“And the mornin’ sun is yet to climb my hood ornament…”
–Neil Young
“Roll Another Number”     

     Neil Young’s first book, Waging Heavy Peace (2012), explored his musical career. Special Deluxe revolves around Young’s love for old cars, which goes back to when he was a kid in Canada. Neil’s family traveled to New Smyrna Beach, Florida, every summer and that’s where he fell in love with cars. In Special Deluxe, Young tells stories about every vehicle he or his family owned. Young illustrated about 50 cars in the book himself.

     Special Deluxe documents how Young’s cars appeared in the films he made or how a particular car was associated with a certain song. Neil Young always possessed a fascination with electricity, trains, guitars and cars for business and personal reasons. Young’s unravels stories surrounding his inimitable involvement with Farm Aid, Pono Music, Lincvolt, Lionel Trains and Biodiesel as well as unknown personal facts–musical and mechanical. Young’s keen awareness of environmental issues lace the pages.

     Young scatters song lyrics throughout Special Deluxe. Most of the lyrics are his own, but others include Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Stephen Stills, Marty Robbins, Jimmy Reed and Curlee Williams. Young keeps it interesting. Some of his songs are car related such as “Sedan Delivery”, “Long May You Run”, “I Want To Drive My Car”, “Eldorado”, “Trans Am” and almost every tune from the Fork In The Road album. In the book, Young reveals probably the only car he ever got repossessed–a 1957 Corvette.

Young expressed nostalgia when he spoke of his 1947 Buick Roadmaster Sedan he called “The Black Queen”: “The Queen rolled through my life as I recorded albums and played tours. She was there with me when we opened the Roxy in LA with our premiere performance of Tonight’s the Night. She took me between the ranch and my home in Malibu as I flew back and forth on my beloved Pacific Coast Highway, avoiding constricted and impersonal air travel. The Black Queen, one of my all-time favorites, will always be with me, after being such an integral pasrt of my life and writing in the 1970s.”

     There are too many to list, but a few of Young’s favorite vintage rides include a 1948 Buick Hearse named “Mort”, a 1934 Bentley Close, a 1957 Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, a 1959 Lincoln Continental called “Lincvolt” and a 1950 Plymouth Special Deluxe.  Music serves as the backstory in Special Deluxe. The cars represent different musical eras in Young’s life. On page 257, Young writes from a place where his music, cars and personal life intersect:

    “In spring of 2012, when Crazy Horse was rehearsing for our first tour in nine years to support our recent album, Americana, and our next, Psychedelic Pill, the Plymouth Special Deluxe was parked right in front of the stage, ready for any challenge. A new Indian blanket seat, one of the last things designed by Jon McKeig before he retired, was looking beautiful as part of the all-new interior he installed.

    “The motor, still humming along, was now started by an improved nine-volt battery system. It had been straining with its original six-volt system. Seemingly reborn, the Special Deluxe sprung to life again at the turn of a key. The paint was worn through to rust in some areas, but the body and chrome were still nearly perfect, just as the day I first laid eyes on this beauty.”

    Special Deluxe reads like a joy ride in a classic convertible along Zuma Beach with a nice breeze blowing in from the Pacific Ocean…

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