Late on a soft summer’s evening in June 1985, we arrived in the town of Örebro, Sweden a little over halfway between Oslo and Stockholm as we followed the European track circuit on its Scandinavian swing. As we made our way toward the town square, the full-throated rumble of gas-guzzling twin carbs incongruously came bullying through the centuries-old town like thunder in the drums of the ears.
Muscle cars in the land of the fair and reserved?
Even as the young and elderly with real travel purpose pedaled their bicycles in upright indifference along the swept-clean curbs, down the middle of the road came Swedish Graffiti riding atop Detroit mag wheels. We watched in wonder as raked roofs on deuce coups smacked hard along the cultural cusp.
One block up the squeal of wide-track rubber stabbed the night air as a 1966 396 El Camino breached a traffic signal’s command. Chevys, Plymouths, Pontiacs, and Buicks, all from the 1960s and `70s, roared by, resembling escaped road warriors from a California time capsule.
Glass-packed bellowing blanketed the silence of a hollow ride to nowhere as kids rode relentlessly around the same blocks, changing the same gears, flashing past the same Orebro Castle sitting in the center of its moat since 1200. The circle constricted as their pace increased.
Their future was now. Don’t think, react. Perhaps it was a good lesson for those racing on foot on the track, as well.
Tomorrow we would depart, continuing on to Stockholm for the DN Galan meet staged in the 1912 Olympic track, while the boys of Orebro would fill their tanks and cruise their narrow streets once again, not realizing that theirs would be the last generation of cars from America that would afford them the horsepower which, till now, had been their only escape.