Tales from the Grip: Little Deuce Coupe

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With apologies to Brian Wilson, an ode to cable car No. 2 to the tune of the Beach Boys’ “Little Deuce Coupe”.

Little Deuce Coupe, you don’t know what I got
Little Deuce Coupe, you don’t know what I got

Well, I’m not braggin’ babe, so don’t put me down
But I’ve got the oldest set of wheels in town
And if someone tries to cut me off he better pray
‘Cause the Vehicle Code says I got the right-of-way

She’s my Little Deuce Coupe, you don’t know what I got

Just a little deuce coupe, she can take any hill
And she’ll walk a horse and buggy like they’re standing still
She’s varnished and shellacked with the gold leaf trim
And the solid spring suspension with the cast iron rims

She’s my Little Deuce Coupe, you don’t know what I got

She’s got a quarter-ton clutch through a hole in the floor
And she rumbles like a quake at Richter nine point four
And if that ain’t enough to make you flip your lid
There’s one more thing, I’m her ding dong daddy

And comin’ off the line up at Mason and Green
That’s when I really cut her loose and make the tourists scream
She got the solid iron handles and shiny brass bell
And she’ll take a downgrade like a bat outta hell

She’s my Little Deuce Coupe, you don’t know what I got
She’s my Little Deuce Coupe, you don’t know what I got

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Tales from the Grip: Maybelle the cable car

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About a year or so ago, I was heading inbound on Powell Street & California when a little girl and her mother got on my car. They were locals, out for an evening of cable car joyriding. The mother turned to me and said, “We’ve been riding the cars all day, and we’ve given them all names. What is this cable car’s name?”

I usually have an answer to most questions, even (especially) the blatantly stupid/smart-alecky ones, but this one had me floored.

There’s a charming children’s book called Maybelle the Cable Car, written in 1947, that tells the story of the fight to save the cars from “progress”, i.e. extinction. The heroine of the book is Maybelle, a Powell-Mason cable car.

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