Fast cars on a slow street

Published 11:10 pm Monday, May 11, 2009

Shake, Rattle and Roll.

It was an apt name for an event that celebrated a time long past in Suffolk, a time when “speed” was a measure of what was under the hood of one’s car, not what processor ran one’s computer.

Saturday’s car show in downtown Suffolk was a chance to look back at a slower time, marked in an oxymoronic fashion by the types of fast cars that once graced the city’s raceway.

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A street lined with Camaros, Corvettes and other muscle cars from days gone by gave visitors a taste of America’s car culture and provided a walk down memory lane for those who remember the old Suffolk Raceway.

The raceway was a place where gearheads could show off the results of their hard work and test both their mettle and the horsepower of their vehicles. It was a place where they could push the limits of engines tweaked to perfection in relative safety, keeping such antics off the road, where innocent lives would have been at stake.

Such a facility would have little chance of survival in today’s litigious society, of course. Notwithstanding what one might read in Car and Driver or Motor Trend magazines, today’s hot rods are more about good looks than about how quickly they can reach 100 miles per hour.

For a day, though, it was nice to pretend that the cars lined up along Main Street were being prepared for a fast burn down a straight track.