I am sure you have all heard about the Delorean time machine, but did you know that the first time machine was a modified Model T Ford? Yes, it is true.
It was built by William “Speed” Melville during his senior high school auto shop class in 1956. Speed discovered that by adding a Hyperbolic Integrated Space-Time Ornametric Retrograde Continuum manipulator to his 1923 Model T coupe, and doing certain modifications to the engine, he could travel forward or backward in time. The HISTORC manipulator was powered by the magneto and controlled by setting the date dial. All Speed needed to do was set the dial and reach a speed of 43.7.
The citizens of Riverview were used to seeing Speed chug around in his Model T. Little did they know it was a doctored coupe. Speed was popular with the girls and got good grades in science class and auto shop. His English and social studies classes were another thing. Rusty Ferrous, who ran the junk yard, knew Speed well. Speed was always in there looking for parts for his Model T. Rusty sold him two front fenders, in pristine shape, for $15. Seeing Speed’s Model T always brought smiles, even to Sherriff Catchum.
It was not long after Speed got his HISTORC manipulator working that his great adventure began. Speed set the dial for 2156 and started accelerating down the back road. Faster and faster the car went. After 10 miles, the little coupe was shaking and rattling and had reached 43.5 mph. A few minutes later it had reached the magic 43.7 mph and disappeared from 1956 only to appear on a 10 lane freeway in 2156. Speed quickly realized that he was about to get run over by a 26 wheel truck doing 120 mph and he pulled onto an off ramp that just happened to be a few yards away. Speed slammed on the brakes and two miles later was able to slow down enough to pull into a vacant field. Fortunately, Speed had brought a change of underwear along.
Speed decided to investigate is new surroundings. He knew Riverview was back down the road, but that he dare not get back on the freeway. Speed found a little traveled road that seemed to lead toward Riverview. He recognized the name, Dusty Way. Speed realized he had better stash his coupe. A few miles down Dusty Way, Speed found an abandoned gas station. He pried open the lock with Ford tool number T-2340, and drove the little coupe inside. He covered the car with some strange blue plastic tarps that were laying in the corner. The station had been closed for many years. The price on the sign read $4,872.99 9/10 per gallon for regular.
Speed walked the few miles into town. He passed a huge shopping mall named “Rusty Ferrous Center.” The little town had not changed much. The freeway bypass had made time stand still for Riverview. The high school was still there but there was a 12-foot high fence around it with razor wire at the top. Armed guards stood at the gate. Speed walked towards where the local drive-in hangout had been.
Instead of the drive-in, Speed found a shinny, sterile hamburger joint with a golden M over the door. The sign read “Mickey Dee’s.” Speed walked in and looked at the menu. He had brought plenty of money along, $21.56. The menu read $749.99 for #3 meal. Speed sat down in an empty booth to think what he should do. He was wearing his white tee shirt, black leather jacket, and blue blue-jeans. His black hair was combed back on the sides (fenders) and forward on top, ending in a little curl on his forehead (over-the-falls). Everyone around him seemed to be talking to themselves and not paying any attention to anyone else in the place.
As speed was thinking what to do, in walked Misty Wittingham. Misty was wearing a pink ribbon in her curly blond hair, a fuzzy tight pink sweeter, a white skirt that clung to her legs, red shoes, and white socks that were rolled down. Misty liked to wear retro clothes, especially from her favorite era, the middle of the 20th century. She was something of a loaner, but got good grades in Riverview High School. The other senior girls at the school left her pretty much alone.
As Speed turned to look at Misty, Cupid’s arrow struck its mark. Misty was somehow drawn to sit down across from Speed in the booth. “Are you new here, I haven’t seen you around before. I love your outfit, where did you get it? Can I get you soda or something?”
Speed was not used to having girls offer to buy him something to eat, but this was 2156 and things had changed. He dug out his $21.56 and put it on the table. “Yea, I am new here, sort of.” he said. “I thought I brought plenty of money, but the prices are a real surprise.”
