Oh, How Baby Boomers Love Their Wheels!

John Wright is a pure enthusiast.

My passion is not the four-legged means of transportation of years gone by, but the machines that made them nearly obsolete - muscle cars. The mid-60's muscle was defined by baby boomers. Sex, drugs and rock and roll may have been the undeniable theme of the day, but the snarl of a big block V8 and Vietnam could be heard in the background. The Beach Boys weren't the only band writing spirited love songs - to their cars.

Since after WWII and the 60's, hot rods and the Baby Boomer's muscle cars were everywhere. Icons such as the "Fathers of the Corvette" Harley Earl and Zora Duntov, John DeLorean - The GTO "America's first muscle car", Lee Iacocca - Ford Mustang, hot rodding's Boyd Coddington, NHRA's Don Garlits "The Swamp Rat" and Don Prudhomme "The Snake", NASCAR'S Richard Petty "The King", IMSA and SCCA's Paul Newman and Steve McQueen "The King of Cool" influenced car enthusiasts of the day.

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My father was in the automobile business and by osmosis by the age of 8 years I could name every car on the road at first glance by year make and model. I will never forget the years he was with Hawk Plymouth in Tampa, Florida and the excitement of the Golden Hawk Plymouth Fury equipped with a 350 cu in (5.7 L) Golden Commando V8 with two 4-bbl carburetors. This one started it all.

At age 15 my very first car was a Zaffron Yellow and Tuxedo Black '56 Mercury Montclair with a Thunderbird 312 V8 - Gorgeous! Time line: ('66 - '85) My list of cars owned included: '56 Two toned red and white automatic Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad, '56: 4 speed 265 V8 Bel Air coupe with power pack heads, '62 Impala Super Sport, '62 Pontiac Catalina Super Duty, '63 Mercury Comet 4 speed S-22 Convertible, '62 Impala Super Sport, '65 Chevelle Malibu SS El Camino, '66 C2 triple black Corvette Sting Ray convertible, a '59 red and white C1 Corvette Roadster, '66 Dodge Dart GT, '69 Ford Fairlane GT Convertible, '76 Triumph Spitfire 1500 and a '72 Datsun 240Z. (Our web developer is in the process of posting photos of these great cars in the near future just below this paragraph).

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In March '68 I joined the Marine Corps - it was a family thing (4th Marines, Echo 2/3 , MAG 15, 1st & 2nd MAW, Marine Wing Support Group 27 (H & MS 27). It was exciting, Parris Island, Camp LeJuene, Camp Pendleton, Cherry Point, West Pack - Oorah! I completed my enlistment in late 1971 and spent the next 4 years with National Airlines as a station agent in (Orlando) MCO, (Norfolk) ORF and (Miami) MIA. In '74, a great opportunity with the Orlando Fire Department followed. Marine Corps civil service preference positioned me on an accelerated path to a position with the department.

OFD Upon graduation from the fire academy I trained earned state certifications as an EMT, Rescue Diver and Hazmat Tech. I was assigned to Station 1, District 1, Tower 1, (a 100′ Sutphen Elevating Platform Command Apparatus). One badass peace of equipment.

I spent all of my many years with Orlando assigned to Station 1, Tower 1. Work schedules were interesting: 10 on/24 off /14 on / 48 off, 24/72 with a Kelly day, 24/48. This opportunity allowed firefighters to pursue secondary endeavors. Some were home improvement guys, others contractors, fire protection systems contractors, long distance truck drivers, registered nurses, a minister, car dealers, pilots, sign makers, insurance and real estate agents, one even joined the Coast Guard Reserve then retired as a Navy Chief on active duty another even became an attorney who later was elected as a city judge. Those who pursued their education became senior officers and a few became chiefs of the department.

I continued my education and completed degrees in Fire Technology and Real Estate Administration which led to a rewarding and successful real estate career. I eventually acquired active Florida and Virginia real estate broker licenses.

Family, career and business cars took center stage at this point though luxurious and sensible: Buick LeSabre, Mark IV, Mark V, Lincoln Continental Town Car, Thunderbird "Heritage" edition, Coupe Deville, 3 Mercedes Benz: 280SE, 280E, 300D , 2 Cutlass Cieras, 2 Ciera Estate Wagons, Cutlass Supremes,and a company Chevy 1/2 ton pickup.

4 In the planning and staging process of opening my own real estate brokerage my goal was to establish a company where my clientele would come from the public safety sector in Central Florida: City of Orlando, Orange, Seminole and Osceola County Fire Departments, Orlando, Winter Park and Altamonte Springs Police Departments, Orange, Osceola and Seminole County Sheriff Departments and the Florida Highway Patrol.

Our company name was one area fire and law enforcement members would recognize and relate to. Code IV Properties had three offices: Downtown Orlando (894-4444), South Orlando (859-9500) and East Orlando (273-2000). We incorporated in 1981 and developed into a very successful East Orlando residential brokerage known to residents of southeast Orlando such as Chickasaw Woods, Chickasaw Forest, Chickasaw Farms, Rio Pinar, Rio Pinar Woods, Quail Trail Estates and Chickasaw Oaks. We sponsored many activities and programs in these neighborhoods such as: Neighborhood Watch, Yard of the Month with complimentary gift cards at the local garden centers and movie tickets at the Fashion Square theaters, Christmas Luminaries, Halloween Parties and Hay Rides for the kids. They all loved the majestic Brazilian Stallions that pulled the wagons each year. The neighborhood children, Moms and Dads participated in the distribution complementary pumpkins provided by our company. A really well liked activity for the families and the children.mlsThen afterwards, chaperoned pizza night out for the children at Chuck E. Cheese's. We provided and delivered personalized neighborhood monthly newsletters, sponsored and provided advertising and coordinated community garage sales. In 1986, Code IV Properties was acquired by Central Florida's largest independent real estate company Emerson Realty Group. In the transition, I would become the managing broker of the soon to open University Residential office in East Orlando. I remained in that position until our family relocation to Virginia Beach in late summer of 1990.

From 1990-1998, I worked with the finest real estate company in all of Virginia Beach - Decker Realty. I studied the relationship of the Navy presence and influence in Hampton Roads economy and earned a successful presence in listing and selling residential properties. This was a rewarding experience and made and earned a presence in the community. Upon the untimely passing of the owner Thomas J. Decker I decided it was time to open my own firm.

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In 1998, Time Residential was incorporated, opening offices in the Virginia Beach Central Business District now known as the Virginia Beach Town Center. We are located in the One Columbus Center Tower and have been at this location for 20 years. We chose the location because it is easily accessible from Virginia Beach and Independence Boulevards via I-64 and the Virginia Beach-Norfolk Expressway (I-264).

Now, Let's fast forward to 2006.

Daimler-Chrysler reintroduced the rear wheel drive LX HEMI Charger and released them in 2007. The Dodge Charger was showcased at the Detroit International Auto Show later appearing in Miami Vice and Street Kings where the hook was set. WOW!! The second opportunity in a lifetime to get my hands on one of these icons.

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I purchased this car new in July of 2007 and have owned her now for almost 11 years. I must tell you this is not the factory released car. Please click onto the build link below. This car is commonly refered to locally as the Ghost of Hampton Roads for a reason. She has a stance that reeks of testosterone and challenge, a presence and sound that demands to be noticed like the loudest guy at the party. She is appropriately named "Veronica" and intimidates merely by idling.

"Veronica" is a 2007 R/T Gen III LX 426 Super Bee Recreation

Click here to view her build details at VeronicaSRT.com