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History Charlie Ryan's 'Hot Rod Lincoln"

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Cree, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. Cree
    Joined: Jun 13, 2017
    Posts: 105

    Cree
    Member
    from Montana

    charlie ryan hot rod.jpg
    Charlie Ryan, who recorded the rockabilly song "Hot Rod Lincoln" in 1955 was born on Dec. 19 in 1915. The song, a snapshot of the Western hot rod scene, was released later in 1957. I took this photo in 1973 in front of the Fox Theater in Missoula. Charlie had been hired for the opening of the film "American Graffiti" there. Apologetically, he told me his wheels had been stolen the night before and he had to borrow the set seen here to make the appearance. The red rod pictured is far more ratty and real than the version later sold at the Barrett-Jackson auction for a reported $97,000 and seems to be the original Model A body on a Lincoln chassis ("looks like a pup"). The Lincoln bumperettes appear not joined at this time. Mr. Ryan departed for that great hot rod race in the sky in 2008, but left us with a inspiring historical poem. Thanks, Charlie...drive on!
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
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  2. Kan Kustom
    Joined: Jul 20, 2009
    Posts: 2,430

    Kan Kustom
    Member

    Wow ! Very cool story and what an experience you had. When I was a young boy my parents had one of those old standup wood cased radio, 78 record player combination's and they only had two records to play on it . One was I'm a tellin you Sam that had the line, I've gotta hotrod Ford and a two dollar bill in it and the other was Hot Rod Lincoln. My Dad was not a car guy or even into music. I have no idea why they had those two records but it seems to have been quite a coincidence or meant to be that I have loved cars and hotrods since I first laid eyes on them. That record was just another milestone in my growing up. Thanks for sharing this story.
     
  3. scotts52
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,996

    scotts52
    Member

    I've been told it was written about the old Lewiston, Idaho grade. Later changed to the grapevine in California. If I recall correctly he died in Spokane, Washington witch gives creedence to the Lewiston grade.
     
  4. Toymont
    Joined: Jan 4, 2005
    Posts: 1,368

    Toymont
    Member
    from Montana

    I remember seeing that car sitting in that same place at that same movie. too bad the Fox is not still there. It was a cool old theater.
     
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  5. bct
    Joined: Apr 4, 2005
    Posts: 3,080

    bct
    Member

    What year frame would that have been?
     
  6. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 10,624

    Tim
    Member
    from Raytown Mo

    Well he took the photo in 1973, so.... 1973
     
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  7. Cree
    Joined: Jun 13, 2017
    Posts: 105

    Cree
    Member
    from Montana

    According to Wikipedia it's a shortened 1948 chassis...photo shows spring location ahead of axle.
     
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  8. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 10,624

    Tim
    Member
    from Raytown Mo

    Lol totally read year frame like time frame, not what year is the cars frame.
    Sorry Haha
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
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  9. bct
    Joined: Apr 4, 2005
    Posts: 3,080

    bct
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    Lol. I wasn't sure wtf you meant but the hamb has taught me to be kind on the net.
     
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  10. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 10,624

    Tim
    Member
    from Raytown Mo

    Good Lord I even included plenty of typos to make it hard to read my explanation haha
     
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  11. bct
    Joined: Apr 4, 2005
    Posts: 3,080

    bct
    Member

    Well i got my answer thanks @Cree

    Cool car built his way. Obviously a really creative person. We are still talking about him and his car which is as good as it gets for a hot rod builder and a musician.
     
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  12. 283john
    Joined: Nov 17, 2008
    Posts: 775

    283john
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    Far superior version of the song than any subsequent releases.
     
  13. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,270

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I saw him and one or the other version of the car at a NSRA event in Spokane in 1983 I think but may have been 84. I remember getting to visit with him a bit while I took a few photos of the car. Quite a character.
     
  14. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 4,736

    tubman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    "Hot Rod Lincoln" was actually written as a follow-up to an earlier song called "Hot Rod Race". It was about a couple of guys racing "out of San Pedro late one night" racing a Ford against a Mercury. The last line of that song says that in the end they were both "passed by kid goin' out to play, drivin' a hopped up Model A". It is tied together again in the first line of "Hot Rod Lincoln" which went : "You remember the story of the 'Hot Rod Race', when a Ford and a Mercury were settin' the pace". I'm operating strictly from memory here, so these may not be the exact words, but they are very close.

