When I was a senior in high school, 1958-59, I had this 1953 4 door sedan, green and white Rocket 88 Olds, real ‘Starfire’ hub caps, straight stick, V8 4V. That Olds had very loud, beautiful pipes. It had been a constable’s car in Oglesby, Illinois,ran pretty good.
My Senior Picture 1959
(Note: I may have mentioned this car earlier in my stories. This was the car that had the heater that never worked. In cold weather my friends and I would ride around with all the windows down till it was intolerable, then close them all. . .and it would feel better. My Polish friend called it the, “Polish heater." LOL! One other flaw, besides using scads of oil, the gearshift lever had a habit of frequently popping out of the collar clip. So I only had 2nd, 3rd and neutral, until the problem was fixed. Had to make sure help was available to push if we needed to back up. But, as I said, that Olds ran damn good.)
(Note: My Pro Stock Pinto's Lenco transmission had no reverser when I bought it. I bought that race car turnkey in the fall of 1975. No reverse!? It made me think back to my ‘53 Olds. After a few PS outings with the reverser-less Lenco, it sported a new reverser, as all my future Lencos did!)
Early 76---before reverser
One day, a couple hours after school, me and my friends were drinking (illogically) the local Star Model brew as we cruised Charters Street next to LaSalle Peru (Illinois) high school. (Note: drinking age for males at that time was 21, females 18; made for some interesting relationships.) We knew some extracurricular doings at LP were just letting out so to impress our friends walking along Charters with my recently acquired hot Olds, I floored the gas with clutch in and dumped it to do a burnout on the slick brick street. Instead of an exhilaratingly impressive, smoky, rubber burning fishtail, there was this loud clankity clank, clank thumping noise and radical vibration throughout my hot OLDS. Forward motion under power ceased, what an empty feeling. (Note: It felt the same years later whenever I broke my race cars during my drag racing career, an emptiness, perhaps like missing an easy field goal in football.)
Charters Street went slightly downhill. I coasted to the next block and pulled over to the curb. Under the car, we saw the drive shaft hanging down. The front was still in the trans tail shaft but it was no longer attached to the rear end, crap!
Our classmates, on the sidewalk, who I had attempted to impress, especially the girls, giggled and said smart ass things as they walked by. I probably deserved it. LOL!
Luckily, one of my friends, we called Doc, was with me. His car was still parked at the school in the staff lot. "Go get your Chevy, Doc," I whimpered. (Note: One thing that may impress you here, in 1958-59 very few high school students in our area had their own car. In our 1959 graduating class of 300, there were probably less than 20. Our high school district took in LaSalle, Peru, Oglesby and Utica and also included a lot of rural farm areas like Dimmick, Deer Park and Starved Rock Park areas. Most of us with cars had jobs or worked on the family farm. There was no such thing as a student parking lot. Luckily, the school let those of us with wheels park in the staff/visitor parking lot.)
Doc went and got his ‘49 Chevy. My other two friends and I locked up my Olds, keeping the beer out of sight. We all got into Doc's Chevy while discretely loading the remaining Star Model quart bottles of beer in with us. (Note: Isn't it amazing how wonderful beer tasted when we were 17 or 18? All prejudice aside, our local brewery, Star Model in Peru, Illinois, was the greatest. Oh God, Star Model Bach Beer in the spring was the best ever. Then there was 8 oz. Star Model Pilsner and Sepp'l Brau Season, 36 8 oz. bottles in a sturdy, reusable cardboard case. Mostly we bought beer by the quarts. Back then most beer was still in bottles or various aluminum barrel sizes. We also had many Star Model half barrel parties in remote places. 12 oz. cans were on the cusp. Oh my!!! We had more fun than should have been allowed.)
The Star Model Brewey in it's hey day. Sadly is long gone. The beer was Star Model.
The brewey name was Star Union Brewing Co. Best beer ever. No lie.
(L) Sepp'l Brau Premium Beer - (M) This bach beer was never equaled. Stroughs came closest. The new ones like Sharl are a joke.
(R) This is one of the last logos. They finally went to cans, as an option.
This was the bottling building of Star Union. Is now a warehouse.
Closed as a brewery in 1966. Opened in 1845.