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Notes from the actual owner/driver
of the original 1970s Shadowfast super car

Artistic rendition of site author's real-life supercar (a heavily modified 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1).

1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 supercar


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BACK to Me and my Shadow supercar

Old shadow document

Above may be the oldest official documentation on Shadowfast I still possess today. I've blacked out certain info here that I consider privacy sensitive.

The Shadowfast described in the supercar driver logs was a real car. My first ever. I did build him myself. And teach myself expert driving techniques to boot. Extremely rare photos of the car may be seen here.

The many real-life events which inspired the driver logs

The GTO described in Slip, sliding away actually did play an important part in my early hotrodding experience-- or at least I believe it was a 1964 GTO, based on what I can remember, and recognize from pics available on the internet today for comparison. So in that case I'm making my 'best guess' as to the make and model encountered there. At the time I was still a novice in regards to recognizing and identifying a wide swath of auto makes. Hence the fuzziness today on the car's exact identity.

A good-sized rock in the right place at the right time has actually saved me from possible auto calamity at least twice in my life, like that one occasion described in Slip, sliding away.

The scraping escape from a high school parking lot was taken from real life too. As were quite a few other aspects of the tale. Like the girl being escorted off the parkway after a threatening situation, and some wet and muddy mayhem with Shadow. And Steve's streaking for Sienna's benefit. As well as the wild night-time drive down a large hill by moonlight alone to foil observers. Steve and I both drove all lights out on a select few night runs in those days (we weren't the only ones).

Racing Shadow against tough competition was also something I actually did in those days, as described in The Daytona 1200 and elsewhere.

Some readers may find the wild and at times seemingly lawless environment of my Tennessee home town in the accounts hard to swallow. For those I recommend reading A county of bad ol' boys By Richard Fausset (October 27, 2006, latimes.com), and/or Timeline: Cocke County Confidential By J.J. Stambaugh (August 1, 2005, knoxnews.com).

A more recent article names my home state of Tennessee as the number one poster child for outlaw activity in the entire USA. Then it goes above and beyond even that, to use my own home town/native county as the top example within the state. Another piece from August 27, 2010, lists the worst states in America for such stuff-- and so naturally includes my own at the very top, saying "Tennessee is our most corrupt state". 'TN prisoners serve less time than those in most states' by Brian Haas (The Tennessean, Sep 7, 2012) may offer up one reason for Tennessee's outlaw nature.

There's also 'Tradition' of corruption comes under siege: Investigation targets notorious county in rural Tennessee by Richard Fausset (Los Angeles Times, November 5, 2006).

Other third party references for all this include:

"Tennessee: Most dangerous

Not in the Michael Jackson Dangerous way. Just straight up “keep your head on a swivel” dangerous."

-- What Every State in the U.S. Is Worst at (Including North Dakota at Tourism) December 17, 2014

Tennessee: #1 Most Dangerous State 2014

"The violent crime rate in the Volunteer State is the worst in the country, according to the most recent full year of FBI statistics from 2012..."

-- Gallery: CNBC's worst states to live in

How Corruption Shapes State Policy by David Sirota, found 6-29-14

"Tennessee has the dubious distinction of having the worst violent crime rate in the country. The state was among the top 10 in the country for murders and robberies and was first for aggravated assaults, with an estimated 479.6 for every 100,000 residents."

-- The Most Dangerous States in America By Charley Blaine and Michael B. Sauter October 4, 2013

Deaths due to accidental gun shot are higher in Tennessee than the national average.

-- This Map Shows the Most Distinctive Cause of Death in Each State by Dashiell Bennett; May 15, 2015

"With slightly over 6.5 million residents, Tennessee was named the fifth most dangerous state by WalletHub."

-- 5. Tennessee: 10 Most Dangerous States for You and Your Family to Live In By Laurie Kulikowski; 04/25/15

In 2013 Tennessee had the second highest rate of aggravated assault in the USA.

-- 4. Tennessee: The Most Dangerous States in America By Alexander Kent and Thomas C. Frohlich January 2, 2015

Finally, you can even find stories about real life 'mad scientists' and the weapons of mass destruction they whipped up in and around my home town, in items like Welcome to Armageddon by Miles Harvey (Mar 23, 2004, Salon.com).

These pieces are by no means definitive or comprehensive in their coverage. But they do offer up the iceberg's tip pretty well.

