The Roundhouse & The Maverick

Photo a brick Southern Pacific Roundhouse showing a logo sign, bushes and windows.
The Roundhouse
Close up of the Ford Maverick in the larger image.
The Maverick

Sounds like an 90s’ Patrick Swayze squeal to “RoadHouse”, huh?

Not in this case though. This is March of 1971 and I think San Jose, California like a lot of this box of prints. In the previous post I mentioned that Dad bought a Maverick in Houston, Texas and there is is!

Dad flew to Texas for work one way with the intent to buy a car & rail fan on his way back I recall the excitement when Mom had to go get cash and put it in an envelope and pin it in my brother’s jacket and then took him to SFO for a one -way cash courier flight. Fred was a money mule ha ha.

Dad scored The Maverick and they traveled together for a week or two.

The Maverick was a trooper folks but Dad got took. The massive unibody area above the right rear wheel (see above) was actually a PILE of BONDO that cracked less than a year later. I recall that it almost looked like a map of the USA with each state re-sectioned – more like a map of all Counties. He was pretty disappointed if I recall.

“The Mav” or “Blue Thunder” was a 200 Cu IN straight 6 with a C3 automatic and 4 wheel drum brakes and it came with Air Conditioning. The AC was dealer add on for Texas and was removed pretty soon – Nor Cal needs no AC apparently. Dad, being a hill billy from Hillsborough, Ca., removed the R4 compressor and tossed it into teh ivy in the back yard. “Screw it, the next sap that owns this place can deal with it.” ( Yeah, I am that sap and I finally tossed it in about 2005 while on an ivy eradication program.

One Mav moment was chasing a triple header on the Sierra railroad (HEY LOOK A YOU TUBE LINK) that was a real wild ride for a 9 year old kid, Dad and brother.

Looking back I feel like Ralphie from A Christmas Story except it was a hot as balls foothills day

Dad driving, brother a little too young to drive, in the front passenger side of the split back vinyl bench seat. I am in the back “seat” such as it was. Pesky – always – in – the- way seat belts safely tucked out of the way for the life of the car.

The joy of alive steam and the thrill of the case.

Get the shot – run, get in !

Let’s go … gotta get ahead and park – oh look we are pacing !

Quick take the shot!!!!

GET IT ? GREAT let’s get ahead !

(Dad drove offensively – not defensively in these moments. As a child you adapt.)

HANG ON (screech off the asphalt to the gravel wide spot), dust and gravel fly.


( Like we were over Normandy in the 82nd Airborne June 5, 1944)

In position! on the photo line! ( no camera for me, I am just a kid ) and chuff chuff chuff here they come. Click and thumb – advance click, thumb advance the Mamayia {brother} and the Pentax {Dad} like these from Google Land .

Vintage Mamiya Camera
Vintage Pentax Camera

GET IN GO GO GO GO rrrrrrrr ( well fling of dirt and gravel anyway )

5 mph, 10 mph …. 20 mph,,, 30 mph and Dad hits the clutch to up shift…. slow motion as all hell carries out on the interior.

Se the C3 is an automatic and Dad was sued to driving teh truck that was a three on the tree so a 20 mph wind up was about the max to shift; in a chase 30.

I recall that my brother was on the dashboard sort of sideways with his head against the windshield.

Dad chested the steering wheel and expelled a Ssssshhhhhiiiiittttt really loud.

I recall mashing my face Jim Carey-like against the split back of the seats – right on teh split where the 1/4″ bead blue vinyl piping came together (my mouth tastes like vinyl as I write this).

Stuff flew everywhere – cameras and film bag and jackets. Floor mats too.

Dad didn’t allow food in cars and there were no water bottles or cell phones then of course.

It dawned on Dad ( he later admitted ) that as he reset into the upright position that he had been rammed from behind, no wait the transmission seized, no wait he hit something.

No wait he slammed the BRAKE (and he always had the best brakes for safety).

We lived – no damage at all and no one behind us to hit the Pinto style fuel filler so that was nice.

I suppose I’ll have to follow up with photos from this eventful chase and more about The Mav.

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