Thankfully I never stole a car or motorcycle. I’ve never had reason to. That bit of info needed to be shared before telling the rest of this story.
Kids growing up in the 1960’s should remember “V-RROOM MOTOR”. A V-RROOM MOTOR is a plastic replica of a motorcycle engine made by Mattel Toy Corporation. The motor fit between the frames of bicycles. Children lucky enough to have one were big stuff back then.
The device had a battery-powered motor inside, emitting a roaring sound equivalent to that of a Harley-Davidson. At least that’s what Mattel claimed! It required a special key to operate. A couple of older kids at school had bikes with V-RROOM MOTOR’s. They parked them in a bicycle rack outside my classroom window.
One day at lunch a group of us boys were standing around listening to the machines. It was a guy thing. I asked to fire one up and was told,
I’ve always had a problem with the no word.
During our VRROOM demonstration I’d taken notice that the special key didn’t look so special. A lightbulb immediately went on. The next day I brought a pair of mom’s nail clippers to school. I suppose a student these days would be arrested for such.
Before lunch ended, I walked over and tried inserting the swivel file from the nail clippers into bike ignition. It fit perfectly. Turning switch to ‘ON’ position, the motor roared to life. In panic I yanked the clippers out and dropped them.
The V-RROOM continued to roar as I hustled back to my classroom. Thankfully the boy owning the bicycle was in a different section of the building. For the next hour I heard the motor running and not missing a beat. Unfortunately before school let out, the batteries took a dive.
The following day my teacher held up mom’s clippers. She wanted to know if anyone lost them. I was smart enough to know what the woman was up to. Thankfully no one raised their hand. They would’ve been nabbed had they done so.
Often times while in my garage I stop to ponder,
“Had there been Duracell lithium batteries back then, would that VRROOM MOTOR have made it to the last bell?”