Anyone willing to put forth the effort could delve into the archives of my own native county newspaper and decide I'm actually being conservative in my descriptions of the mayhem taking place in my home region over past decades(!) Ha, ha.

Did my best friend Steve and I ever mistake a super-slick lunatic for a possible great new friend, as related in One small taste of Hell? Unfortunately, yes. It eventually turned out to be eerily like our own version of Hitchcock's film Psycho! YUCK! I hate it when that happens! Ha, ha.

So we actually knew such a crazy rich guy? Yes (though my own definition of rich has changed since then; and in truth we encountered quite a few different crazies along the way). Did I actually witness him terrorizing an innocent black man as described? Yes. Abusing that brand new Dodge 'Cuda of his? Yes. Did Steve and I really face down scary Doberman Pinchers just outside his house? Yes. Did I truthfully get an awesome comics collection given to me out of the blue like that? Then turn around and virtually give it away, due to various psychological issues raised by events? Yes. Is it true that I really can't say for certain if the real-life inspiration for D.C. Evans is dead? Yes. I don't know one way or the other. Even in 2007. But just to be on the safe side, I assume he's alive. And act accordingly.

And the list of other real-life parallels packed into One small taste of Hell just goes on and on! But I bet Steve would today be surprised that I can remember certain details-- like his setting that three-wheeler afire. Especially since I wasn't present for that particular event. I primarily recall it because his younger brothers reminded me of it time and time again in the years to follow. For to them it was always one of the great unsolved mysteries relating to their older brother Steve. Though of course they had no inkling then that it would have any connection to this story now-- surprise! Ha, ha! (Sorry, Steve!)

Shadow and I did trek to Texas in the 1970s together, during a summer vacation from college. I truly have witnessed first-hand some scary tornadic activity in the state, which might well have killed me if mother nature hadn't changed her mind at the last minute. Shadow and I also had some less-than-perfect interactions with the law there during our stay (though I was never arrested or Shadow impounded). Did a Texas cop truly cause me a few minutes of real terror by bumping me at speed? Yes. While NOT driving an official patrol car? Yes. Did I have reason to think he might not have survived the aftermath? Yes.

I did literally live in my car in Texas for a while, even while holding down a day job as a construction worker (as described in Too close to the bone).

Yes, the scary mountain pass described in Over the edge actually exists-- and I did once spend what seemed like an eternity effectively trapped in that vicinity... Many folks would be surprised at just how rough off-road terrain street Mustangs of that era could tackle without serious damage or stranding. Steve of course out-did me by a long shot in Mustang street car off-roading (believe it or not!). He regularly astonished me with what a wide array of machines were capable of, back then-- thereby helping inspire and encourage me to push the edge of the envelope with my own in many cases.

Yes, the armed parking lot confrontation in What goes around... truly happened, and yes the guy himself did later get killed in something near identical to that same situation, only with him on the receiving end rather than me. The gruesome scene of his eventual death (where a friend of his desperately tries to save him after the shooting) is depicted as accurately as I could make it in the story.

The lengthy, drawn-out struggle between me and an unknown number of unfriendly folks which began with a truck ramming Shadow at a four way stop in What goes around... represents some real life events too.

Yeah, I had loads of fun stuff like that happening to me in those days. Agh!

a - j m o o n e y h a m . c o m - o r i g i n a l

Yes, I actually did free a woman from her ex-boyfriend's ever escalating campaign of harassment by way of a tense chess game in Texas, as described in Heartbreaker. And yes, I did witness a competing car's engine violently blow itself apart only feet away from myself and a companion when I wasn't driving (actually, I've seen more than one engine blow in battle-- but Shadow's 351 Windsor never did). The awful spectacle of another's car going out of control at high speed and instantly transforming into a rolling metal ball of death and destruction was also something I saw more than once. The accidental emergency brake activation on a Texan girl's red Cobra Jet Torino was real too. There were still more real-life parallels there-- but if you read the story you'll understand why I don't wish to list them.

