By Dan Bethune
This sweet yellow Model A coupe is the second iteration of a hot rod coupe that first hit the streets in 1981. Back in 1981, this car caused a sensation at the local car shows and cruise nights with its extensive body modifications and deep blue pearl paint. At that time, the car was named "Billie's Pearl".
The car was built by Al Brown, who anyone will tell you is a true sheet metal craftsman, gentleman, and great friend. Al can create a 32 Ford quarter panel from scratch, among his many talents. He can do magic with metal.
I remember seeing this car for the first time at the Ingersoll Rod and Custom show in 1981. The car was freshly done at that time, and it made quite an impression on everyone who saw it. I'll never forget the look on Al's wife's face when the announcer called their name for "Best of Show". Let's just say there were tears. :)
The car was involved in a serious crash many years later, and Al went back to work rebuilding it: this time in yellow.
So, I thought I knew the whole story of this little Model A coupe.
I only knew the half of it.
I learned last weekend that this coupe has had many lives.
In the 1960's, this coupe was a drag car, campaigned by Ron and Jerry Kershner: a pair of fearless brothers from West Lorne. The car was called "Rigamortis", and it ran an injected Oldsmobile. It was campaigned regularly in the early years of the St. Thomas Dragway.
Harv Humphries remembers that; if this car didn't break, or fall apart, it was likely to beat you. When it worked, nothing could touch it.
Perhaps the best story of this Model A's drag racing years, was the time that the pull truck broke down at the track. They put the truck onto the trailer, and hooked the trailer up to the Model A. The race car pulled the whole deal home to West Lorne.
Thanks to Harv, Al, and Billie for these stories.
Thank you for reading.