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The ageless Silver Streak car returns 80 years later

'I could tell you and you would know I was a fool or I can keep it quiet and you can think me as a fool'

John Butte won’t say how much he paid for a 1926 Model T that he purchased back in 2011. 

“I could tell you and you would know I was a fool or I can keep it quiet and you can think me as a fool,” said the Illinois native.  

But whatever the price tag, it was an easy decision to invest into a car that truly seems to be priceless to Butte.  

You see Butte’s Mother and his Aunt traveled more than 70,000 miles in the vehicle which was called the Silver Streak.   

Back in 1937, they came to Callander to meet Dr. Dafoe and see the Dionne Quintuplets play.  

So 80 years later Butte decided to re-trace his relatives' exciting journey.  

“This being the 80th year since the car was here in 1937, my wife and I decided we had some time and we were going to retrace the Canadian portion of the two trips, or at least portions of the two trips with my Aunt coming to Callander in 1937 and then my Mother and her friends travelling through from Sarnia over to Quebec City and then South to the New York World’s Fair in 1939,” he said.  

“When my mom passed away I remember a lot of the stories she told about her trip, she had a wonderful time and I began looking for the car and that was back in 2011. I just wanted to make sure whoever owned the car realized the historic value of the car,” he said.   

“I did a lot of internet searches and finally after about three months I found a picture of it in Portland, Oregon.”  

The ageless vehicle has had little restoration done to it. In fact, Butte says the last time it had any significant work done to it was way back in 1940. 

The car has graffiti written all over it, which was called “Lizzy Labeling” at the time.  On the right side of the hood someone wrote in large lettering,” Stop and Reconsider, pray as you enter,” and on the passenger door it reads “Watch the Ford go by.”   

“It was kind of a collegiate thing to take an old car and to put sayings on the car and this was something they did, but then on the trips, if you look closely you will see pencil on the car, people signed the car and wrote on it additionally beyond the Lizzy Labeling that the girls had originally put on the car,” said Butte. 

Butte displayed the historic old jalopy at the Callander Museum where he also took the time to promote a book he wrote out the incredible trips taken on by six very independent women called "Darlene's Silver Streak and The Bradford Model T Girls.” 

“I decided to write a book to recreate all of the stories from the trips that they took,” said Butte.

The journeys in the famous car even caught the attention of Henry Ford himself.  But Butte says the trip to where the Quints once lived may have been the girl's highlight destination.  

“Everyone in the world was coming to see the Quint’s and they just didn’t think it was out of the realm of possibility for six young girls from Bradford, Illinois to hop in a car and come up and see the Quint’s just like everyone else was doing,” said Butte.  

“They had a wonderful time and they got in line two or three times a day for a couple of days just to see the quintuplets, it was something they were all very excited about doing and remembered long after that.”

Butte will put the Silver Streak back on a trailer and head to Quebec to trace more Silver Streak memories.   

His highlight event will be driving the ageless vehicle in the Bradford Annual Labour Day parade, which Butte says he has been doing every year since 2012.  But more importantly, the parade is also an opportunity to give the two surviving travelers another chance to get into the Silver Streak.  

“In the back seat will be the two living girls that went to trips in the car one is 99 and the other is 98,” said Butte. 

“They sit in the back seat and throw candy out so I’m not going to put the car in the museum for a year or more as long as they are around and can ride with us in the parade.”    



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Chris Dawson

About the Author: Chris Dawson

Chris Dawson has been with BayToday.ca since 2004. He has provided up-to-the-minute sports coverage and has become a key member of the BayToday news team.
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