Did I ever really try my luck on a delapidated "Model T" bridge like that described in Too close for comfort? One Steve helped me survey in daylight? Yes. Foolish and dangerous as it was. Did I actually have a close encounter with an advancing train whilst atop a railroad trestle? Yes! And holy crap was it scary! Was the tradition of blocking the roads up through Steve's neighborhood on Halloween true too? Yes. Do the regions represented by 'Traveler's Bend' and 'Del Gata' in my stories really exist, sparsely connected across an intervening mountain range? Yes. Did a dump of a socket set create havoc behind me on the highway? Yes. Are there still more elements of real world truth in that tale? Yes!

What about A call to arms? Did a friend and I ever drive to and then clamber up the rock-slide-controlling steel cable netting on a mountain-side in order to gain the high ground during one of our adventures? Yes. Did we undertake armed pursuit of various folks at times? Most definitely!

Did I truly have to 'thread the needle' with Shadowfast in one harrowing instance at high speed, like that described in Nowhere to go but up? Yes. To this day it amazes me that I was so in tune with Shadow's physical dimensions I could pull off such a feat. I mean, that was close, man!

Was there an actual attempted massacre in Kentucky? With at least two killed? Yes. Heck: probably more than one massacre! But fortunately the real life event which inspired Ring of fire is the only one I'm personally aware of. And as for the forest fire aspect-- that was actually a recurring theme for me and Shadow in those days, with at least several different memorable incidents relating to such fires, including some which inspired Wild horses. For east Tennessee has always had its share of fires too.

And speaking of Wild horses...is it true my friend Will's car flipped over but near-miraculously sustained little damage as I describe? Yes. That we actually carried about as many passengers as we could cram into our cars during a wildfire in our county? Yes (more than once, as I recall). That some of our gang's scariest moments had to do with Marco? Yes. And so on.

Did I ever go to truly ridiculous lengths to get a particular job, ala Black and blue magic? As embarrassing as it is to admit now, yes I did. At the time I was basically desperate money-wise, and sort of adrift regarding my life, looking for a new direction. Did I get the job? Yes. Was it the same job responsible for trapping me in the mountains of North Carolina for what seemed like forever? Yes. Did I meet with an old girlfriend and her room-mate claiming to be witches? Yes. Did Steve truly collect up election campaign signs one time as described? Yes. Did the real life politician end up in prison? Yes.

Did Shadow ever honk at me on his own, like that described in How one struggling teenager met one wrecked Mustang? Yes! Twice in a row? Yes! And was I stunned! Ha, ha. Did I have one of my worst crashes ever with Shadow while trying to save the life of the person I call "Sue Anne" in the stories, like written about in To save my world? Yes. What about So near, yet so far? Did I really haul all those girls to that concert? And was Shadow that easily mistaken for that other fellow's car? Yes to both (at the time of those events, Shadow still looked largely factory-stock).

Does the isolated mountain camp described in Lost and found really exist? Yes! Or at least it used to. It's been a long time now since I was last there; but I think I saw a brief reference to it on the TV news in recent years. The spot the camp's situated would make it very vulnerable to forest fires (which frequently occur thereabouts). So it'd be sort of amazing anything like that would last for decades up there. I can't tell you the camp's real name of course, for reasons which should be obvious from the story. But anyone who ever stayed there may well recognize it from the descriptive details. Were there truly bear problems encountered at the place? Yes. More than once? Yes. Did the mysterious mountain lodge exist too? Yes. Did I really have attractive feminine company with me on a hike to its location? Yes. Is the mountain camp now burned deeply into my memories due to time I spent there with some wonderfully accommodating companions? Most definitely! Small plane rides? Scary jeep rides? Yes, and yes. Did Steve really have me do investigative work regarding building a ski resort in the vicinity? Yes, he did.

So yes, there have been a few times that I caught a break worth mentioning! Ha, ha.

Many of you may be shocked to learn you've personally roamed some of the locations described in the supercar logs-- or else barely missed them.

For instance, if you've ever been to Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, or Gatlinburg Tennessee you've spent time in the same region encompassing my wild and wooly hometown (Don't worry! The region seems to have become much more peaceful and easy-going since my supercar days). I've actually worked self-employment gigs in both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, in the decades since. Several of the incidents related in Slip, sliding away took place on or near the two main state highways running between my hometown and those two tourist burgs.

Have you ever been just east of Knoxville Tennessee, or just west of Asheville North Carolina? That's the locales of What goes around... and Over the edge, respectively.

