What is the Dragon Wagon? The Dragon Wagon was a lime green 1982 Chrysler station wagon that a friend of mine was given by his parents circa 1986 when he got his license. This was no mere car. It was a chariot … spiriting a group of young men and women off to find parties on Friday and Saturday nights that 50% of the time didn’t exist, 25% of the time existed but had already been busted up by police, 15% of the time existed but had no beer left … but it was that magic 10% of the time when the party was still active … and had beer or other liquid or herbal spirits … that we all sought.
The car was so magical that one night the owner decided to permanently enshrine this vehicle as the Dragon Wagon by using reflector tape on the side to label this vehicle. I don’t know if it was the booze or some other muse that caused him to spell “dragon” as “dragin”. Oh, and he also tried to put the Van Halen symbol on the car, only he got the “H” and the “V” mixed up … which meant he was worshipping “Han Valen.” Laugh all you want to, but worshipping “Han Valen” is way cooler in my book.
I don’t know when this vehicle finally bought the farm. It was either when my friend struck a cable box … or it just died the type of grisly death you hear about in Tom Waits songs … but it was truly a great car. In honor of this vehicle, I am posting songs that I remember hearing in this automobile during pivotal moments of my misspent youth.
“Swan Swan H” – REM
“Cigarette” – The Smithereens
“A Forest” – The Cure
“Beautiful Girl” – Van Halen
“Can’t Get There From Here” – REM
Ahh the Dragon Wagon! Named for its metallic green scales and the title reinforced after transmission fluid started leaking onto the muffler. At speeds over 3mph it would billow clouds of white smoke over the road like a fire breathing dragon. The front bumper ripped off after hydroplaning while I tried to make up for lost waves in Hatteras over Spring Break. The first person to respond to the accident asking me, “You drunk?”
“No sir.” I replied.
“You on drugs?”