By Peter M. DeLorenzo  
Detroit. Fleeting moments. Fading memories. Pictures seem to help for some. Or do they? No picture captures the exact feeling of who you were and what you were about at that exact moment of time. I often wonder what people are thinking when they have their cell phones out allegedly “capturing a moment.” It has become a ritual of contemporary life. At concerts. At ballgames. At golf tournaments. And the most laughable? At a car race, because those cell phone images of a tiny car – a blurred speck – capture exactly nothing… but air. 
I’ve come across quite a few people who think that’s the only way to do it. But is it really? I would argue that it is not. They’re not savoring a moment; they only think they are. They’re not experiencing it in real time – instead, they’re missing it altogether. And when they get back and scan their photos, what’s left? Is there anything really there? 
Think about your most memorable life experiences, and they were probably never really caught in an image. Instead, the feeling at that exact moment is embedded in your memory. No image is capable of capturing what was in your mind at that very moment. 
I have a few indelible memories that were never captured on film but are as vivid today in my mind as they’ve ever been. 
The smell of new-mown grass as we played a game of pick-up football in the crisp Fall air. 
Riding our bikes for hours on end, all day and every day in the summer, pre-driver’s licenses. 
Riding in the 1959 Corvette Sting Ray racer with GM Design legend Bill Mitchell up to the corner store. (And the Corvair Sebring Spyder, Mako Shark I and II, the XP-700 Corvette, Porsche 904 GTS and more.) 
Riding shotgun with my brother in various Corvettes as he “learned” to drive fast. A few close calls, but lots and lots of high-speed fun. 
The summer when we terrorized the neighborhood in my go-kart. It was heavily used and worse for wear when I bought it, but I worked on it all winter in the basement, had the Mac6 motor rebuilt, ordered a beautiful “butter-fly” aluminum and wood steering wheel, put new pedals, new wheels and brand-new slicks on it, ordered a perfect chrome gas tank and painted it bright orange with many spray cans. I dubbed it the “Orange Juicer Mk I” and it was a thing of beauty, if I do say so myself. We were running it a lot one day –which was a chore because the thing was very reluctant to start when it was hot – so when we got it started, we would jump in it and go. And go we did. It was magnificent little beast, and I reveled in drifting it around the corners in our neighborhood and going flat-out on the straights. And it went like hell – we timed it at 60mph with my brother’s help. Late one afternoon, we looked up to see a cop pull into my driveway. We were all crowded around the kart covered in oil from the Mac6, trying to get it started for one more run. Needless to say, we froze. He was a young guy, and he got out of his car and asked: “Nice kart. You boys weren’t running it on the street, were you?” We collectively shook our heads, and he said, “I didn’t think so.” He gave us a little smirk and a grin, got in his car and left. We called it a day. (At one point, a neighbor threw a rake at one of my pals on one of the runs, so we knew who had complained. We laughed about that for years.) 
The concept of personal mobility came into focus when a buddy was gifted a brand-new mini-bike for Christmas, which was shocking, because his father – nicknamed “The Colonel” because of his status in the Air Force Reserve – was a royal prick, and we just couldn’t believe it. I’ll never forget riding with him while freezing our asses off in the bitter cold – all of our bike routes were shrunk in space and time, which was a revelation, and there was no turning back. 
My parents traveled a lot, so I started taking the cars out pre-driver’s license, usually my sister’s 1967 Camaro. I especially liked to take it out at night after a fresh snowfall, and I learned how to do perfect power slides in the process. I would pick up one of my friends who lived a block over, and he’d bring his little brother and stuff him in the back. The kid screamed the entire time as I carved up the snow in the neighborhood. It was fabulous. 
This brings to mind “The Flying Camaro” story, which I’ve written about before. I became much more adventurous with my illegal forays in the Camaro, and I discovered a new housing development that had a perfect uphill left-hand sweeping turn that I could slide the Camaro around, in the dry. On those shitty tires to boot. I became so confident in the route and the way I could get around it that one day I invited my buddies to follow me after school so they could see my exploits, which they did. So, I began my “run” all pumped-up with my buddies watching, when in the middle of the corner I discovered that a construction truck had left fresh mud tracks right in the apex of the corner. Not Good. Needless to say, I went off, right into a huge dirt mound that was about five feet high. Fortunately, I hit it square, and I went for ride as the Camaro went up and over it, landing with a thud. My buddies said they could see the entire bottom of the Camaro as I disappeared over the mound. There’s much more to that story, but I’ll leave it here for now. 
Then there was the time my brother took me to an empty shopping center parking lot so I could learn how to drive a stick. In a 1966 Shelby GT350 Mustang. I aced my lesson with an ear-to-ear grin. 
The weekend when he had our black 1964 Fuel-Injected Corvette Sting Ray Coupe and a silver 1964 Shelby American Cobra. We tore around all weekend in those cars, even engaging in an impromptu race around the town. There was nothing like experiencing those cars in real time. 
Riding in the Pontiac XP-400 convertible down a two-lane road headed to Woodward Avenue with five aboard. The XP-400 was a concept from GM Styling, powered by a race-prepared, supercharged 421-cu. in. V8 by Mickey Thompson. As my brother shifted into fourth gear, the rear tires broke loose. It was a monster, and we loved every moment with it. 
And the time we were driving our semi-truck and trailer to Lime Rock with two ex-Bud Moore Mustang Boss 302s and basically every racing thing we owned in it. I woke up in the passenger seat to realize that my brother was sound asleep behind the wheel – this was after a typical three-day thrash to get ready – and the truck was headed to the median on the Ohio Turnpike at a pretty severe angle. I yelled, my brother cranked the wheel, and we escaped certain disaster. I remember the headlights pointing to the median, the oppressive summer heat and everything about it, like it was yesterday. 
The point of all this? 
These fleeting moments in time are worth savoring. We all have them. I implore those of you out there who are addicted to their cell phones to maybe put them down once in a while.  
Because life is right in front of you, and it’s far too precious to miss. 
And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week. 

Editor’s Note: You can access previous issues of AE by clicking on “Next 1 Entries” below. – WG

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