When your dad’s a mechanic and you’re growing up in the rural town of Goderich, ON, well, let’s just say you will learn a few things and come across some pretty skookum cars.
Take Saginaw Spirit defenceman Jake Ringuette, for example.
“Since my dad’s a mechanic, I grew up around cars and I like the old cars more than the new ones.” Indeed, the fact that his dad is the proud owner of a 1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS puts him right up there in the upper echelons of car aficionados.
“It’s a pretty cool car, man” Ringuette says of the 180-horsepower Monte SS, which was Chevy’s entrant in the NASCAR circuit of the day, driven by the likes of Geoff Bodine, Darrell Waltrip (that year’s champion) and yes, the late great Dale Earnhardt. “It only comes out 10 times a year. But she’s got a 305 in her, and she purrs.”
Of course, by today’s standards, 180 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque aren’t huge figures for a muscle car (not when the upcoming “hot” version of the Ford Focus hatchback will likely make more than a 300 count of each). However, the fourth-generation Monte – to which the ‘85 belongs – was really the last one that kept the muscle car vibe, before the Monte became a soft-edged FWD jellybean in its darker latter years.
Ringuette’s experience with the Monte, however, was enough to give him the muscle car bug, exemplified by what he lists in top spot for his dream garage: an Oldsmobile 442 “in dark blue with a pistol-grip shifter”.
We’ve talked about Chevrolet, we’ve talked about Oldsmobile, but now we turn our heads to yet another GM brand – Pontiac – that features in Ringuette’s actual garage, as opposed to the fantasy one.
He wanted a black one that had been listed, but had to settle for the white car pictured here.
“It’s got enough room for my hockey gear, it’s got a good engine, and it’s good on gas,” says Ringuette of his ’07 G6, purchased in May of last year.
Luckily for Ringuette, the car came with snow tires, which were of huge importance when you consider the winter that ravaged Eastern Canada and the United States.
“They’re a life-saver,” he says.
As far as his team is concerned, well, they drew the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the first round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs and the Spirit lost in four games, but the Spirit are a young team, so chalk this one up as good playoff experience; Ringuette says that they’re the youngest team not just in the OHL but the entire Canadian Hockey League.
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