The vast majority of the actual wilderness treks which inspired the stories on-site took place within the Smoky Mountains national park or the surrounding area (although I did experience a handful of other interesting outdoor adventures in the regions encompassing my Tennessee college town and Texas abodes-- as well as one or two other spots).

Photo of me and a friend at one of the places described in the supercar stories.

In the photo above, me and my friend Will are standing in one of the parking areas off the parkway described in several stories on-site. I'm the one closest to the camera. I believe this photo was probably taken around the mid-1980s. Notice how I made sure the photographer didn't get a good shot of my face. Old outlaw habits are hard to break! Ha, ha.

Photo of the scenic view in day time from one of the places described in the stories.

This photo showcases the type of daylight views available from the parkway described in Slip, sliding away, Too close for comfort, and other stories on-site.

Of course I often purposely omit or change the names of local landmarks, regions, and neighborhoods in my stories to guard the privacy of myself and others. Even today, decades after my supercar antics, such details might still get me into hot water of one kind or another if I did otherwise.

Have you spent any time in Houston Texas, and spots just east of same? Like maybe near to one of the largest oil refineries in America? Then you've also tread on some of Shadow's old stomping grounds. The setting for Deep in the throat of Texas.

And of course I'd guess just about everyone in America by the age of 50 has been to Daytona Beach or the vicinity.

As for the true or exact names of my hometown, college town, Kentucky massacre town, or the small Texas town I lived in for a while, you'll have to figure those out on your own.

Yes, Shadowfast accompanied me to college too-- at least for a while

As the Shadowfast adventures I relate on-site occurred decades ago, and I sold what was left of Shadow long ago, today there remains little but some old paperwork, a few photos, a few pieces of unusual equipment, and some memories of various far-flung witnesses to certain elements, as evidence of the actual events.

However, as late as the summer of 2001 I happened to be passing by my old college town and decided to stop in at the fraternity house described in Fast times at Sigma Chi and Between a Ferrari and a hard place.

I was amazed to find the house still standing, and still boasting its attic bar. And that on the angled ceiling of that bar was mounted my giant pastel rendered painting depicting symbolic representations of the frat and its sister sorority as battle-weary knight and lion allies, surrounded by the defeated minions of their opposing greek organizations on a field of bloody battle.

I believe my signature in a lower corner was hidden by the wooden frame (or perhaps cut off in any unfortunate trimming of the large image's size over the years). But the enemy head in a puddle of blood in the foreground-- chopped from its host body cleanly through the mouth line-- was still evident.

If you've ever visited that particular frat house bar and seen my picture mounted there, you've witnessed a rare piece of my Shadowfast supercar days with your own eyes. The college is in Tennessee (I better not say any more!).

If I'm ever through there again and have a camera handy (and the image still resides there), I'll snap a photo of it to include here.

What about Breaking up? Did I truly have such a ROTC instructor at Tech? One who the official record says committed suicide while I attended that school? Yes, and yes. Unfortunately. Was the cabin camp real? Yes. The rat incident? Yes. Steve getting escorted out of class by cops? Yes. And more. Regretfully.

The VW bug described in Nowhere to go but up existed too. And actually served me in some ways even after Shadow's demise.

1958 VW Beetle bug

The above pic might illustrate what my own bug looked like when brand spanking new in 1958; it definitely doesn't show its status in the 1970s! By the time I got it, its latest white paint job looked to be brushed-on whitewash like people applied to tree trunks in those days, all the hub caps were long gone, and the whole jalopy pretty battered (and often bereft of working brakes). But it ran! Even if only on two cylinders at times (two spark plug cables would pop off randomly for some reason).

Yes, the old mystery car and astonishing junkyard described in Nowhere to go but up were real-- and maybe represented a field of lost automotive treasures

Steve and his brothers and their autos existed, but I've changed their names here. The old mystery car and the fabulous junkyard existed too. If I could tell you the make and model of the mystery car I would, but I don't know them. I do remember that among all the wondrous wrecks in that yard, brands like Buick and Oldsmobile were present, and one car model seemed to be named something like "Golden Lion" maybe.

9-8-05 UPDATE: The internet today is by no means a comprehensive repository of knowledge and images. However, I have run across a few items which seem relevant to the mystery junkyard and its unusual automobiles. From what I've been able to match up between ancient memories and internet images, I now believe some of the unusual cars there were various models of 1957 through 1960 Cadillacs, Buicks, Pontiacs, Packards, and Studebakers.

