The 1970’s brought with it the last of war in Vietnam, disco music, and an impeached US president. It also saw an oil embargo and the formation of the EPA in response to the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland catching on fire…again. The last 2 were responsible for major changes in the automobile industry. Air pollution and mileage became concerns in the manufacturing of cars in this decade that lead to fast paced, defective engineering that prompted cars to lose value rapidly. Combined with poor sealants and crap paints, the majority of Michigan based automobiles were quick to gain the title of BEATERS. Pumping out junk by the millions created cheap transportation that now was available to a breed of individuals who saw another purpose for cars, entertainment. Acquisition of BEATERS that cost the new owners, 1 to 3 days of wages was common. These nocturnal nitwits came out at night and terrorized citizens by engaging in bumper tag and midnight demo derbies. If the BEATER succumbed to a catastrophic casualty, just go out and pick up a “new” BEATER the next day and locate the culprit who took you out. Wham, Bam, God Damn! During the day, the smoking brute with the flapping fenders and asphalt-eating gas leaks was available to get you to work, the bar, and maybe a trip to the probation officer, depending on your luck. The license plates had wing nuts holding them on for quick removal and they all came equipped with a totally removable stereo system. The speakers were mounted in shoe boxes with holes stabbed in them with an ice pick to emit that high fidelity sound and were thrown in the back seat. The 8-track unit laid on the transmission hump and was anchored with a 6-pack of beer. A power and ground wire with 4 feet of slack let you tap into the fuse block and instantly the tape deck started to pound out 23 minutes of Rare Earth’s GET READY. When defeated, merely scoop up the stolen stereo, pull the plates, rip off the ID tag, and split.

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