Scrapbook One Hundred Forty Five…




The Bullet comes home – after sixty-five years on the road

My first car was a black, 60 hp, 1935 Plymouth Tudor sedan. It was not the deluxe model so it didn’t have a sun visor or windshield wiper on the passenger side.

Dodge Challenger Race Car 055

It was eleven years old when I purchased it in Atlanta, Georgia for $250. A thick book and a pillow were placed on the seat so I could see over the dash.

Dodge Challenger Race Car 046

I drove only at night so the police couldn’t see I was only 15. The 1,200 miles to my home in
Temple, Texas passed slowly at a top speed of 55 mph, but it was love at first sight for me. During the day I curled up on the back seat and dreamed about my beautiful Plymouth.

Dodge Challenger Race Car 066

It had no safety glass in the windows, no air conditioner or radio, no power steering or power brakes, & no power windows or turn signals. I stuck my arm out when I wanted to turn; straight out meant left and straight up meant right. I felt like I was bragging every time I signaled a turn. But I could lever the windshield up when I wanted ventilation.

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Peggy named my wonderful car “The Bullet” because she said it was shot. Out of respect, we never used that term when we were within earshot of the car.


When we were in high school, in the late 40s, I’d take Peggy home for lunch, and thirty minutes later, pick her up again. We always had a few minutes to sit in the Bullet, listening to Eddy Arnold on the portable radio while waiting for the bell to ring. Gas was 11 cents and I often pulled into a station and bought two gallons for a quarter, and saved the three cents change for next time.

When Peggy and I wanted to go out on a date, like for a burger and a movie at the Arcadia Theatre, I’d pawn my two-dollar bill with Peggy’s mother. I was always able to buy it out of hock by babysitting or mowing the neighbor’s lawn. I still have that two dollar bill, but it looks a little wallet worn. I am trying to decide where to leave it when I’m gone. Can’t be just anyplace.


When I went to Yellowstone for the summer of 1950, Peggy drove the Bullet for three months. That fall three eventful things happened, Peggy started school at the U of Houston, I joined the Air Force, and my mother did something terrible with The Bullet. When I came home on my first leave, the car was just gone, and no one was willing to talk about it. I went into mourning.

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The story is told in my book Too Far to Walk, that I’d give $250 again if anyone could find The Bullet for me. I felt outside of the hope that comes with possibility. When I mentioned it to my friend Richard Blake, who is a serious car nut and has 9 garages all in a row, he went to work. Richard is the world’s leading authority on the sun, and is a retired solar physicist from the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

It took some long months for Richard to find The Bullet’s twin brother. It was in Maryland and he successfully talked the owner into selling. With one email I came out of mourning after sixty-five years. All of a sudden, instead of feeling old, I felt like I’d ripened. It’s wonderful to refresh the memory of a friend long past.

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For many years Dr. Blake has been one of my heroes, but now I will give him a gold star to put on his bathroom mirror.

Eat your heart out, Mr. Rolls Royce.



135 thoughts on “Scrapbook One Hundred Forty Five…

    • Aw Man…!!! My first was a ’36 ply coupe. They look the same from the front and inside. My uncle Vick Muzik was a used car dealer about 1954, and he gave it too me. I was only 12 and only drove it around our farm land, not even on a public dirt road. I wish you had it when I visited you so I could have seen it.

  1. Let’s call this car “The Rocket ” it’s beautiful. 🙂

    But Please tell me that You DID NOT Retreive your Chest of Gold to purchase this LUXURY item. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. You deserve it, Mr. Fenn, Sir. That’s a beautiful machine. You get to keep all of your memories. It’s wise to stock up on the good ones.

  3. Nice Tudor, tooter, oh I get it..two door squared w/35 Elizabethan elegance. Do you ply her mouth to tune up?

    Seriously, that’s great Forrest!

  4. Oh Forrest, its a beautiful car. Glad its found a loving home with you and Peggy. That should bring back some wonderful memories for you both. 🙂

  5. There is nothing like getting your first car all over again!
    Just to sit in it and rekindle the many memories.
    So happy for you, Forrest! 🙂

  6. It’s no wonder why men started referring to their cars as female. Those curvy lines…and that grill! So sexy. I’m jealous. They just don’t make ’em like that anymore. Congrats.