Volkswagon Beetle documentation

Above some documentation on the VW bug. I've blacked out certain info here that I consider privacy sensitive.

However, I've been unable to find imagery of everything I saw in that yard as yet. I did find a couple cars by the designation "1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk" and "1953 Studebaker Starliner Coupe" which correlate a bit with old memories of appearance and names. But there still exist gaps between what I've seen on the net so far and what I remember from back then. One surprise was coming across the image of a 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 on the net, which looks very much like one of the cars I saw in that junkyard. In 2005 a 'like new' version of that F-88 brought over $3 million at auction! The article stated it was an experimental car from Oldsmobile, which seems to verify my suspicion that some of the exotic vehicles I saw there were prototypes. How they got into east Tennessee as junkers in the seventies I have no idea. As for the F-88, supposedly only one out of four originals has survived up through 2005. Did I see one of its sister cars in that junkyard? I seem to recall it. But that was 30 or so years ago after all. Maybe I just saw something which greatly resembled it. END UPDATE.

10-21-05 UPDATE: Eureka! On 10-20-05 I was flipping TV channels and ran across a Barrett Jackson auto auction on the Speed channel. The car being auctioned off struck me as familiar. Mystery car junkyard familiar!

It turned out to be a 1962 Chrysler 300 H convertible. I recognized the front end from the junk yard. But what confirmed its junkyard presence (or that of a close sibling) all those years ago was the name "Golden Lion" for an engine option, and the fantastic glass bubble dashboard inside. One of the auction announcers referred to it as a "Buck Rogers" dash, and he was right on the money based on my own recall from the yard. Unfortunately the auction video itself didn't offer a decent view of the enormous bubble. But I did see enough to recognize the car, and jot down notes for a later internet search to confirm the possibility.

Driver's eye view of a an old Chrysler 300 dashboard

Above a driver's eye view of the dashboard. Sorry, but I simply couldn't find any pics to truly do the dashboard justice. This dash is one of those things you simply have to see in real life.

A second view of an old Chrysler 300 dashboard

Above a different perspective of the dash, offering more of a 3D view of the hood extending out over the main transparent dome, housing so many of the readouts.

Note that one reference source states the bubble was actually plastic rather than glass.

It turns out that there was a "Golden Lion" 413 cubic inch, dual four barrel carburetor V-8 used in certain Chrysler models beginning in 1959, to replace heavier Hemi engines. Some of those motors got ram air induction, hotter cams, dual point distributors, and semi-header exhaust systems (low back pressure) to achieve up to around 400 horsepower(!). One such Chrysler set a top end speed record for the time of almost exactly 145 mph(!).

By 1960 these engines were being used in Chrysler 300 series cars, which themselves began utilizing lighter-weight unibody designs such as would be used by lots of newer cars like my own Ford Mustang years later, for improved performance due to less dead weight being lugged around. In 1961 the speedometers on these cars went up to 150 mph, apparently to account for a change in rear axle gearing which slightly increased their top end potential even more(!). The suspensions and tires in 1961 were substantially toughened up as well. Factory stock these potentially option-laden luxury(!) cars would do a quarter-mile in 16 seconds.

In 1962 the cars got a wider variety of engine choices and were both shortened and lightened for better performance across-the-board (the lightest hardtop falling to around 4000 pounds, and convertibles being about a 1000 pounds heavier than that), even as the ultimate stock horsepower available was bumped up still more(!). The 1962 Chrysler 300 H model would end up representing the pinnacle of performance for the line, it appears. Or did it?

Forbes magazine said "...the baddest 300 was the 300H of 1962...", and that Chrysler cranked up the 300 line to start with as a competitor to Ford's new Thunderbird of the era. Motor Life Magazine said "...the 300-G enjoys individual distinction in having been created for rugged, long-lasting road work... superb handling, at the sacrifice of a gentle ride, makes it a pleasure to push through twisting mountain passes and narrow roads. And it doesn’t take any coaxing to run the speedometer to 140 mph...". The same magazine indicated the car actually ran much better at higher speeds than low (something like the winged 1969 Dodge Daytona Hemi monster described in The Daytona 1200). Other comments included "...exceptionally fine handling and performance on the highway...".

