Under The Hood

Klassic Kenny: Kenny shares a laugh with the Wisconsin Highway Patrol

Charm and a cool old car can get you out of a bind

Retired Old Cars Weekly Research Editor Kenny Buttolph is famous for a lot of things, including his heavy right foot and the sort of natural charm that almost always gets him out of a speeding ticket. I’m just not that lucky, so I find the following tale particularly entertaining. Kenny must like it, too, because he’s told it to me (and probably others) on many occasions. Our latest “Kenny Kronicle” goes something like this:

Kenny was barreling down one of the many two-lane roads between his house near Iola, Wis., and nearby Plover when he found his 1953 Chevy Bel Air convertible’s toothy grille facing an oncoming highway patrol. If you’re not from Wisconsin, you should know that if a Wisconsin State Highway Patrolman goes through the effort to get out of their patrol unit for a traffic stop, he or she is going to issue you a ticket.

Here's how I imagine the scene the evening Kenny was stopped by the Wisconsin Highway Patrolman in his 1953 Bel Air.

Here’s how I imagine the scene the evening Kenny was stopped by the Wisconsin Highway Patrolman in his 1953 Bel Air that evening so many years ago.

Well, Kenny knew he was going fast enough to guarantee being stopped by the highway patrolman and pulled his convertible onto the side of the road and waited. Sure enough, the patrolman whipped his patrol car around and slid up behind Kenny with the lights on.

When the patrolman approached Kenny seated in the convertible, he asked, “Do you know why I stopped you?”

Figuring he had little to fear, Kenny replied with a grin, “You didn’t stop me – I was already stopped.”

The patrol then said, “I clocked you at 87 miles per hour,” to which Kenny replied, “Oh, is that all? It will go faster than that!”

The pair chuckled and the patrolman recommended Kenny not drive such a nice old car so fast or he’d ruin it. After he issued his verbal warning, the patrolman began to head back to his patrol car when he suddenly stopped. He turned his head over his shoulder and said to Kenny, “And I didn’t see those (illegal) ‘blue dots’ in your taillights, either!” and winked.

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A nice view of the 1953 Bel Air convertible taken many, many years ago. He no longer has the car, but he does have the factory-air-conditioned 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Beauville station wagon in the background. The Anglia in the foreground was sent to a mechanic for an engine transplant that never happened. That Wisconsin-based mechanic has since passed and the car was absorbed into his salvage yard where it may still remain.

A nice view of the 1953 Bel Air convertible taken many, many years ago. He no longer has the car, but he does have the factory-air-conditioned 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Beauville station wagon in the background. The Anglia in the foreground was sent to a mechanic for an engine transplant that never happened. That Wisconsin-based mechanic has since passed and the Anglia was absorbed into his salvage yard where it may still remain.

Kenny's 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible. Note the 'blue dot' tail lamps and the black convertible top. Kenny and Old Cars Weekly founder Chet Krause often swapped cars back and forth, and Kenny eventually sold the car to Chet. When Chet's collection was liquidated in the mid 2000s, this black top was still on the car. I couldn't tell you who the kids are.

Kenny’s last photo of his 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible. Note the ‘blue dot’ tail lamps and the change to a black convertible top. Kenny and Old Cars Weekly founder Chet Krause often swapped cars back and forth, and sometime after this picture was taken, Kenny sold the car to Chet. When Chet’s collection was liquidated in the mid 2000s, the black convertible top was still on the car. I couldn’t tell you who the kids are.

 

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