Hot Rod Lincoln hotrodlincoln



  - Hot Rod Lincoln -
The Car behind The Song

Ray Pfob

Ray Pfob


" Hot Rod Lincoln "


" Hot Rod Lincoln "

My Pappy said,
"Son, you're gonna' drive me to drinkin'
If you don't stop drivin' that
Hot Rod Lincoln"


Have you heard this Story
Of the Hot Rod Race
When the Fords and the Lincolns
Was settin' the Pace?

That Story is true,
I'm here to say
I was drivin'
That Model A

Got a Lincoln Motor
And it's really souped up
And a Model A  Body
Makes it look like a Pup

Eight Cylinders,
And uses them all
Got Overdrive,
Just won't stall

With a Four-Barrel Carb
And a dual Exhaust
Four-eleven Gears
They really get lost

And Safety Tubes,
And I ain't scared
The Brakes are good,
And the Tires are fair

Pulled out of San Pedro
Last Night
The Moon and the Stars
Was shinin' bright

Was drivin' up 
The Grapevine Hill
Passing Cars
Like they was standing still


All of a sudden
In a Wink of an Eye
A Cadillac Sedan
Passed us by

I said,
"Boys, that's a Mark for me!"
By then the Tail Light
Was all I you could see

Now the Fellas ribbed me
For bein' behind
So I thought
I'd make the Lincoln unwind

Took my Foot off the Gas
And Man alive
I shoved it on down
Into Overdrive

Wound it up
To a hundred and ten
My Speedometer said
That I hit top ten

My Foot was glued
Like Lead to the Floor
That's all there is
There ain't no more

Now, the Boys all thought
I'd lost my Sense
And Telephone Poles
Looked like a Picket Fence

They said,
"Slow down! I see Spots!"
The Lines on the Roads
Looked just like Dots

Took a Corner;
Sideswiped a Truck
Crossed my Fingers
Just for Luck

My Fenders were clickin'
The Guardrail Posts
The Guy beside me
Was white as a Ghost


Smoke was comin'
From out of the back
When I started to gain
On that Cadillac.

Knew I could catch him,
I thought I could pass
Don't you know by then
We'd be low on Gas?

They had Flames comin'
Out from the side
Feel the Tension,
Man! What a Ride!

I said, "Look out, Boys,
I've got a License to fly!"
And that Caddy pulled over
And let us by

Now all of a sudden
She started to knockin'
And down in the Dips
She started to rockin'

I looked in the Mirror;
And a Light was blinkin'
Cops was after my

 Hot Rod Lincoln

They arrested me
And they put me in Jail
And called my Pappy
To throw my Bail

And he said,

"Son, you're gonna' drive me to drinkin'
If you don't stop drivin' that

 - Hot ... Rod ... Lincoln -



Charlie Ryan is a musician, songwriter and a car guy. In the late 1940s, he purchased a used 1941 Lincoln Zephyr four-door sedan. After a couple of years, he decided to make a hot rod out of it.

He removed the Zephyr body, cut two feet off the frame to shorten the wheelbase and dropped a 1930 Ford Model A coupe body on it.

At first, the car was painted black with red wheels. Charlie installed a '48 V-12 engine in it along with the 3 speed + overdrive '48 transmission.

The car has a lot of Lincoln touches on it, including cut-down Zephyr bumpers, a Lincoln emblem on the radiator, an the Lincoln greyhound radiator ornament.

The interior has a narrowed '41 Zephyr dashboard. At first, the car was painted black with red wheels. Later, in 1960, the car was repainted red.

It was repainted again in 1986 in Datsun Z-car red. Charlie says, "The paint's the only Japanese thing on it."

While he was working on the car, Charlie was thinking about the song. By the early 1950s, he had the lyrics worked out and began performing it. Charlie Ryan recorded 'Hot Rod Lincoln' in 1955; it was released as a single by Souvenir Records in 1957.

It became a major hit in many regions of the United States. While traveling to perform, Charlie and his wife Ruthie often took the Hot Rod Lincoln on tour. By 1960, it needed another engine. Charlie installed a 1939 Lincoln V-12; that's what's in it now.

Other car songs were written before Charlie's, everything from 'My Merry Oldsmobile' (1903) to Jackie Brentson's 'Rocket 88' (1951 - and, with Ike Turner on keyboard, it's considered by many to be the very first rock n' roll song).

But 'Hot Rod Lincoln' was the first car song to become a major hit and make the Billboard top ten list.

'Hot Rod Lincoln' has been performed by many artists - Johnny Bond had a regional hit with the song in 1959; Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen covered it in 1972. In the 80s, Asleep At The Wheel did a very nice version. In 1995, Jim Varney (Ernest) recorded a cover which was used in 'The Beverly Hillbillies' movie.

Today, at 83 years old, Charlie Ryan is semi-retired - but he still occasionally performs the song. The photo above was taken at the Lincoln & Continental Owners Club's 1994 National Meet in Silverdale, Washington.

Charlie brought the car and gave a live performance of 'Hot Rod Lincoln' -- to the cheers of a room filled with over 300 Lincoln enthusiasts. Charlie and Ruthie (married 62 years) have been awarded lifetime memberships in our Club.

They spend their summers at their Spokane, Washington home - their winters are spent relaxing in Arizona. And, after all these years, they still have the car.

We hope that Charlie will never "quit drivin' that -
Hot ... Rod ... Lincoln


(Copyright 1999 Joseph M. Sherlock.)

Sung ( SPOKEN ) By
Ray Pfob

"Ray Pfob"

 Recorded By
Ray Pfob
On February 14th.  2005 - 3:05 PM


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