  7. Great, just great. Another mystery to solve. First the ball of string, then bullet, the plane, the special item she will be surprised to see… the chest. I thought finding the first clue of the poem was difficult. I’m tossing my Indiana Jones hat and replacing it with my Dick Tracey hat.

    Colomtnman, I hear ya you. I’m a bit envious myself.

  8. Nice! Being somewhat younger, my first car was a 68 Firedbird and I wish I had not needed the money way back when I sold it out of storage so many years ago.

  9. Congratulations Forrest on getting your car back, or at least the Bullet’s brother! Take it out at night; I won’t tell.

  10. F, maybe you should’ve taken the drivers door off and looked out trough the side. All you’d have to do is watch out for other cars and tree branches. Then you could have ditched the books but enjoyed the pillow. At least, the book helped you out.

    • The tires are 45 years old and in good shape, but Richard says they are not road worthy, so we have new ones coming, made from the original forms. f

      • Forrest, really nice car. So if it is still in Maryland, because of the tires, then sounds like a road trip coming up. If you would like to swing down here to Tampa, Florida we would be happy to have you. Funny you mentioned a two dollar bill you have, I have kept one in my wallet for many years too. If you come down maybe bring your two dollars and I’ll take mine and we can get a couple of Dr. Pepper’s and sit in the shade and talk more about the car. I had a old 58 Chevy pickup that I handed down to my son. Well if i don’t see ya enjoy the “new” old ride and take Peggy to the drive-in in it. Take care Bur

      • Hello, Forrest, Sir. Thank you for sharing this story and blogging with us. Why am I thinking the new tires cost more than $79 each? 🙂

      • So many oddities and aberrations in this story. 1935 +11 = 1946. You would be 16, not 14. You drove it all the way from Atlanta, by yourself? Cranking open the windshield looks awesome! 65 years old would make the date in 2000; the tires being 45 means that the first set lasted 20 years? Amazing, just amazing!

  11. 63 Days since Forrest last scrapbook written by himself. Really enjoy reading your post, maybe this is the first of a rapid succession of scrapbooks? One can only hope…

    Fred Y.

    • Yep, white walls, and I just noticed a radio antennae on my original Bullet. Hmmm, maybe it did have a radio after all. Don’t remember. The new car has 61,000 miles so that means it was driven 762 miles a year. Maybe some little old lady drove it on Sunday to church and back, and maybe to get a Grapette at the gas station once in a while. f

  12. Wow!! I’m guessing a birthday present…’s a beauty!

    More powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, it’s “Forrest Fenn in the speeding Bullet!


  13. Gorgeous car Forrest, thank you for sharing your joy and memories of Peggy and Bullet. Can’t wait to hear your new nickname for this beauty.

  14. What an amazing automobile, then and now! It’s great to know that you and the BULLET twin are together, again 🙂

    I would LOVE a ride in an antique car like that.

  15. I can’t wait to hear the review on how it drives. Drum brakes, carburetor, etc.

    Is the shifter on the steering column?

          • I learned 4 on the floor first in my moms truck, but my first truck was 3 on the tree. I miss that truck.

        • I can still hear the sound of grinding gears and can easily conjure up the smell of burning clutch from my first hours of learning to drive.

          • It was popping the clutch and bunny hopping across the field for me while I was learning.

          • Ha! Me too, Dal. My dad was so frustrated trying to teach a clutch like me how to drive a stick shift…I eventually got it, though, and I challenge all of you to a race!

          • is there anything more embarrassing than cruising around town and popping the clutch right in front of a cutie who just caught you checking her out?

          • Jk, pl289.
            Forrest, another lovely story! Seriously, I love how you write and make your reader feel so welcome. Glad for your “reunion”.
            Thank you for sharing. 😉

          • I remember cruising for chicks out in front of school. Three of us trying to look cool in my old pickup. To my astonishment a group of lookers were waving and laughing. When I looked over at my two buddies, the one on the passenger side had ducked down to make it look like me and the one in the middle were cruising side by side! When I down shifted to escape the clutch blew. Great times !