But the Detroit News in 2005 called the 300 H's immediate predecessor (the 1961 Chrysler 300 G) the "most powerful car of its day".

[References include "http://www.musclecarclub.com/musclecars/chrysler-300/chrysler-300-history.shtml", "http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Features/articleId=102565#7", "http://www.moparstyle.net/history/300.htm", "http://www.forbes.com/2002/01/07/0107vow.html", "http://www.geocities.com/chryslerscars/300testi.html" and "http://info.detnews.com/joyrides/story/index.cfm?id=532"].

My original memories of the mystery car had grown fuzzy over the years, and sort of slowly gotten mixed up with the imagery of the other remarkable vehicles I'd seen sitting along-side it in the yard. With the help of these latest leads though I'm starting to believe the mystery car I wrote about in 2004 in Nowhere to go but up was actually a 1961 or 1962 Chrysler 300 (G or H model) or even the very similar but maybe even faster but letterless 300 Sport Series edition-- or something awfully close to one of those.

My main confusion stems from whether the mystery car had tail fins or not, or was an actual letter series. My recall of the point is jumbled by the preponderance of finned cars in the junkyard, as well as the fact the 300 retained fins until 1962. And I just plain cannot remember if there was a "G" or "H" designation on either the junkyard car or the running one, when I saw them.

It's been maybe 30 years since that car passed me and a virtually factory-standard Shadowfast on a twisty road in the dark of night. But for years I've harbored the impression that the vehicle sported rear tailfins.

Based on the specs available online and my own experience with the mystery car as described in the story (that's another true life event recounted there), I believe it most likely I was dealing with the lighter hard top model of the 300 H, utilizing at minimum the 400 horsepower 413 engine, with a possible top end of 145-150 mph.

Keep in mind the car offered up surprising performance specs plain stock from the factory. If one of them had been beefed up still further in the engine and/or suspension departments by its owner, then the plausibility of a 1962 Chrysler 300 H actually doing what I saw the mystery car do goes from possible to maybe even probable.

But alas, the H model had no tail fins! So maybe it was the 1961 300 G?

My logic prefers the 300 H simply to help explain the extraordinary performance the car exhibited. But the 300 G wasn't all that different in the drivetrain and suspension specifications, after all. So it might well could have performed similarly, despite being a bit heavier and longer.

And that's another thing. In my memory the car seemed longer than the 300 H images indicate. So maybe it really was a 300 G after all. END UPDATE.

A front three-quarter view of a 1961 Chrysler 300 G

Above is a front three-quarter view of a gorgeous 1961 Chrysler 300 G, such as I believe stunned me in the 1970s with its speed and handling prowess. Surely any resemblance to the original Batmobile is purely coincidental. Most folks who saw this car might never ever have seen its front end: just its rear. Recall that my own main memory of the front view and dash stems from seeing one stuck immobile in a junkyard.

A tail end view of a 1961 Chrysler 300 G

Something like the tail end view above is probably all most witnesses to the car's passing ever saw. And most probably got only the briefest of glimpses even of that (due to the car's horrendous speed). Again, any resemblance to the original Batmobile is surely wholly coincidental.

In 2005 I'd be surprised to see Clive Cussler had his fictional adventurer and auto aficionado Dirk Pitt buy a car closely related to this one, in the 2004 novel Black Wind. A 1958 Chrysler 300-D.

A true-life interstate calamity never mentioned in any newspaper or TV report

Some of the very scariest (at least for me) aspects of the story Nowhere to go but up are based on real experiences too: including the amazing cover up within hours of a massive altercation on a major US interstate highway which had resulted in a huge debris field, including an unknown number of wrecks and casualties, that caused a massive traffic jam for at least around an hour or two at the time. As described in the story, to my knowledge no reports or explanation for the incident were ever seen in the media. But I know it happened. And I know of surviving witnesses besides myself to the event. But even the witnesses were so taken aback by the lack of news coverage that I would hear them questioning their own recall of the day within only weeks of the event.

a - j m o o n e y h a m . c o m - o r i g i n a l

If it's not on TV or in the newspaper, did it happen? It's scary to think that real events can be so easily erased from history. Especially in America. It makes you wonder just what else is being swept under the rug out there.