Misty looked at the antique money. “I haven’t seen real money like that except in the museum. Let me get you something. How about a #3?”
“Sure.” was the reply.
A blank stare came over Misty’s face and when her attention returned she said, “Done. They will bring it out in a few minutes.”
“But you didn’t order.” exclaimed Speed.
“Silly. Sure I did. I just used my ID to connect to the Mickey Dee computer. The funds were deducted from my bank account.”
“What’s an ID?”
“Implanted Device. Everyone gets a computer implanted at birth. Don’t you have one?”
“No. I have to tell you that I am not from here. In fact, I came from 200 years ago. See, I made this time machine to travel into the future. So what does the ID do?”
Misty sat back in surprise. Something about Speed made her believe him. “Well, the ID connects to the internet. You can send and receive text messages, make phone calls, store data, network with other computers, and lots of other things. See, most of the people here are talking to friends using their ID’s. Tell me about your time machine.”
“I built it into my 1923 Model T Ford coupe. I have it stashed outside of town. I just have to set the date on the dial on the HISTORC manipulator and accelerate to 43.7 mph.”
Misty googled 1923 Model T Ford coupe using her ID while Speed finished talking.
The #3 meal came, complete with double layer cheeseburger, fries, and a large drink. Misty and Speed split the meal.
After there was nothing left but piles of wrapping and napkins, Misty asked, “So, where are you staying?”
“You can stay at my place. There is a couch in the living room. By the way, my name is Misty, what’s yours?”
Misty was a liberated teenager. Long story, but it involves an abusive father and missing mother. Misty lived in her own apartment down by the river.
Over the next few weeks, Misty and Speed grew close, real close. They were seen every day after school at Mickey Dee’s. One day, while sitting across from each other in “their” booth, Misty said to Speed, “I just read on the internet that they found an old car in an abandoned service station on Dusty Way. It is being called the barn find of the century. They haven’t figured out how to start it. It doesn’t seem to respond to a computer link from an ID.”
Speed’s eyes grew wide. “Hey, that’s my car. Where is it now?”
“It is down at Honest John’s used car lot. He wants $10,000,000,000 for it.”
Speed grabbed Misty’s hand. “Lets go.”
Honest John owned a medium size used car lot on the south side of town. In the back was a shed with lots of cans of spray paint, degreaser, cans of stuff guaranteed to quiet noisy electric motors, some illegal devices for turning the odometer back, and cans of various kinds of polishes and waxes. There was a large battery charger in the corner and a number of tired looking batteries on the bench next to it.
Misty and Speed approached the coupe sitting in the front of the lot. It was Speed’s car alright. Misty ran her hands over the hood, opened the door and felt the upholstery. Honest John descended at the sign of potential customers. Speed asked, “Can it take it for a test drive?”
Honest John responded, “We haven’t figured out how to start it. It doesn’t seem to respond to an ID link even though it seems to have a computer.” Honest John pointed to the HISTORIC manipulator. “If you can get it started, you can take it for a test drive,” Honest John said with a laugh.
Speed jumped in. Misty jumped in besides him. “You ain’t leave’n without me.”
Speed took the key out of his pocket. He turned the ignition switch on, set the spark lever two notches down, set the throttle about a third down, twisted the mixture control 1/4 turn counter clockwise, pulled out the choke, and mashed down on the starter switch. The engine sprang to life. Honest John stepped back, startled. “What’s that noise?” No one had heard an internal combustion engine in quite a while.
Speed didn’t respond but in what seemed like a single motion, pulled the spark lever and throttle levers down, released the parking brake, and mashed down on the clutch peddle. The car took off with a jerk and jumped over the curb. Speed headed out Dusty Way with everything the little coupe could muster. He had set the date dial to 1956.
Honest John yelled after them, “Hey, come back here.”
