Clyde Appreciation. Photo by Chad Hoffman

Clyde Pride

Clyde had been sitting in a barn outside of Gadsden, in West Etowah County, Alabama, for nearly six months, with a flat front tire and a massive gash in his gas tank. He wanted to rumble his Detroit muscles, but hadn’t done so for some time under my watch. I never developed any mechanical skills, but my friend Adam has worked on cars since his youth, tinkering with his grandfather in their garage in Decatur. He put on a new gas tank in a little more than an hour, performing what seemed to me a mannish miracle. Clyde was purring again, and my passion for flyfishing culture would be realized at the Fly Fishing Film Festival at Cahaba Brewing in Birmingham the following weekend.


Roll Clyde

There are two primary fishing cultures in Alabama: 1) The esoteric and exceedingly idealistic group of anglers that enjoy flyfishing and eating greasy Jack’s biscuits before a fishing trip. 2) Ricky-Bobby types who fish with junk baits. Needless to say, tournament pros burning up the interstates and roaring across impoundments with their 250-horse motors vastly outnumber those with “tippet” on their shopping list.


Back in the Saddle

Clyde gets his groove back, in Arkansas Clyde is docked in the parking lot of Little Rock’s Ozark Angler, his big ass hanging beyond the lined allotment and his bigger-still nose hanging yards past the curb. He’s been baking in the 90-plus degrees for several hours. I yank once and then again on his heavy…


Clyde and the Shark

If you linger around a fly shop long enough on a slow day, you’ll eventually hear some crazy and creative fishing plans. My shop—Arbor Anglers in Golden, Colorado—is no exception, and on a recent afternoon in late October, the fishing plans got a little nuts. What started with: “We should find a big-ass shark-mount somewhere…


Clyde in the Keys

Clyde arrived in the southernmost tip of the continental United States this November. His first few months in the Keys were spent on a lift in a local shop where a generous mechanic glued, zip-tied, and hammered parts back on him. Eventually, I ran into his caretakers at a party. Keys were exchanged and I…


After the Storm

God promised Noah that He’d never again destroy every living creature on earth by a flood, and God put rainbows in the sky as a sign of this promise. (Genesis 9, Chapter 10, verses 9-13). But God never said He wouldn’t have Mother Nature occasionally kick us in the crotch as a reminder of what…



“ARE YOU SURE that car’s gonna make it?” the gas station employee asked, without knowing our destination. Clyde was the only one who knew the answer. Instinct and lack of mechanical competence told me to trust him.

Clyde’s Southern Revival Tour: Part III

Though separated by several hundred miles, the Ozark Mountains and Appalachia share a certain colloquial charm. Small wooden cabins with prison bars in the windows advertise cheap guns, rundown gas stations converted into liquor stores promise a sale on Sundays, and friendly folks serve barbecue on styrofoam plates. Additionally, each mountain chain sports an under-appreciated…


Clyde’s Southern Revival Tour: Part II

Last we left you, Clyde was crashing shoddy motel rooms, pounding Coors Light silos, and scarfing large Hawaiians from Pizza Hut—clearly reveling in Peach State culture—as he meandered through Georgia’s Blue Ridge mountains. Where’ll Clyde curb-check next? Here, the Southern Revival Tour rolls on.

Clyde’s Southern Revival Tour: Part I

Clyde may be of industrial-strength Detroit stock. But his love of nuclear northern winters is only lukewarm. Road salt gives him an itchy undercarriage rash. And all that ice fishing ain’t all that, unless it involves Great Lakes-size servings of Fireball. So having spent most of his winter vacay lurking in the Wisconsin Northwoods, it…


Like a (Wisco) Boss

AFTER GETTING WORD that I’d be next in line for the continuing Ride with Clyde saga, my fishing and social life took on a strange, A-list vibe. Clyde is a rock-star rig, and I suddenly became a kind of social agent for this over-forty hunk of Detroit steel.

