Sweet ride

Jun 17, 2009 at 12:00 am

The current attattraction at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn is Rock Stars' Cars & Guitars 2 — the perfect museum exhibit for fans of both music and motors, featuring as it does more than 20 cars and 50 guitars from musicians spread all across the rock spectrum. And it features the world’s coolest John Deere as well! MT’s own Wonder Twins recently paid a visit to the exhibit, which runs through Sept. 7.

Laura: I haven't been to the Henry Ford in a really long time, possibly since elementary school.

D'Anne: Way to support your local museums, Laura! I went eight or nine years ago. I got a bright green, plastic blow-molded Abe Lincoln head from this machine that made them right in front of you.

Laura: Because nothing says "historical keepsake" like blow-molded plastic.

D'Anne: I might have thrown it away. Though I am certain it still exists. It is plastic, after all.

Laura: Is it just me, or is everyone who works at the Henry Ford extremely nice and helpful?

D'Anne: It is definitely not you. They had greeters. A lady knitting and smiling at us, telling us to have a nice time. Little did she know how much of that time would be spent trying to get a decent photo of the codpiece on the Gene Simmons costume in the KISS display!

Laura: Well, maybe she was knitting him a little pair of shorts. I hope so, anyway.

D'Anne: And by "him," I presume you mean the Gene Simmons dummy on display, not the man himself. God, KISS scared the hell out of me when I was a child.

Laura: You know what scared the hell out of me? That 1975 Sperry New Holland Combine that we saw right when we walked in the place.

D'Anne: Which was part of the agriculture exhibit adjacent to the Rock Stars' Cars & Guitars exhibition and not Willie Nelson's ride, as you had originally guessed.

Laura: Hey, if rock stars had any idea how badass combines were, I think we'd see Kid Rock in one now.

D'Anne: We did see Kid Rock's 1967 Lincoln Continental on display, though.

Laura: And other Detroit rockers too. The Nuge's 1995 Black Chevy Corvette ZR1 is the first car you see when you enter the exhibit.

D'Anne: A sweet ride, even if there is nowhere in the vehicle to strap down felled deer. I wonder if it has a crossbow rack somewhere.

Laura: Maybe he should look into a certain 1975 combine.

D'Anne: Get over the combine, will you?

Laura: Mark my words, it's going to be the next rock 'n' roll status symbol.

D'Anne: Speaking of status symbols, the Jonas Brothers were there. Well, their clothes on creepy headless mannequins were, anyway. And I had to stop you from licking the glass.

Laura: That wasn't at the Jonas Brothers display. That was at the Vixen display!

D'Anne: Oh, yeah, my mistake. Well, that was one hell of a coat Vixen's Jan Kuehnemund was rocking in 1988. Not to mention her guitar.

Laura: I remember you had a poster of Vixen on our bedroom wall when we were in junior high. 

D'Anne: I thought they were dudes. I also had posters of Poison, Warrant and Extreme. 

Laura: Well, I thought they were all chicks. You had extremely bad taste.

D'Anne: I am not ashamed of my past. In fact, I was sad that the white and black Jaguars in Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again" video weren't part of the exhibition. I was all geared up to sprawl out on the hoods.

Laura: I was wondering why you wore that white unitard and see-through nightgown.

D'Anne: I was so ready. 

Laura: I'm sure security would have been too.

D'Anne: Well, in the words of Metallica's James Hetfield, "In the end, you have to do what's in your heart and what you feel is right."

Laura: Yes, and apparently what is in James Hetfield's heart is a desire to drive the Barbie Dream Car.

D'Anne: I never would have expected him to drive a 1953 Buick Skylark, and in "pearl lavender" no less! Patti Labelle, maybe. But the man behind Kill 'Em All? No.

Laura: Even better, he had a guitar and amp custom designed to match his car. Just like Barbie, James Hetfield accessorizes.

D'Anne: Yeah. Judging from their cars alone, [Metallica guitarist] Kirk Hammett is definitely the butcher of the two.

Laura: His 1936 Ford "Demon" Coupe looks like a car that could come alive and kill you. Like those trucks in Maximum Overdrive.

D'Anne: That movie totally should have been part of this exhibit.

Laura: Another famous Ford Coupe on display is ZZ Top's Eliminator. I think Henry Ford himself invented that very car for the sole purpose of making his vision of the future a reality. And that vision is clearly embodied in ZZ Top's "Legs" video.

D'Anne: Amen. Not only were there cars on display, but there were also guitars — all of them owned by Cheap Trick's Rick Neilson.

Laura: Well, it sure seemed that way.

D'Anne: And don't forget his tractor.

Laura: I'm not one for yard work, but if I had a tractor like that, I would offer to clear all of my neighbors' driveways for free. The only thing that could make it cooler would be if "I Want You To Want Me" blared out as you drove it.

D'Anne: Much like how the ice cream man blares "Turkey in the Straw" from his truck. My favorite Rick Neilson guitar was the five-neck one — it would be perfect for conjoined quintuplets.

Laura: Or a man who plays like one. 

D'Anne: I'd just like to take a moment and say how thankful I am that you and I are not conjoined. I mean, think about it. You could be growing out of my head right now and I'd have to wheel you around on a little stand.

Laura: I don't know what to say right now. 

D'Anne: You don't have to say anything. We're twins.

Laura: At any rate, being conjoined would have made it very hard to look at this exhibit, seeing as how you wanted to spend all of your time oohing and ahhing over Janis Joplin's Porsche.

D'Anne: It was awesome. Like a psychotropic trip on wheels.

Laura: Well I wanted to look at the guitars. My favorite was the Futurama-Grazioso guitar from Patti Smith Group's Ivan Král. I can't believe he actually had to once bury it in a Jewish cemetery in Prague to hide it from the KGB!

D'Anne: OK, now, you've made my favorite guitar seem really shallow in comparison. But I did like Wanda Jackson's big pink acoustic guitar.

Laura: I will agree that was awesome. And also that you are shallow.

D'Anne: Thanks.

Laura: All in all, I was excited to visit this exhibit beforehand, but I liked it even more than I thought I would. And I don't know anything about cars.

D'Anne: Same here. 

Laura: And you don't know anything about music either.

D'Anne: You're obviously just jealous that I know all the words to Warrant's "Cherry Pie." [Singing] "Swingin' to the drums, swingin' to guitar, swingin' to the bass in the back of my car. …" There's even a car in the video for that.

Laura: OK, I get it. You've managed to make the connection between rock stars, cars and guitars through a marginal '90s hair-metal band. Congratulations.

D'Anne: Believe it!

Laura and D’Anne Witkowski are starring in the remake of Maximum Overdrive. Send comments to them at [email protected]