          • Ken, you and i had the same kinds of friends growing up. I never blew out the clutch, but did get some cold-as-ice-polar-bear stares when my friend would yell out something mean and then duck his tail in the floorboard. He still always had to make peace with me after i kicked him out to go apologize to whoever it was that he being crooked. The sac-o-crap kept it up all night though. He should be glad we didn’t have movie camera’s for phones back then or he’d be in a mess right now. Kids will do the craziest stuff when they get on their high-horse. Ya’ll have a good weekend…i’m gonna go find a pool and jump in it. Texas is hot as hell this week.

  16. Sure is a purty set ‘o wheels there Mr. Fenn. You plan to race around some back roads of Texas to cover up some of that gloss and add character? 🙂

  17. Great car and great memories to relive! I think Peggy will like having a real seat to sit on. I know you both will enjoy it.
    Now give us some more clues to the chest and you can get your bracelet back. Just imagine what a THRILL it would be to ride around in that beauty wearing that Silver bracelet with the turquoise beads!!!

  18. The car has a good story to be told later on this blog. It was shipped to Albuquerque (another story) for new whitewall radials which have not arrived, so Forrest will be driving it for a few weeks locally around Santa Fe until the tires get here. We hope these old tires don’t fail in the interim. Stay tuned.

    • Richard, I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say I can’t wait to hear the stories!
      I guess Forrest should make sure he remembers to charge his “idiot phone” before he goes out driving. 🙂

        • Just an innocent question about the sun that scientists don’t really know and was hoping Richard might. 🙂

          Scrapbooks don’t contain clues, BUT, if this one did, I’d read the paragraph about Richard carefully. 🙂

          • I imagine he might offer a whole new perspective on the great pinon nut debate 🙂 lol tgif

          • Oh… is that over?

            Halogetter, I just watched that New Mexico Tourism video again and must say that I didn’t say what I was thinking. You cannot smell a pinon nut, but those who pick them know that in doing so you get pine pitch all over your hands, and pine pitch smells about the same no matter what kind of pine tree you are talking about. Looking back I think I wanted to say I could smell pine needles, not pinon nuts. Sorry I kicked a hornet’s nest with that comment. There is no clue there. Incidentally, when I get pine pitch on my hands I rub butter on the spots and that solves the problem. Of course then I have trouble getting the butter off. f

            You are right Ed, that New Mexico tourism video is getting a lot of exposure. I did not intend for my comment about pinon nuts to be a clue, and certainly no one should believe I was trying to say the treasure is hidden in New Mexico. Shame on me for saying that. f

          • Whoo hoo for Dal! I like it! He’s a manly avatar. I wanted to say something like, “I like my moose meat to coincide with how often I see em….rare.”

            Lol…all in fun! 🙂

          • Hi there Mindy .. Hope you have been well … I had our film manager send you a peak of a contract and since it has been revised … But we have had no reply from you . When you get time , please email me

      • Hi Mindy — in answer to your question, if you are into coincidences, check how often Jupiter laps Saturn relative to the sun. The location of the barycenter of the Solar System is largely tied to Jupiter and Saturn.

  19. That restoration is amazing Richard!!!
    Such a beautiful and sentimental prize for Forrest and Peggy – everyone must be Thrilled!!!
    Forrest – that story is an experience that shaped you and Peggy – but it was YOUR experience which we vicariously benefit from – together with your entertaining way of writing.
    The story helps us all to look back to the past for the events that shaped our lives and have made it a life worth living and enjoying.

    Thanks for all you have done for us,

    Respectfully Yours ….

  20. See Forrest?…sometimes it’s good that an addict never completely locks the door when walking away…good thing Richard was able to get back in 🙂
    Happy for you, sir!

