BY CODY FACTEAU
In light of the holidays, this week's column will be devoted to all things Christmas for the car enthusiast. Let's begin with the Christmas tree.
To most people that means a green pine tree, real or artificial, decorated in a variety of ways. You know, tinsel, lights, ornaments and the such. To a car aficionado, it typically means the tree of lights that start a drag race, the Christmas Tree. Going from top to bottom you have pre-stage, stage, yellow, green and red lights. Pre Stage is two yellow lights, side by side that are lit when you trip the first light beam at the line. (There are 2 light beans separated by about 7 inches at the start of the strip.) You are not staged yet if only the Pre-Stage light is on. The actual yellow and green lights will only start dropping after you've tripped the Stage light. When your car breaks the second bean of light at the line, then the Stage light is lit. Now you have just seconds before the tree drops, if your opponent has also Staged. The lights will now drop in descending order from top to bottom at .5 second intervals, first yellow, green and red. Leave before the green and you will get a red light, meaning you lose. But, don't wait till you see that red, if you do, it's too late. You've lost already. In a nut shell, that is a drag racing Christmas Tree.
Now, we will go on to decorating tips for the car fanatic. First, decide what he or she likes or dislikes with regards to car manufacturers. You wouldn't want to base a decorating theme on the Volkswagen if your car fan is a Chevy guy. Car parts can be used in a variety of decorating methods. Put a wire on a spark plug and you have an ornament. (Pine tree air freshener's work great too.) Fan belts make great garland, as do wiper blades. And, the twinkle lights on your tree could start with yellow on the top, green in the middle and then red on the bottom, just like the drag racing Christmas Tree. An air filter makes a nice tree topper too; you can light it if you like. A distributor cap is good too, with lights coming out of the post holes. You can also take 1/18 scale models, with functioning hoods and doors, and lift the hoods to put in a Christmas message like they do at car dealers. I have a '69 Pontiac GTO Judge, a 2010 Mercedes SLS AMG and a '70 Buick Skylark GSX that spell out Merry Christmas on display. I also decorated our tree this year with a 'My Favorite Car' theme, using Hot Wheels as ornaments and Hot Wheels track as garland. It's awesome!
Gifts for the car fan. Both Amazon and eBay have a host of cool stuff, which I now have in my Wish list. Some of the top outrageously original items include: a working traffic light, or even better a working drag racing Christmas Tree for the den or bedroom; a chrome race car fire extinguisher, for the safety minded driver; Top Gear memorabilia, like T-shirts and decals saying 'I am the Stig' for your car window (My mom got me this last year.); and for the business man in your life, a pair of 6-speed Sports car or gold Route 66 cuff links. A must have for the well-dressed man!
To all car devotees, everywhere, a Merry Car-ismas to all, and to all a Hood Night!
Cody Facteau is a 16-year old homeschooler from East Burke. He enjoys anything to do with cars, particularly the Classics. He loves Le Mans racing, his favorite TV show is Top Gear (BBC), hobbies are Legos and PlayStation. Career goals? What else, cars!