    When I was in the eighth grade in 1955, a friend who had two older brothers who were "car guys" had a 78 of "Hot Rod Race" that we played until it almost wore out. I never heard "Hot Rod Lincoln" until "Commander Cody and the 'Lost Planet Air Men'" covered it in the '60's. I didn't make the connection of the two songs until there was a feature on the car in "Hot Rod" in the late '60's or '70's.

    I'm glad the O/P included the part about Charlie apologizing for the tires and wheels on the "A"; those are ghastly and epitomize the excesses typical of the seventies.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
  15. Rand Man
    Joined: Aug 23, 2004
    Posts: 3,398

    Rand Man
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    I remember seeing a Model A at the Minnesota “back to the 50’s” in maybe ‘96. The guy claimed it was the car that inspired the song. Seemed like it had a Lincoln V12. Something looked odd about the chassis or proportions. May have been this car?


    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
     
  16. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 3,844

    BamaMav
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    from Berry, AL

    Somebody did a resto on the car before Charlie died, I remember seeing it in one of the magazines in the late 80's or early 90's.
     
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  17. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,866

    Atwater Mike
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    Oh yeah, 'odd in its proportions'. Some older 'rodders' here in the Merced area built some hot rods in the late '50s, the 'ringleader' channeled a '32 roadster and set it on a '48 Lincoln front axle. (king pin to king pin was 56"!)
    Another member of that clan channeled a Model A coupe, 392 Chrysler engine, and another '48 Lincoln axle!
    "Ugly club"...
     
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  18. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,201

    seb fontana
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    from ct

    At least they may have had good brakes!
     
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  19. yep....one of my fave songs...and an old buddy turned me on to the original - Hot Rod Race....
     
  20. rudestude
    Joined: Mar 23, 2016
    Posts: 2,348

    rudestude
    Member

    Here's the story of that race from the man that built it ..drove it ...and raced it then wrote a song about it....[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]this was from a 1992 Rod & Custom Annual
    Charlie Ryan has sense past...R.I.P.

    Sent from my QTASUN1 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  21. Apparently a lot of his wheels were stolen.
     
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  22. i.rant
    Joined: Nov 23, 2009
    Posts: 2,709

    i.rant
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Illinois
    1. 1940 Ford

    Not to hi jack this thread........
    FWIW the other song you mentioned was Mary Lou, sung by Ronnie Hawkins in 1959 or the original by Young Jessie around 1955
     
  23. Great stories and history lessons.
     
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  24. And to this day arseholes are carrying on with this tradition.
     
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  25. Charlie was from my town, Spokane, WA. The tires shown in the first pic, the wide bias plys...Jeff Allison bought those from Charlie in the late 90's/early 2000's. He kept two and I bought the other two and used them on the back of my 1960 F-100 pickup. It was my daily driver. I was probably 18-19 and really dumb (or dumber then now). I wanted the tires because they were old and cool. I found some skinny fronts. Drove that truck year round. The tires were TERRIBLE in the snow...
     
  26. gatz
    Joined: Jun 2, 2011
    Posts: 1,425

    gatz
    Member

    Saw the "Hot Rod Lincoln" at one of the car shows in Lincoln, NE many years ago.
    Altho' the V12, transplant was impressive, it wasn't in the best condition at that time....must've been before the resto.
    Charlie was there too, answering all questions; a real gentleman.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2017
  27. Toymont
    Joined: Jan 4, 2005
    Posts: 1,368

    Toymont
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    from Montana

    It looks like the same borrowed tires in both pictures
     
  28. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,866

    Atwater Mike
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    "Mary Lou" by Young Jessie said, "I had a '55 Ford an' a two dollar bill".
    The other song with "Hot Rod Ford and a two dollar bill" was Hank Williams' "Hey, Good Lookin'."
    Sorry, had to get this straight. (I still have the 45 RPM records!)
     
  29. VANDENPLAS
    Joined: Dec 14, 2009
    Posts: 2,120

    VANDENPLAS
    Member

    Arkie shibley has 5 parts to the song “hot rod race” during, after, merc, cops and the kid in the modle A cool group of tunes
    And got rid Lincoln is a kind of continuation of those songs as the begging the song refrances the merc and ford racing

    Really cool
     
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