Minnesota Fatties

“I THINK THE BEST TIRE is the spare in the trunk,” says Pete, handing me the keys. The other four tires vary in brand and age but seem to be holding air. I drop onto the seat and close the sagging door with a little extra encouragement. Amy does the same on the passenger side.…


Carpin’ and Jackalopin’ with Clyde

The flashing freeway sign reminded us that high winds had closed I-25 to light and/or high-profile vehicles. This wasn’t a problem for Clyde. Ford built him in 1974 weighing just under 5,000 pounds. Its big-block 460 engine alone weighs more than 700. We weren’t getting blown anywhere. Instead, we were comfortably cruising north riding low…


Ride with Clyde: Just Say Yes

THOUGH HE’S LOGGED some incognito years on the shaded two-lane roads of the Pacific Northwest, and rolled many an empty highway undercover in Montana and Wyoming, I can tell that, in the city, Clyde commands the attention he deserves. The turnpikes of Colorado’s Front Range are crowded with blue-collar sorts who appreciate Detroit craftsmanship and…


Fort Smith Flyby

“THIS IS A SWEET CAR,” said the friendly sheriff of Hardin, Montana (population 3,500-ish), who’d just pulled us over for a burnt-out headlight. After promising to replace the light (Fat chance!), he let us roll on with no questions asked. (Which was damn lucky on our part, because if we’d have had to find any…


Rough Ride

Clyde should be dead by now. He was pronounced dead. More than once, in fact. In February 2012, a Salt Lake wrencher put a $1,200 tranny in him and said, “He might make it through March.” In November of that same year, driver Steven Hawley emailed: “Clyde’s 460 is shot. Best quote for a rebuild…


Clyde: Naked Gun

CLYDE HAS A FLAT. I can see it from the boat ramp of Montana’s Bitterroot River. The front of the old Merc is sloping toward the passenger side, and while I’m happy to discover that there’s a spare in the trunk, I’m unhappy to discover that the jack is missing its handle. I’m unhappy again…


Ride with Clyde IX

Photos and words by Lucas Young There’s a fine line in winter steelheading between bliss and torment. If there was no hope for the first, there’d be little incentive to endure the latter. Riding in Clyde is a bit like that. In summer, he’s warm and smooth and stylish—blissful, even. But in February, with the…


Ride with Clyde VIII

Photos by Lucas Young THE LIGHT FADED and the air went still, perfectly matching the low, slack tide of the bay. Several minutes later, leaping coho, some far away, others eerily close, broke the calm. I watched my line slice through the water as I stripped, then suddenly a small wake formed where I imagined…


Ride with Clyde VI

CLYDE WAS RIGHT where Viking had left him the night before, backed into a salmonberry thicket, booze and beer resting on his hood, a lone fly box open to the morning dew. I remembered then, vaguely, showing off some new patterns by headlamp after our arrival the night before. If the fly box was mine,…


Ride with Clyde V

IN 1972 WALT “CLYDE” FRAZIER was holding down the New York Knicks’ backcourt with Earl “the Pearl” Monroe, and my dad came home one day to our suburban Connecticut home at the wheel of a shiny white Mercury Montego MX Brougham. Though it was classified a mid-size, the Montego, with its hood extending into next…


Clyde—Still Smokin’

Since Clyde spews more fumes than the collective exhale of a Dead concert audience, an upcoming emissions inspection had him sweating some serious anti-freeze. No more. The issue has been resolved thanks to scoring these sweet 5-year collector plates from DMV.

Ride with Clyde: Part III

The Sacramento There’s a special kind of summertime heat reserved for the valleys of California. Even up north, triple digits are common in the Sacramento Valley, which is where I found Clyde parked in Ryan Peterson’s driveway, its black exterior soaking up every ray in Redding. With no AC and an afternoon departure, my first…


Ride with Clyde Part II

At 37 feet long, 9,000 pounds, and three miles to the gallon, Clyde didn’t fit well in Berkeley, literally or figuratively. I passed an electric car with a bumper sticker that said, “Animals are just little people in fur coats,” and eased on toward the Sac.

Photo By: Copi Vojta

Ride with Clyde

In the fall of 2010, a 1974 Mercury Marquis by the name of Clyde joined The Drake ranks as part of Beattie Outdoor Productions’ film, When Guiding Goes Gangster. An instant hit with indy rap fans and female ex-cons—and more than 17,000 views on YouTube strong—Clyde’s entry into the flyfishing stratosphere was electric. Autograph signings…


Ride with Clyde Tour

(presented by The Drake and Beattie Outdoor Productions) The year was ’74. It was classic. Disco fever strutted its sequined jumpsuits and platform shoes. CCR’s “Proud Mary” was rolling on the river. And it marked my transition from steel slabs in Ford Motor’s trenches to a shimmering masterpiece of the open road—right in time for…

Compleat Angler
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