In the movie "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown," Charlie Brown goes to a Christmas tree farm to pick out a tree for the school play. When he returns with a spindly, dilapidated weed, his friends laugh in disbelief. Charlie Brown couldn't even pick out a decent Christmas tree. "What a blockhead!" they exclaimed.

Rodney Carter of Shady Shores, Texas, can relate to that experience. Except in his case, Rodney was a different kind of blockhead--a big-block head.

"I found (the car) in a junkyard in Houston, Texas, in 1977," Rodney begins. "The cost was $125, and being 18 years old with not a penny to my name, I tried to hock my trumpet. But I was caught by my mother, who then loaned me the money. My friend, John Miller, and I went to purchase the car and promptly began to make it run by installing an oil pan, oil pump, and starter. We limped it home and pulled into my parents' driveway and began to hear the laughter from the neighbors, family, and even my girlfriend, Sherry.

"John and I immediately started to tear apart the engine and found it had several bent pushrods and two broken (ones). With an $8 investment in pushrods, we adjusted the timing and were shortly roasting the Bird's tires. Four buckets of soapy water later, you could clearly see all of the body damage. The driver's door and left quarter-panel were caved in from a broadside hit. The right quarter-panel was damaged along with the trunk, which was bowed up. There were several small dents all over the body, but the good news was there was very little rust.

"A couple of months later," Rodney says, "we threw a seat cover over the torn interior, spray-painted the replacement driver's door, and proudly took the Bird to its first outdoor car show. We received several questionable looks and all-out shocked expressions of why we even bothered."