  21. Great restoration on that Plymouth! Fun memories of the original “Bullet” and I’m sure the new “Rocket” has some great stories to tell too, although I’m sure there are a lot more than 61,000 miles on that “Tudor” as the odometer probably did not go over 99,999 miles. 🙂

  22. Is it Brown? and where did you “park it” ? 🙂

    JK, great story! I’m a car nut and love any story like this!


    • Nice ride Forrest! Don’t forget the phone book for Peggy. Reminds me of my first, it had a suicide clutch and you had to reach low down with your left hand and yank on the chain to grab a gear. That thing would spit oil all over south Berekly. At least it kept the dust down. If I ever get over to Santa Fe hope to see you three cruising the boardwalk.

  23. Glad to see the Plymouth on the road. One of my greatest thrills so far was restoring grandpas 1949 Diamond T pickup with my dad in the summer of 1989. Unfortunately he passed away at the early age of 65 just a few years after we got it done. However, he had the opportunity to drive it around for a couple of years and he was so proud of it.

  24. Pack yourselves a picnic basket and go crusin’ in that ’35 until you find the perfect spot to kick back, reminisce, and simply gaze upon such an incredible and gorgeous beauty ~

    The Plymouth, too!

  25. So I’m wondering if the Arcadia was an outdoor theatre, and if there’s still one around Santa Fe so Forrest can take Peggy out for a burger and movie again.
    Keep having too much fun, Forrest!

  26. Having an appreciation for cars, I can see why you loved that car so much.
    Most cars now a days have no personality, most are clones with the exception of some of chrysler’s recent cars such as the 300M wooo that is a beautiful car.

    Thanks for sharing this Forrest it reminded me why I work on cars when I can. 🙂

  27. Forrest, I’m going to use your quote “I don’t feel old, I feel ripened” from now on. That’s a good one. The car is a beauty! What wonderful friends you have. The last thing I got from my friends was a cold. Oh well. I guess some of us have “it” and some of us don’t.

  28. Forrest,

    That’s a real beauty! You should take a ride in it to your secret hiding spot, I’ll meet you there if you tell me where it is. LOL…. Nice post!

  29. Every time that I see a classic restored car drive by I have to look and guess the make model and year. If it looks original, that is even better.

    My first car was a ’62 chevy 2 Nova wagon, with a hole under the drivers side so large that I could Flintstone it. I paid $200 to a man claiming to be a writer and philosopher who said he had a following. I had never heard him, Charles Bukowski. I would go listen to some windbag called Krishnamurti and sleep in the back of that old wagon while wasting my youth on things best left unmentioned. I’ve read a lot of Bukowski now and appreciate him enough to say that his words have taken me to more places than that car ever did.

    “Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.”
    ― Charles Bukowski

  30. Glad to hear you have your car back (or at least it’s brother). I can guess at the excitement when you got that email, now we just need to hope that the rush you would get if someone knocks on your door holding the Wetherill bracelet isn’t too much for you.

    Live long and prosper (OK so I am a nerd too 🙂 )

  31. Now that’s a beautiful set of wheels Mr. F…

    Nice to have such wonderful friends…

    Of course you did pay up, didn’t you?

    Enjoy the memories!…

  32. Reminds me of a Dan Seals song “My Old Yellow Car”. i used to buy the old 1960’s Chryslers. Great big seats to sleep on. Somebody told me the Mafia liked them because “they could hold six bodies in the trunk”.

    • Take a look at me now throwing money around
      I’m paying somebody to drive me downtown
      Got a Mercedes Benz with a TV and bar
      And, God I wish I was driving my old yellow car

  33. My first was a younger brother of yours, Forrest. A 1948 Plymouth Special Deluxe, and special it was! It sported a radio, wipers and sun visors on both sides. It also had a spotlight, windshield visor, and suicide rear doors. Oh, and a necking knob as well! It sure was a great old car. Maybe when I go collect the chest next month, I’ll see if I can find it. On second thought, I’ll probably look for my second car, a ’58 Impala ragtop.

      • Those things are dangerous. If you aren’t paying attention and drive across a rut it will break your arm.