43.1 mph, 43.3 mph. Speed looked in the rear view mirror to see a flashing light display coming up fast. Speed was doing everything he could to keep the little coupe on the pot holed road. 43.5 mph. The flashing light display was almost on top of them. In the next instant the little coupe disappeared from 2156 and appeared on Dusty Way in 1956. Speed stomped on the brake to slow the car down, just as he passed Sherriff Catchum sitting on the side of the road in his 1954 Ford squad car.
Speed rolled down the window as the sheriff approached the stopped coupe. “Good afternoon sheriff.” Speed said.
“You know, I really should give you a ticket for going 45 in a 35 mph zone, but I am going to give you a warning.”
“Thank you sheriff, it won’t happen again,” speed answered. And he meant it. The very next day he took the HISTORC manipulator out and traded it to Rusty Ferrous for some new-in-the-box transmission bands.
Well, it wasn’t long before Speed and Misty were married and had a bunch of kids. They both worked hard and saved their money. Speed built a gas station on Dusty Way, just past Rusty Ferrous’ junk yard. They bought options on the land where the freeway was to go and made lots of money. Speed built a climate controlled warehouse to keep his collection of 3 dozen Model T’s.
Everyone at the 2156 Riverview High School knew that Misty had taken off with Speed. Rumors were that they have moved to Philadelphia.
Very nice! I enjoyed reading it very much. Please don't be offended, one little ironic error caught my eye. A "loner" is someone that does not spend a lot of time with other people. A "loaner" can be known as someone (usually female) that spends too much time with the wrong people. It is a regional slang term. Besides. She sounds too nice for that.
By the way. Where is this Rusty Ferrous' junk yard? maybe that HISTORC manipulator is still there. I need one for my '24 coupe and it may fit okay.
Thank you for sharing this! I, for one, enjoyed it.
Do drive carefully, and HAPPY NEW YEAR! W2
A solid thumbs up!
Thanks for writing and sharing your story! By the way -- a T really can be a time machine even without the Hyperbolic Integrated Space-Time Ornametric Retrograde Continuum HISTORC) manipulator. At least mine was when I was a kid and they still are come to think of it.
Hap l9l5 cut off
$4872.99 9/10 a gallon for regular. Guess they never did get America to go metric.
Thanks for the correction. I should have had someone proof read it before publishing. There are other errors.
Thanks for the gift, Neil. That was fun.
When is the movie going to be out.
I'd welcome a movie on this also. The violent trash in theaters now is ruining society.
My favorite tv show was the Waltons. TV has mostly been downhill since then.
Just my opinion...
Thank you, Neil. You are certainly a gifted writer.
I dunno, Keith. "Les Miserables" we had to read in school. Isn't "Lincoln" good? How about the new FDR movie? "ARGO" was a thriller.
Thanks Neil, a wonderful and cleverly put together story. It certainly is a gift and an appropriate one for this time of the year.
Good story, Neil. Enjoyed it.
Neil, Royce needs your help in this thread: "OT - OK Royce, bring it...."
Ralph - We saw "Lincoln" and it was great. It was the awful coming attractions with loads of violence, etc. that I don't like. Is it any wonder we have commonplace violence and killings after kids watch these examples?
Neil, great story, thank you.
Ralph, no, Royce doesn't need any help (at least on the other thread ).
Keith and Ralph, we saw Lincoln yesterday afternoon. I "forced" the girls to go. Great movie about one of our greatest leaders.
Great story Neil..
You certainly have a gift of putting words together so people can envision what is happening.
My Holiday movie story --
My granddaughters insisted that I take them to the movies the day before Christmas.
They said that we needed to see The Rise of the Guardians.
When the movie started they began telling me what was going to happen next, so I asked if they had seen it before.
They both said YES and then added that it didn't matter because they just wanted to do something with me.
It took me 5 minutes to wipe the tears from my eyes.
Hobbit last night. Star Trek coming and Oz coming soon. Need to see Lincoln, too.
Great story. Thanks for sharing the fun with all of us.