In the late 1950s, a teenager's most coveted item was a driver's license. It gave every 16-year-old relative freedom, but it also gave some teens a permit to do stupid things with what amounted to a four-wheeled weapon. In a small Midwestern town, that license was a way to explore surroundings, an opportunity to show off, and for a few, akin to signing a death certificate. When the newness of automobilia in general wore off, the next step was to “soup up” a car. Speed was the game, and fearlessness ran rampant: How good a driver were you? How fast could the car go? Seeing how many opponents could be beaten in illegal drag races on the streets and highways was weekend “sport,” tempered only by carnage left in the wake.These stories reach back to a time when a driver's license and a hopped-up car were easily the most important things in every teen's life…and the heartache of every parent.
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