In further reference to my description of the coverup in the story text, I should tell you one more thing: in the story I say I revisited the carnage scene the next day. In truth, I was back there again only maybe FIVE HOURS OR LESS after the pandemonium ended. And yes, the massive, mysterious cleanup was already complete by that time! It was like someone had run over the whole place with a giant vacuum cleaner. And no, there were no signs at all of the clean up crews or their equipment. But the truth of the timing of my return (and the cleanup) seemed far too unbelievable to include in the story itself. Heck: I saw it, and I can't believe it!

Swept under the rug:

Things someone somewhere thinks it best you don't know

| Coming Soon! |

Build a legend

I believe I've adequately changed enough about real life events in the stories so that I'll not raise the ire of anyone in particular. Plus, my last run with Shadowfast ended so many years ago, many of the folks which may have had some connection to the actual events are likely dead of natural (or other) causes, or surely wouldn't care any longer about my posting here. But if you learn of me having an unfortunate accident or going missing sometime after this appeared online, then maybe I didn't change enough...

My old Special Solutions for Special Problems business card

Above is a scan of an old business card of mine. I've blacked out certain info here that I consider privacy sensitive.

I really did and do hire myself out for various purposes, having been self-employed for a very, very long time now. Some of my stints involved various safety and security related jobs, and I used weapons and radios and Shadowfast at times in those tasks. There was even a brief period in my young life when I employed a personal bodyguard of my own, due to various concerns-- though ironically I ended up saving him rather than him saving me, when the real threat materialized. 'Special Solutions for Special Problems' truly was printed on my business cards. And yes, more than once someone I worked with soon ended up dead. In at least one instance the local authorities officially classified it as a murder. The list of folks I personally knew who were maimed for life in some way while performing job tasks virtually identical to my own, is far far longer. And all this is true despite my personally never having officially served in any military capacity beyond US ROTC in college, and no law enforcement agency beyond college campus security. Yikes!

It's dangerous out there, folks.

In all the years I owned the real Shadowfast, I personally only took one photograph of the car that I can recall. And that one was prior to any of the custom work I did on the vehicle. But my notes indicate I may also have taken a later one related to an insurance claim. I have no copies of either of those photos today. In those days I avoided snapshots not only of my car but myself too. Why? Well, I was pretty busy. I also saw little use in photos in general, as I had friends and family who maintained drawers and boxes full of photos almost no one ever looked at. And heck if it wasn't expensive in those days to be snapping pics of everything you did! I had far better uses for the money in regards to building and equipping Shadowfast. Heck, I can honestly say devoting my meager funds to more substantial things rather than photos at the time may well have made the difference in me surviving up through today! Lastly, I deemed myself something of an outlaw in those days, and felt it advantageous to have minimal identifying photos of myself and Shadow available, just in case the authorities (or someone else) ever came after me for some reason. Ergo, that's why I today have far more rough design sketches of Shadow-related modifications, than actual photos.

The true source of this page is

There were fortunately a few others snapping photos around that time. Else I'd have no photographic evidence at all today. A friend took two of those seen on the site today, while my dad likely took the third.

My best friend Steve may or may not have had a photo of Shadow among his possessions at some point, but the old Cadillac carrying all his stuff after college graduation to his first engineering job burst into flame and burned up everything. The other friend who gave me two of the photos you see today on-site may also have had another snapshot or two of Shadow at one time. But as he's moved around an awful lot since those days, and last I heard was in China(!) on a construction job, I'd say my chances of getting such a shot from him now are pretty slim.

I've put out the word to family members to be on the look out for Shadow in old photos in their possession, so I can post them here if found. But the current three may be all that ever turn up.

I did change the name of the car for the stories. The actual name was Shadowfax, after Gandalf's steed in The Lord of the Rings, which I'd been very impressed by in high school (Yeah, yeah, I am and was a geek, I admit it).

But a recent examination of notes from the time shows I considered both names early on. So basically they can be used interchangeably for our purposes here. Plus, I find that now in my old age I much prefer the name Shadowfast, as it's more original than the other.

I realize my junking out and selling Shadowfast at the end (another truth) may sound horrifying to some pony car aficionadoes. I admit that even today I occasionally fantasize about having Shadowfast rebuilt for me-- though it would be very, very expensive. Some of the components like the original drive train may be virtually impossible to re-assemble now in anything like their former glory, even for huge sums. And newer versions would likely be hobbled by far more pollution controls (and lower quality parts) than the original, too.

