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Happy birthday, Gertrude

FALLBROOK — Bill Scopis and his wife Annabell lived in Seattle in the early ’70s and it was there that Gertrude found them.

Scopis overheard one of his staff mention that her husband was taking the old car to the wrecking yard that afternoon. He asked about it and found it was a 1959 Ford. He had one in ’59 so he asked for a look at it.

He was thinking that he could fix it up and use it as a go-for car in the business. A while later, the neighbor said her husband was out at the back, so Scopis went to look. Well, there it was: smoking, steaming, shaking and running on four (it’s a big eight)!

Scopis looked at the front, side and rear broken windows. The right front was all caved in and was history. It had four bald – almost flat – tires, no wheel covers and rust everywhere.

The only undamaged parts were the rear bumper, the left front fender and the radio, which worked.

Scopis bought the car for $50, received the pink slip and became the proud owner of a total wreck.

As the man was leaving, he turned and said, “Oh, don’t turn it off. It won’t start again and it won’t back up either.”

Scopis’ wife came out to see his treasure, walked around it, checked the interior, looked at him with an expression of total disbelief and went back inside.

He spent the next year in junk yards finding parts to restore Gertrude. They drove her cross-country and to Canada and put many miles on her.

Scopis was going to name her Annabell after his wife, but she flatly said, “You are not going to name that wreck after me,” so she was happy with Gertrude.

Gertrude turned out to be a great car and after all this time, she still has her looks and a fine disposition.


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