Sunday, December 30, 2007

SCREAM PUFF - 1934 Ford Hot Rod coupe

“Where were thee in ’63?”

Sure, I know it’s corny, but that’s just me. Hopefully, you’ll read a few more stories from me, so you might as well get to know me straight up.

In the fall of 1963, I met a girl who was to create a hold on me that still exists to this day. I think she’s the sweetest, cutest, hot little number that’s ever been and with a little good fortune, I’m gonna make her mine for real one day. That’s where my story starts.
Fall…1963, I was in the 4th grade at an elementary school in Memphis, TN. My dad had bought a 1934 Ford 5-window coupe in 1958 and drove it for 3 years before the motor overheated and cracked its block. By 1963, his coupe was sitting in our back yard without a motor.
That fall, Aurora Plastics Corp came out with a 2 car model set for the 1934 Ford 5-window coupe. One car could be built as a stocker and the second car could be built as a “Street Rod”. Yes, they were calling them that way back then.

The Street Rod’s name was “Scream Puff” and if you haven’t yet checked out the pictures alongside the story, she’s a hot rod…but not just ‘any’ hot rod. She’s a 1934 Ford 5-window coupe. She’s been channeled, fitted with fenders made from spare tire rings, a sectioned ’32 Ford grille, a late ‘50’s Buick engine with 6 dueces and zoomie headers, a white interior with bomber style bucket seats, whitewall tires and moon discs, a rolled rear panel, dual exhaust and a killer electric green paint job with smoke graphics. She’s a beauty.

Well, my dad saw the model set and just had to have it. He bought it home and it was then “our” project. Dad was going to build the stocker to represent his car, and it was my job to build Scream Puff. I’m pretty sure it was the first car model that I ever put together, so you can imagine what it looked like after a 9 yr old built it, but she was mine and I still recall being so proud of it and just picturing me cruising Highland Ave in it. I still remember sitting at our dining table with dad working on his car and me working on Scream Puff. It was the first time he and I had worked on any “car” together. That made Scream Puff even more special.
I think I had completed Scream Puff for only a week or so when we had one of those “Show & Tell” days at school. Well, as I usually could find a way, I even messed that up. Show and Tell day was over and done when I took Scream Puff to school to show her off…and the teacher took her away from me. Confiscated…tossed in the teacher’s desk like an old chalkboard eraser.
I was fit to be tied.
Of course I went home that night and told my folks what had happened. Now remember this was before schools got the bad rap that they have today. Parents didn’t worry much about what the teachers did – so, arresting Scream Puff didn’t really faze them. Well, the next day, I talked two classmates into running a diversion as we went filed out to go to lunch. “Charles” was sent ahead to keep the teacher occupied as we lined up for the march to the lunchroom and “Steve” was hanging back to be the lookout. I hung back long enough to sneak into the desk and rescue Scream Puff from the wicked witch… uh, teacher.
Once I had her back, I put her into my locker…my unlocked locker… in the cloakroom at the back of our classroom.
That afternoon I got ready to go home and opened my locker to get Scream Puff…and she was gone…vanished without a trace. Well obviously, there were only two other humans who knew what had happened and neither of them would ever admit to taking Scream Puff out of my locker. So there I was…no Scream Puff, and no way to get her back.

Fast forward to the night before the last day of school, some seven months later. I was getting ready for the next day and my mother asked me, “Did your teacher ever give you your car back?” “No” “Well, I’m going to go up there and get it back for you.” Uh-oh. “Well’s what happened…” and I told her about our raid to free Scream Puff from the evil overlord…and she told my dad. Bad news.

My dad had a conniption fit, to say the least. In his eyes, I had let them believe, for seven months, that my teacher still had my car. To him that was like the longest lie that I could have ever passed over on them. Now, you gotta know my dad, he didn’t spare the rod…not in the least. That night I got the worst belt whipping that I had ever known, but lying was never part of my life again…so it must have been the right medicine for the crime…and I never forgot Scream Puff. In fact, I kept the box that she came in for over 43 years. I’ve been told that Monogram still has the molds for the 2-car kit. Perhaps one day, Scream Puff will be re-released for this generation of gearheads.
Ok, let’s take another time trip – fast forward to 2006. I was cruising eBay one day and found the kit (Aurora 569) up for bid…but it was only ½ of the kit. The stock ’34 was missing, but Scream Puff was there and mostly complete. The decals were even there.
Needless to say, I had to get her, and I did.

A couple of months later, my dad had his 72nd birthday and I gave him the Scream Puff model and asked him to put it together for me. He thought I was crazy, but he said OK and put the new version of Scream Puff together. I will treasure it forever. If I ever get the money, I’ll have someone build a real Scream Puff for me and give it to my dad for the rest of his life.

We finally did fix up dad’s ’34 after I got old enough to do the work (that’s a story for another time). In 2001, he sold his coupe to me for a dollar and told me to go have some fun with it. That’s what my wife and I have been doing. We take the little coupe to all sorts of places.


ideaguy said...

You rock!! Good sutff!!

My Goodness said...


Good story...

Kellan said...

Hi, I came over from Tina's site. I'm Kellan - very nice to meet you! I loved this story! It so reminds me of my dad and grandfather and brother and my husband - all car lovers. My husband has an old (63 I think) Studabaker and a Mustang (? year) sitting in the driveway right now - working on the mustang to give to our girls when they turn 16 (they are twins). Enjoyed reading this story - hope to see you again soon. Kellan

Kellan said...

Hey - thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you again soon. Kellan