova. No hood. Big ‘ol blower just whistling away.
It’s only seconds in to this red light and the crowd starts yelling. “Race! Race! Race!”
The passenger in the Nova is now eye-balling Kevin but Kevin was not intimidated. The bottle was already open. All he had to do is reach for the trigger conveniently placed within arm’s reach on the passenger seat.
Coastal Highway was now Maryland International Raceway and the Nova had staged. That nasty V8 was holding a well above idle RPM, ready to give that torque converter, and Kevin’s Mustang, the business.
“This is happening”, I said in my mind. My girlfriend, equally aroused by what was about to go down, quickly reached around for the seat belt and I followed suit.
But it was too late. The light turned green. Time seemed to have shifted, along with our faces, which were now planted firmly on the rear window. There was a peculiar angle to the world. Turned out we were no longer level to the earth but rather at an incline, faces still planted to the glass. This son of a bitch sprayed on the launch and pulled the front end off the ground?
I couldn’t believe what had happened and it’s certainly not a night I’ll ever forget. Of course, I don’t condone street racing.
As for thee Nova? We eventually caught up at the next light.