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March 23, 2013 by Hot Rods by Boyd

Our Vern Luce Coupe Reunion and Adventure

A couple of days ago I received a call from Grant Peterson and Thom Taylor from Hot Rod Magazine. The Vern Luce Coupe was in town and they wanted me and my brother Gregg to drive if out to the LA Fairplex in Pomona, CA for the Hot Rod Magazine Homecoming. Stoked beyond words I accepted without hesitation. For those that don’t know the Vern Luce Coupe was the car built over 30 years ago that launched my father’s career and started the Boyd Look and the billet movement. The car has been in Australia with it’s current owner for a number of years and Thom and Hot Rod Magazine made the arrangements to bring her out for the show.
So Gregg, Shane and I roll over to Hot Rods HQ and garage in El Segundo, CA. Hot Rod Magazine’s garage is a pretty cool set up but it was hard to check it all out once we walked in the door because we saw the coupe and were immediately distracted by it’s presence. I was only 6 years old when this car was built but I remember it well. Very little was changed from the last time I saw it and that was nice to see.
Gregg and I decided to toss a quarter to see who would drive it and he won the toss. Decked out his in vintage Grand National Roadster Show shirt featuring the Vern Luce Coupe and our dad’s old snake skin boots Gregg slid behind the wheel. It’s been at least 30 years since those boots touched those billet pedals. Sitting inside the cab brought back a lot of memories. Even being twice the size now as I was back when I last sat in the coupe it still was comfortable. Gregg fired the engine and we pulled in behind Grant with Shane bringing up the rear to venture out into LA traffic. For those outside the area this part of LA is pretty hectic. It’s really close to LAX and some of the nicer south bay beach communities and the traffic gets pretty bad. Once on the 405 fwy the car felt pretty good. I could really see the enjoyment in Gregg’s face as we merged into traffic and moved down the highway. So many memories of sitting in the passenger seat while my dad took me out for rides in his hot rods came to my mind.
We started to hear some noises and being a little paranoid about getting her there in one piece we pulled over. Nothing major just some noise we attributed to the drivers door moving a bit on the bumps. We transitioned onto the 91 fwy and about 5 miles down we saw smoke coming from the right rear. Not good. We safely pulled over to the side of the road and I jumped out. My first thought was “Oh NO, FIRE and no extinguisher”. Luckily I was wrong and as we ran to the back of the car we realized right away that the passenger side carrier bearing in the upright was blown. Not wanting to leave it on the freeway we limped it off down the offramp and parked it in a Best Buy parking lot. It was a bummer. A short lived trip and a bit of a disappointment as both Gregg and I wanted to see it all the way to the Fairplex in Pomona. As we sat in the parking lot waiting for the tow truck we got to really look the car over and just appreciate the history of it all. Thinking about how the car and what it did for my dad and our family and the hot rodding industry made me really appreciate everything. To think that my office is in the exact place that this car was built over thirty years ago and that I see the original Thom Taylor rendering that this car was built from made me really reflect on my father’s career and give thanks to him.
Thanks to Thom Taylor, Grant Peterson, Hot Rod Magazine, and Gary and Wendy Brown for letting Gregg and I drive 15 miles down memory lane.