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Vehicle from 2017 Prairie Days to be featured on national TV

Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 at 12:32 pm

John Butte in front of the “Silver Streak.”

The famed 1926 Ford Model T “Silver Streak” that carried the Gypsy Coeds of Bradford, Illinois on a series of historic summer vacations will be featured on an all-new Discovery Channel show. The “Silver Streak” participated in the Vandalia Prairie Days Parade in 2017.
The new series, titled “Sticker Shock” will be hosted by Dennis Pittsenbarger and a team of expert appraisers comprised of Randy Carlson, Addison Brown, Nick Smith, and Todd Wertman. They will investigate the history and condition of a wide range of vehicles to determine their true value. It will feature well-known classic cars as well as rare ones like the “Keller Super Chief,” “Blue Ray III,” and “Starcraft Starcruiser,” and the “Silver Streak.” Cars are more than a set of wheels to get from point A to point B – they are many times just like members of the family.
Aside from determining appraised values, “Sticker Shock” unveils the history and memories of these unique ride. From cross-country vacations such as the summer vacations taken by the Gypsy Coeds in the “Silver Streak” to circling Indianapolis Motor Speedway, each car has its own story, and this series is here to tell them.
The all-new Discovery Channel series asked America to bring in their rides to answer the age-old question, “What’s my car worth?”
From dad’s old pickup to souped up hot rods, this series has it all, and host Dennis Pittsenbarger and his team of expert appraisers are ready to uncover their value. Whether it’s a clunker or a classic, what it is worth may shock you. A sneak preview of “Sticker Shock” premieres Monday, April 30 at 9 p.m. CST and the ongoing series will maintain that time slot. The “Silver Streak” story is tentatively scheduled to air in the series premier on May 2.
The “Silver Streak” is owned by John and Carmen Butte of Dunlap, Ill. Carmen is the daughter of Rosalind Welch, of Vandalia. The “Silver Streak” is currently on loan to the Model T Museum in Richmond, Ind. It was transported to Los Angeles, Calif. from the museum for taping of the show earlier this year. John and Carmen flew to Los Angeles, Calif. on February 17 for the filming. It was the Model T Museum that first alerted the Butte’s to the search that was underway to find unique cars with a story.
“The search letter indicated in caps, ‘STORY IS WAY MORE IMPORTANT THAN CONDITION!!!!’; That certainly fit the Silver Streak,” John Butte said.
The “Silver Streak” has never been restored and the exterior is covered with red painted graffiti called “Lizzie Labels” and lots of rust.
“It was a great opportunity for me to tell the story of these amazing and adventurous young single women from my hometown on a national television stage.” continued Butte.
From 1934-1942, Darlene Dorgan, of Bradford, piloted the “Silver Streak” on nine consecutive summer vacations, inviting friends to join her on each trip. In total, 20 different young single women traveled on those adventurous trips, including John’s mother, Regina Fennell (Butte), and his Aunt Eleanor Butte.
John Butte has written a book about the car, the girls, and the trips titled Darlene’s “Silver Streak” and The Bradford Model T Girls. The book is available at Barnes & Noble.com and Amazon.com. Find more information about the car and the story at www.gypsycoeds.com. The “Silver Streak” is on the registry of the Historical Vehicle Association.
“We are proud that the Silver Streak and its story have been selected to be on the premier of ‘Sticker Shock’ but at this point I have a little anxiety!,” John Butte said.
“I have a lot of emotional attachment to the story, a real ‘feel good’ story because my mom and my aunt went on trips in the car and now my wife and I own it. Can you imagine nine summer vacations by a group of young single women, traveling all over the U.S. in a car that was lucky to do 35 mph! They met Henry Ford and had a private lunch with him. I think it’s a great story, but it’s always good to have someone else give it a similar critique! My anxiety comes from my concerns about my own performance on camera in front of a national audience! I have not seen the final product. I don’t want to embarrass myself or family!”
John Butte also shared how the vehicle ended up being featured at Prairie Days in Vandalia last year.
“Carmen’s mom is a member of the Vandalia Historical Society and has been a big supporter of the story and the car and even visited the Model T Museum in Richmond, Ind. with us in 2016,” he noted. “We have attended Prairie Days in the past and Carmen’s mom had frequently asked us if we could bring the car to Prairie Days so that more of her neighbors and friends could see it.
That finally worked out for us in 2017. We were returning from a ‘Women On The Mother Road’ event in Springfield, Mo.”