In A Shoebox…
Some time last year, I wrote a feature for Hop Up on Lee Pratt’s ’49 Ford coupe. It was the third time I had written a feature on the car. That’s absurd when you think about it… I mean, when is a scoop done scooped? How many times do cars really need to be featured – especially when they debut in The Rodder’s Journal?!
Hell if I know the answer to that question… I only agreed to keep writing about the car because I loved it so much. Saturation be damned and publications be repetitive.
Years ago I went on a road trip with Lee in the shoebox. Somewhere in Oklahoma we hit a crater in the passing lane of I-35. The impact shelled the oil pan of the flathead and, as a result, the car sat in my in-law’s garage for a couple of weeks until Lee could send for it. Of course, I’ve written about that before and if you’ve read any of the features I’ve done on the car, you know all of the other stories as well.
I don’t think I can stomach writing yet another piece on the thing. So, I won’t… But, a few weeks ago opportunity came calling and I was faced with a decision. I ended up buying Lee’s shoebox and it’s now sitting in my shop. It’s a really weird feeling owning another man’s car, but I’ve grown into it. It’s also a really un-familiar feeling owning an honest-to-goodness custom car. I mean, I’m a hot rod guy. I’m growing into that too.
So what is this post if not a feature? I guess it’s just further narcissism for an old coupe that has saturated your pages too many times already. Even mother nature seems against the idea. I’ve been trying to shoot the car for a couple of weeks now and when I finally got on location, I was met with wretched light. I fought that off as best I could only to get rained on mid-shoot.
So screw it… I give up. Enjoy the shitty payoff from my time on a wet hill somewhere west of weird:
The real question here is: what do I do with such a legendary car with a provenance that is pretty much set in stone? Most of you guys probably know this car in its previous form when it was painted in colors reminiscent of the Larry Earnst Chevrolet. Hell, I’d bet most of you prefer it in that guise. I stand on a different line. In fact, one of the reasons I’ve always loved this car was Lee’s enthusiasm for constantly changing it while maintaining the same cerebral trajectory. I think I was one of the few people that wasn’t truly surprised when he painted it again last year. To me, it just made sense. Lee’s always moving forward while looking back.
I, however, don’t have the same energy as Lee. I’m really smitten with the car as it stands and have no plans to make any major changes. Instead, I’ve been making some minor mechanical improvements and driving the shit out of it. It’s so comfortable… and because Lee is a traditionalist, it’s also a really simple car. And because it’s simple, I feel 100% comfortable working on it.
And so I’ve come to realize that yeah, this is the Lee Pratt Shoebox… but it’s also just an old car. And now, it’s mine.