Hot Rod Lincoln

"Hot Rod Lincoln" is a song by American singer-songwriter Charlie Ryan, first released in 1955. It was written as an answer song to Arkie Shibley's 1950 hit "Hot Rod Race" which describes a race in San Pedro, Los Angeles between two hot rod cars, a Ford and a Mercury, which stay neck-and-neck until both are overtaken by "a kid in a hopped-up Model A". "Hot Rod Lincoln" is sung from the perspective of this third driver, whose own hot rod is a Ford Model A body with a Lincoln V8, overdrive, a four-barrel carburetor, 4:11 gear ratio, and safety tubes.

"Hot Rod Lincoln"
Charley Ryan and the Livingston Bros. - Hot Rod Lincoln cover.jpg
Label of the original 1955 single
Single by Charlie Ryan and the Livingston Bros.
B-side"Hank Williams Goodbye"
Released1955 (1955)
Format7-inch 45 rpm single
LabelSouvenir (SOUV-101)
Songwriter(s)Charlie Ryan

Ryan's original rockabilly version of the song was released in 1955 through Souvenir Records under the artist name Charley Ryan and the Livingston Bros.[1] A second version was released in 1959 through Four Star Records, credited to Charlie Ryan and the Timberline Riders.[2] Ryan based the description of the eponymous car on his own hot rod, built from a 1948 12-cylinder Lincoln chassis shortened two feet, with a 1930 Ford Model A body fitted to it.[citation needed] Ryan raced his hot rod against a Cadillac sedan driven by a friend in Lewiston, Idaho, driving up the Spiral Highway (former U.S. Route 95 in Idaho) to the top of Lewiston Hill; he incorporated elements from this race in his lyrics to "Hot Rod Lincoln", but changed the setting to Grapevine Hill (a long, nearly straight grade up Grapevine Canyon to Tejon Pass, near the town of Gorman, California) to fit it within the narrative of "Hot Rod Race".[citation needed]

Another version of "Hot Rod Lincoln" was recorded by country musician Johnny Bond and released in 1960 through Republic Records, with Bond's lyrics changing the hot rod's engine from a V12 to a V8.[citation needed] Bond released a sequel in the same year called "X-15", set in 1997, about an air race in an X-15 plane.[3]

Commander Cody versionEdit

A 1971 version, by country rock band Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen on their album Lost in the Ozone, became the most successful version of "Hot Rod Lincoln", reaching No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, No. 28 Adult Contemporary, No. 7 in Canada, and was ranked No. 69 on the U.S. Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1972.[4]

Other versionsEdit

In addition to Johnny Bond and Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, many other artists have recorded of "Hot Rod Lincoln" in the decades since its original release, including:


  1. ^ Souvenir SOUV-101
  2. ^ 4 Star 1733x45
  3. ^ Johnny Bond on
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-04-27. Retrieved 2016-09-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Hot Country Songs 1944–2012. Record Research, Inc. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-89820-203-8.
  6. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Allroy's Revenge". Allmusic. Retrieved 2015-03-10.
  7. ^ "The Beverly Hillbillies - Original Soundtrack | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-07-12.

External linksEdit