Retorna Me, O Lead Sled Of Dreams...

Been a year or so since the 1949 Ford left Wise Acres for a makeover. Bart, who works on it some weekends and a couple nights a week, is a methodical, ex-racer safety-minded dude with a good sense of design and car looks. Also wields a mean spray paint gun. He took on the Butchmobile for a low-mileage, 1984 New Evo Harley that had been retrofied to an Indian/WWII olive drab look. And soon it will be done, the Butchmobile.

  Bart took this in Butler, MO. Soon, I will be ghosting the town square, oldies issuing from the radio, mellifluous tones from the smitty glasspaks, then the bluedot taillights will disappear like tracers in the dusk, down the two-lane blacktop...

Bart took this in Butler, MO. Soon, I will be ghosting the town square, oldies issuing from the radio, mellifluous tones from the smitty glasspaks, then the bluedot taillights will disappear like tracers in the dusk, down the two-lane blacktop...

The name comes from a similar-looking Ford I had in high school. A lowered, rumbling, primered, vapor-locking beast of a flathead V8 that attracted cops like a cow pie pulls flies out of a summer breeze. My name was Butch then. And the Ford was my car through thick and thin. Much thin. That Ford and I exploded the myth that cops couldn't chase you across the state line from Missouri into Kansas. Turned out they could, of course, would, did with impunity. One of many aha moments for me at that downy-cheeked, often misinformed stage of life.

The main apprehending cop's name was Rocky. He was a young man, and he laughed when he said "You actually believed that?"

Well, Rocky and I would meet often on the streets of Kansas City. First-name basis. His name was Sir. Mine was whatever came to mind and mood. He would search my trunk and glove box if I had passengers, just for the embarrassment it caused me. But I digress. This car is not that car, and I am not that callow youth. I'm a callow older guy.

  Here it comes, out of the past, watch out...

Here it comes, out of the past, watch out...

This Ford, this Butchmobile II, has been upgraded in every possible way, from stronger solenoids in the door-openers, to a leak in the back window that eluded Bart for over a month. The fender skirts have been reshaped to fit more aerodynamically--they were meant for a Mercury, but I wanted them on this car. The parking brake cables rubbed the air bags. Fixed. Major things like the clunky C3 trans (out of a 70's Ranchero) replaced with a recent Mustang 5-speed manual. I can hardly wait to get my hands on that. The primer-looking dull matte paint job has been glossified just a bit, still a fresh primer look, but cooler. There were rust bubbles everywhere. Gone. The automatic windows stuck. No more. The gauges have been revamped and placed for more convenient reads of the 1988 Mercury engine's activities.

The gas tank sprouted rust that clogged the fuel pump, and that's been dealt with. There went a month. First was, why doesn't this #@%^$ start? The steering wheel locked and it wasn't even a GM product. Remove pin. And much more, much more.

  Dino rode shotgun, as did Elvis, Jerry Lee, and Duane...

Dino rode shotgun, as did Elvis, Jerry Lee, and Duane...

Anyway, in the words of Dean Martin, "Retorna me, cara mia ti amo, solo tu solo tu, mio cuore" which means, of course, "Return to me, lead sled of my heart, badass car, badass car, my cruiser of night beauty."

Remember that song? It was on the charts in 1958 along with Duane Eddy's Rebel Rouser. And it was probably on the radio of Butchmobile #1, up loud, the ducktailed driver shifting into second to make the smittys pop, a KCPD prowl car turning around, its driver craning to see what makes this robust sound. Ahh, that hot rod 1949 Ford, that's what.

Siren on.