WEIR — Just about every part of Linda Reese’s car is pieces from here and there.
Linda and her husband Larry became interested in creating a unique car of their own after Larry was introduced to the Rollin’ Nostalgia Car Club.
People may have noticed the car, which has two dancing mice painted on the doors, during the club’s car show during Frontenac Homecoming or before then, at the club’s annual cruise night at Meadowbrook Mall.
Larry’s friend belonged to a “cool car club” in Pittsburg and he nominated him to come aboard.
“When he came home and started talking about it, I was rather impressed,” Linda said.
Building cars came natural to her husband, Linda said.
“My husband was a building worker at Pittsburg State University for 30 years,” she said. “He came from a ‘not well to do family’ and had to use his imagination to fix anything with wheels or anything that you go out fishing on.”
The couple went to a Mo-Kan Dragway for a H.A.M.B. drag where they first saw a “rat rod.”
“We thought it was kind of cool,” Linda said.
That’s when they started thinking about working on their own rat rod from scratch.
They already had a few cars they’d redesigned, but didn’t create their own true rat rod until they acquired a ‘57 Chevy truck which at one time had been customized. It was purchased from the widow of a car enthusiast.
“She felt it was time, that she needed to move on,” Linda said.
Larry was diagnosed with lung cancer and he and the Rollin’ Nostalgia Car Club “guys” were determined to build him his very own Rat Rod as a bucket list item.
“Several of the guys in our car club with Larry’s help and supervision took apart the Chevy truck ... it was a blessing,” she said.
Linda said they even took him to treatments, and they would then go back to the garage to work on the rat rod. Larry succumbed to his illness in September 2017.
“I can’t speak highly enough about them,” Linda said.
The car club helped another man near Arma rebuild his Camaro before he passed away.
“His wife still drives that Camaro and shows it off,” Linda said. “It shows the quality of people in club.”
Larry and Linda’s rat rod has interesting bits and pieces built into the car, along with various personal touches. Linda did the upholstery and the painting of the two dancing rats and Larry worked on putting the parts together.
The “new and reused” parts include spot lights used for headlights, turn signals from a motorcycle, a Chevy S10 frame, the engine from a 1984 Suburban, the steering wheel came from a boat and the mudflaps are made out of a trash can.
The oldest piece is a 1931 Model A firewall.
In the trunk is a donut — a stuffed donut with sprinkles and an opossum just for fun.
They also installed two horns because they couldn’t decide on one, with Linda preferring one and Larry the other.
There are four different steps just to start the car, which Linda said was just part of being a rat rod.
The painting of the dancing rats is a symbol of their marriage — along with the type of car they built. The couple used to dance the night away — line dancing, shuffles, waltzes “you name it we tried it,” she said.
“Oh my gosh, we loved it,” Linda said. “We will dance again in heaven.”
Linda said the rat rod is something totally theirs — it is unique.
Although Larry has passed away, she said he’s still near to her and their rat rod is a reminder of their love.
“He rides shotgun,” she said. “He’s my guardian angel when he rides with me.”
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.