Now 72, Mecca was 18 when he worked the biggest newspaper delivery route in McLean to amass the cash to buy his first car, a ’53 Ford that didn’t have a working second gear. He pumped gas at Tuthill’s Texaco to pay for wheels to cruise over the bridge to Georgetown or impress the girls at Tops Drive Inn in Falls Church.
Back then, he could name the make and model of anything that zipped by. Even now, cars speak for him: “When my wife beat ovarian cancer,” he says, “I bought her her dream car,” a ’56 Chevy Nomad station wagon.
On Friday evenings at the Cruise-In, Mecca and his buddies cluster behind the ’72 Dodge Challenger and the electric-blue ’65 Corvette. They check under the hoods and trade stories about cars and women and where the years have gone.