        “A brodie knob (alternate spelling brody knob) is a knob that attaches to the steering wheel of an automobile. The knob swivels, and is intended to make steering with one hand less difficult. Brodie knobs are also known as “necker knobs”, because they allow steering with one hand while necking with the passenger. One disadvantage of the knob is that after letting go of the steering wheel after going around a corner, the steering wheel spins rapidly and the knob can hit the user’s forearm or elbow. Other names include suicide knob (a reference to Steve Brodie, after whom the knob is said to be named), granny knob, and steering wheel spinner.”

  34. What a great car Fenn. I’m looking forward to the rest of the story Richard.

    If I’m remembering my car history correctly the 35 had many new innovations amongst the regular cars (Chevy, Ford, and Plymouths). Like hydraulic brakes (not power brakes) on all four wheels. A far cry from the live suspension and ABS disc braking system on all four wheels like my wife drives.

  35. You might need to drive around at night again. To see the stars and avoid the flashing lights just as you had yester nights. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and memory’s.

  36. Beautiful car! My first was a 1952 Plymouth Cranbrook with 3 on the tree!! My dad paid $250 and I pitched in $250. It was a weird pink color so me and my friends sanded it down and my uncle painted it a great midnight blue metallic! From then on it was the Blue ’52 and lots of great memories!

  37. Forrest, it must have taken a lot of marble making and guiding to come up with $250 when you were15!! Have fun rides with Peggy.

  38. “And hint of riches new and old”! Darn! When I found the treasure, I was going to buy a ’35 Plymouth and pull up in your driveway and leave it, with the bracelet sitting in the seat! Ruined my plans, but awful glad your bud, Richard, is so thoughtful! Love the story. Give Pegg a
    good ride in it!
    It looks like near your end, you’ve reached the beginning!
    ¥Peace ¥

  39. I know this took awhile, but in naming a car you can’t rush things. I suggest keeping a theme. Since “The Bullet” got it’s name because it was shot, I suggest you call it’s twin “The Scope” because she is quite the sight.

  40. It won’t be too much longer before Mr. Fenn gives “The Bullet’s” twin a spit shine and take it out on the road with his sweetheart by his side. I can see the two of them now. He’s in his jeans, white t-shirt and penny loafers and his hair slicked back, while she’s in a poodle hoop skirt, white shirt and saddle shoes with her hair pulled into a pony tail. They’ll soon be listening to their favorite song playing on the radio. 🙂

  41. OMG! If it was a snake, it would have bit me. I’ve known the hidey spot for over a year but hints like this continue to fall in place reinforcing the location. If I were to write all the hints down, the book would contain more pages than TTOTC. When you figure this one out you’ll be where warm waters halt. Thanks Forrest and that sure is a beautiful car.

          • Hi Dixie, yes it’s the one up in the hills west of Chiang Mai called Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, my wife is from Chiang Rai near the Golden Triangle but Chiang Mai is my dream retirement city, when I find the TC!

          • Cool, it is a fabulous ex-pat kinda life there! I was there two years ago…an amazing wat with lots of steps! Sorry for the aside…, back to the chase! 🙂

            Did anyone ever get clarification from fenn about the gold stars to give to his friend? For his bathroom mirror? I can only think of the gold stars we got as kids in school… But why his mirror?

          • Out of curiosity Cholly, are you ex-AF?…My AF outfit had a detachment in Chiang Mai, Thailand…Can’t remember the Det. #…

            I was a 99125 Spec. Elect. Tech. with AFTAC, HQ Cmd. USAF…only overseas for me was Det. 423 in Mindanao, Philippines…

            Just wonderin’…

  42. Sawadee Krab Sam, I was at Travis but Carter era, missed the good ole days of Siam by a few years! If I’d been in when Forrest was in I’d be giving him a shot of whiskey and asking him what all he saw up there upon his return from a sorte and briefing him on targets…. Off topic, we gonna get the round file!

  43. Sam Smith – I was a 99125-Q Lowry 1973, DET 333 1974. I remember a Sam, but can’t remember last name, was it you? Dave Congour 970.901.8757 Colorado

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