Flames and dead butterflies

Navajo Times | Krista Allen
Standing next to his 1979 Chevrolet Malibu Wagon dubbed “Hero,” Terry Hurley holds his dog “Star Bright” during the 4th annual Rez Car Show on June 2. Hurley’s car took first in the “rezziest rez ride” competition.

Malibu wagon is ‘Hero’ of Rez Car Show

SHONTO CANYON, Ariz.

With dead butterflies fixed to the radiator grill, Terry Hurley’s 1979 Chevrolet Malibu wagon dubbed “Hero” won this year’s “Rezziest Rez Ride” title.

It was Hurley’s first time winning the “Rez Car Show,” in which men and women compete for the coveted title during the annual Rock the Canyon Arts and Music Festival.

“The story’s that it’s lasted 23 years,” said Hurley, a retired automotive technician who built a 350 engine in the early nineties for a cousin in exchange for the 16-foot-long yellow land yacht. “It’s been through a lot, but I’ve always maintained it. And if anything goes wrong with it, I fix it.”

Powering Hurley’s wagon is a 350 small-block engine. And behind that lies a TH350 tranny, making this rez missile “street legal.”

“It has insurance,” Hurley said about the wagon. “It can go across the 50 states, and it’s pretty reliable.”

With more than 200,000 miles on Hero’s odometer, it has two engine swaps and two transmission replacements under its various belts. Hurley let his nephew, prominent artist Daniel Josley, draw flames on the hood and the front fenders.

“It does turn heads whenever we go into town,” Hurley said of the wagon, also driven by his wife, Rose T. Hurley. “The muffler’s kind of loud too when you rev it up a bit.

“I’ve seen tourists gather around (it) at Walmart, taking pictures,” he added. “Mainly tourists from Asia. A whole busload would be taking pictures of it.”

Speaking of pictures, Kelsey Yazzie Jr. entered his picture-perfect 1976 Ford F-250 pickup truck that was handed down from his father, Kelsey Yazzie Sr., whose stepfather bought the pickup brand new for around $6,700 in 1975.

“It’s really dependable,” said the elder Yazzie, who used “Green Monster” as a work truck, traveling as far as Atlanta where he helped construct the 1996 Summer Olympic venues. “I went all the way to Georgia in it. I had in it a toolbox and a welding machine.”

The Green Monster now belongs to the younger Yazzie, who uses it in the family ranch before he leaves for Marine boot camp in August.

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Categories: Arts & Entertainment
Tags: RezCar Show

About Author

Krista Allen

Krista Allen is the Western Agency Bureau reporter for the Navajo Times. She covers the western half of the Navajo Nation, including Page, Tuba City, Kaibeto, Cameron, Tonalea and Shonto. She can be reached at kallen@navajotimes.com.