1989 - Volume #13, Issue #2, Page #18[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Parade Crowds Love This Hillbilly Dream Machine"We have loads of fun taking our Ford Roadster to fairs and parades all over the country," say Sonny and Barbara Taylor, Humansville, Mo., better known as "Zeek and Klemie", operators of the "hillbilly's dream machine", a "converted" 1930 Model A Ford.
The Taylors dress the part of hillbillies. "Zeek" wears long underwear and ragged, patched overalls held up with one strap. "Klemie" wears a black mourning dress gussied up with a scarf around her neck and a hat topped with feather plumes.
Taylc-, a retired truck driver, restores old cars as a hobby. "I had five old Model A's. I got to thinking one day that I'd like to see how bad I could make a car look. This old Model A is the kind you used to find behind barns in the' 30s. Cars in those days became a repository for all sorts of farm junk - metal files, gate hinges, barbed wire, washboards, plow shares, etc. People used their cars to move all the belongings they could - pots, bedpans, tea kettles, coffee pots - as they migrated to California or other areas of the country during the Depression."
The car's paint is somewhere between blue, black and rust. There are parts missing here and there, and rust everywhere. There are a few items that Henry Ford didn't furnish in the original car, including a car phone, wash basins, a bullet-riddled, rusted chamber pot wired to the rear end, an ice chest, a shotgun to keep Klemie from running off with a city slicker, and a mouse trap to keep the rodents from eating through the cloth-covered electrical wires. Mounted on - the back of the car is a white porcelain can, called an "enema can", used in the outhouse days.
Both front headlights contain real bird's nests. In front of the radiator and on the driver's side are "moonshine jars" - fruit jars into which parade bystanders or fair showgoers can donate "moonshine money".
The front bumper is equipped with a "single tree" - an old mule hitch - and a log chain. "The single tree came in handy whenever a Model A got stuck on a muddy country road," says Taylor. "It saved the farmer from having to haul out his own single tree to pull out the driver."
Taylor keeps one side of the hood raised, allowing bystanders to view the Model A's 4-cylinder, 40 hp engine. He uses pieces of baling wire as spark plugs. "People who own new cars with electronic ignition and vacuum control get a kick out of seeing the engine," says Sonny. "It was designed to be started with a hand crank. However, it's modified so we can start the car by kicking the tires or by dialing `100' on the car phone."
An unwary bystander leaning on a fender gets a blast from the ooh-gah horn or a siren.
The car's top speed is 50 mph. It's equipped with a three-speed manual trans-mission and a hand control gas lever - the 1930 version of cruise control. The car is equipped with 6.00 by 16 tires, introduced in the 1940's, instead of the original thinner-but-taller 19-in. dia. tires. "The balloon tires offer a more comfortable ride," notes Taylor.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, W.P. Taylor, Rt. 2, Box 185, Humansville, Mo. 65674 (ph 417 754-2666).
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