A Valient Steed for Young Knights

Shimpy, myself, and Don in front of the Island Water Sports store with the Hell Wagon.

Shimpy, myself, and Don in front of the Island Water Sports store with the Hell Wagon.

How many movies or television shows can you think of that a car was just as an important of a character as the people themselves? We have Dukes of Hazzard with the General Lee and there was also Starsky and Hutch with their famous muscle car. So a good car can compliment the story that is being presented.

In my late teens, a car was acquired by my buddy Shimpy. Although we all had vehicles of our own, they mainly were discarded for adventures in our car that was dubbed,”The Hell Wagon”.  I do have to say our car because of the amount of time we spent driving around in it and the car was known by many.


The car evolved over the years or maybe devolved would be a better term. Towards the latter years, the car had many features not found in ordinary cars. It showcased a spray painted engine. There were no cushions on the seats so you had to place cushions behind you when you sat down. The rear view mirror sat on the dashboard and you could pull down the back seat and crawl into the trunk if need be.

This car also had wonderful works or art that was carved into the special oxidized paint that would appear on any body part that touched it. My favorite was where someone keyed a picture of a person losing their lunch and under the picture it said, “Chunks”.

Go Speed Racer!

Beach driving really takes some special skill. Driving on the beach during a high tide takes even more skill. Sadly, New Smyrna Beach and Daytona Beach attracts many unskilled drivers whose lack of skills threaten to torpedo not only their car but yours if you can’t take the correct route with the correct amount of speed. There is only a few precious feet of feet of driving space to make it the mile to the road.

Thankfully we had the Hell Wagon.

The car sped through the ocean spraying the line of cars one by one who were stuck behind the slower out of towners. The cars honked and people made obscene gestures but we were in no mind to worry about them…we had to make it to the ramp before the beach disappeared for good.

We also did not worry about the items that people left at the water line. Lawn chairs, plastic buckets, and even sand castles were crushed beneath the vehicle.

Of course we made it to the beach ramp.

Women Love Cars!

What a beauty!

What a beauty!

Looking back, I have no explanation why some beautiful girl would agree to speak with someone who owned such a vehicle or even ride in such a car – but they did.

Sometimes we laughed as they looked down at the blue paint on their clothes and their faces scowled as they tried to understand where this problem came from.

Even a few went out on dates in the car as well.

Maybe they understood that the car was something special…like that car, Christine.

Times, They are a Changin’!

Maybe it was a symbol of the impending transition to adult hood. The Hell Wagon fell ill. It’s driving became labored and soon we were thinking of the famous scene in Old Yeller. Maybe it was time for her to be put out of her misery.

Joe sold The Hell Wagon for a pretty penny. I think it was around 200 dollars.

An era had come to a close.


About 1stpeaksteve

Welcome to The Side Wedge! The Side Wedge is a product of the journey through life of Steve Zima. Former professional surfer, a writer, surf coach, and hospitality manager. This is a collection of travel tips, motivation, and stories from my past. Finally, I offer surf coaching through The Side Wedge. Please feel free to contact me with questions if you want to improve your performance today! Thanks for reading!
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2 Responses to A Valient Steed for Young Knights

  1. Mulletkiller says:

    Brings back fond memories of the Golden Chariot or do you remember the Silver Bullet, where the floor board were rusted through with such said drives at high tide? Hey it fit 3 people and 6 boards “comfortably” all that mattered.

    • 1stpeaksteve says:

      We all drove some horrid vehicles. I remember the Silver Bullet. My Escorts were something to behold as well.

      Like you said…the only purpose was to get to the beach with boards inside.

      And some surfers.

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