But let's face it: as of 2004 fast cars no longer have a real place in America. If you drive them, you must do so like an old lady, as US roads are bursting at the seams with traffic; choked interstates in metropolitan areas these days can resemble overflowing parking lots more often than they do highways. Some experts are predicting traffic jams so bad in years to come that some people will be stuck for days, and forced to abandon their vehicles.

Plus, I'm a lot older now, and desire safety and comfort rather than high lateral G-forces and fast zero-to-sixty times. My interests have changed. Hopefully for the better. For the truth is that high speed driving can result not only in injury or death to the driver, but to lots of innocent by-standers as well. And often for the most trivial of reasons. For these days (for the vast majority of us) there's rarely a good excuse for excessively high speed driving on a public highway. Even if there's sufficiently light traffic to permit it.

One of the real-life incidents which helped temper my enthusiasm for fast cars is described in the story Heartbreaker, when I raced around a sweeping curve entering a straight-away, at around 100 mph I believe (maybe faster). Suddenly there was a school bus stopped before me, unloading kids. The terrain and the curve had hidden it from sight before. Trying to stop within the intervening distance would have simply sent me out of control. Even stomping on the brakes with both feet wouldn't have sufficiently decelerated me in the distance I had available.

Luckily I was able to pass the bus in the opposing traffic lane since there were no on-coming or stopped cars there, and there were no kids walking across the road at that instant. But it sickened me to think of what might have happened otherwise. I also at other times witnessed horrendous wrecks and the aftermath of high speed accidents by others. Saw lots of lives snuffed out or ruined, for really no good reason at all.

I honestly can't believe how lucky I was during my own lengthy high speed stage of life. I came within a razor's edge of death or dismemberment numerous times. But fortunately I never knowingly suffered significant injury from my high-speed shenanigans, or inflicted it on innocent bystanders-- though a good friend of mine cracked some ribs while a passenger in Shadow, during one scary episode; his injuries seemed to stem from the sheer violence of our manuevers, as I don't recall the car being damaged in his area at the time. Perhaps he wasn't belted in. It may be that I too experienced various injuries during these escapades but didn't realize it: for today I'm told I have eye damage which could have come from an auto accident-related concussion (but I recall instances of robust fisticuffs too which may have been equally damaging. Tsk, tsk). Plus, there's an odd asymmetry in my collar bones and/or shoulders, which I never noticed until sometime after I no longer possessed Shadow. I do remember feeling very sore all over for days after certain exploits in Shadow-- could it be I broke or permanently misaligned something along the way and simply didn't realize it? Possibly. I must try to remember to ask a doctor about it if I get an X-ray in that region for something more pressing in the future.

Today many law enforcement officers in the USA routinely engage in high speed pursuits of various folks. Such pursuits are often official policy of the local departments, and completely legal. But innocent bystanders all too often die or suffer grievous harm as a by-product of these pursuits. And often it turns out the person the officers were chasing had done nothing more than been scared and begun running once the police turned on their lights, or else was guilty of some very minor violation of the law, prior to the chase. Nothing at all worth the risks of a high speed pursuit.

Many (perhaps most) police officers are men. We men must guard against the temptation all high speed chases have for our kind. Fight the urge to pursue (or run) at high speed unless it appears really and truly to be worth the risk to innocents along the way.

Plus, even where a chase might involve a proven dangerous criminal, I suspect there's many instances where a high speed chase is obsolete, as someone can just radio ahead to set up a road block or stake out the crook's likely destination or various haunts, and apprehend them there-- perhaps even on foot. These days we've got tire punching straps which can be laid across the road ahead of a felon to slow down his car, and lots more techniques besides.

I personally hope high speed police pursuits are severely limited in number and duration by law nation-wide, as soon as possible. They're just too dangerous for innocent folks. And too tempting for males on both sides of the law to partake of, given the slightest excuse.

All that being said, let me assure you I still prefer and enjoy unrestricted access and high speed in travel which is unfettered by various ownership or authority elements-- so long as I can do the driving myself, and it's reasonably safe for innocent bystanders.

But such an option just isn't available on US highways these days. At any price. And hasn't been for a long time now.

So in the years after junking Shadowfast I set upon a new design goal: a personal VTOL (vertical take off or landing) aircraft.

But that's a whole other story...

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