Two years ago, Tom Creach went down the road a few miles from his Bonner Springs home to see a painter in Edwardsville for a little work on his 1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe.
Creach, 72, lost his wife in 2013 to cancer. He wanted to keep the memory of their days together burning strong, particularly every time he gets in his 1932 Ford Coupe, which he bought it in 2001.
“Shortly after my wife died, I took my car to him (Edwardsville painter) and said, ‘I am going to date myself. Back in the ’60s, they used to name cars and call them Earth Angel or whatever,’” Creach said.
Creach knew he was going to name his car Gypsy Wind and have it painted on the outside of his 1932 Ford Coupe.
The name comes from the opening line of “You’ll Accompany Me” by Bob Seger. The first verse is: “A gypsy wind is blowing warm tonight. The sky is starlit and the time is right. And still you’re telling me you have to go. Before you leave there’s something you should know.”
The next verse is: “I’ve seen you smiling in the summer sun. I’ve seen your long hair flying when you run. I’ve made my mind up that it’s meant to be. Someday lady you’ll accomp’ny me.”
Creach handed the CD with the song on it to the painter to let him understand why he wanted his car to be called Gypsy Wind.
“He listened to the CD, got in the mood and put Gypsy Wind on the car and when he dotted the ‘i,’ he dotted it with a heart,” Creach said.
“He said, ‘Wherever you go Tom, she will be with you.’ I have the only one with Gypsy Wind with a heart.”
Creach’s Ford Coupe also has Tom and Jerry painted on the glove compartment box. The cartoon picture is a tribute to his friendship with Jerry McPherson.
They became friends at cruise shows. McPherson brings his two-tone turquoise 1933 Ford Crowned Victoria. They park their cars close to each other and that is how they became known as Tom and Jerry at car cruises.
Creach figures he goes to three car cruises or car shows a week and enjoys driving his 1932 Ford Coupe to them.
“It is a driver,” Creach said. “It’s no trailer queen. You don’t have twist my arm to drive it. I am ready to go.”
The reason why Creach picked this car to buy comes easily to him.
“It is a 1932,” he said. “I have had other cars, ’40 Fords and ’39 Chevys, but to me, the apex of the hot rod was the 1932 Ford Deuce. I take it out every chance I get.”
When Creach bought his 1932 Ford Coupe, he made sure it had flames on it.
“If you are going to have a hot rod, you have to have a hot rod with flames,” Creach said.
Perhaps that is how he got the nickname Hot Rod Tom from some of his friends he meets regularly on cruise nights throughout the city. Creach, soft spoken, was reluctant to acknowledge the nickname.
“I’ve been called that, but I have been called a lot of things,” he said.
One thing is certain: mention Gypsy Wind and Creach will quickly perk up.
Do you have a car, truck or motorcycle or other vehicle you would like see featured in Make It Yours? If you do, email your idea to David Boyce at Drive@kcstar.com