National TV ‘Discovers’ Rockdale

Pearl Harbor survivor’s 1964 Lincoln featured on ‘Fast N’ Loud’ series
Reporter Editor

Ruth Davis won’t have to look out in her driveway and “see” her late husband—Pearl Harbor survivor Harold Davis—tinkering with his beloved 1964 Lincoln Continental any more.

On Thursday Mrs. Davis sold the classic car, on camera, to the host of a Discovery Channelrealityshow,righttherebyher O’Kelley Street home.

Richard Rawlings, host of “Fast N’ Loud: Gas Monkey Garage,” came to Rockdale from his Dallas business, accompanied by a Discovery crew.

Rawlings and Mrs. Davis chatted, did a little horse(power) trading and the car, which has a rich and bizarre history of its own, was winched up onto a trailer and departed the Davis home for restoration and future big-city glory.

Most residents of O’Kelley weren’t even aware a major television network was filming in their neighborhood.

Ruth Davis sells 1964 Lincoln to TV auto show host Richard Rawlings; classic car hauled away as Discovery cameras roll. 
Reporter/Mike Brown Ruth Davis sells 1964 Lincoln to TV auto show host Richard Rawlings; classic car hauled away as Discovery cameras roll. Reporter/Mike Brown Ironically, two days later, Discovery ran a Fast N’Loud marathon and viewers had the opportunity to see Rawlings all day long, up close and in high definition.

COLLECTOR—Harold Davis died just before Christmas, 2010, leaving behind a couple of “families,” his own, of course, plus some much-cherished classic cars, which remained at the Davis home.

During numerous past citywide garage sales, Davis would sit in his driveway, visit with browsers and talk about his cars, which often were topics of more conversation than the garage sale items.

Davis, an ex-Marine, was Rockdale’s prominent Pearl Harbor survivor, recalling his experience for Reporter readers more than once as each Dec. 7 rolled around.

He was on board the USS California Dec. 7, 1941 when Japan attacked.

Davis was so close to the historic action he could see one Japanese pilot wave as he banked to start a bombing run.

The Davises lived in Rockdale for 16 years prior to his death.

“He bought the Lincoln for me,” Mrs. Davis said. “It was going to be my car. He was going to fix it up and we were going to ride it in parades, things like that.”

HISTORY—Son Gary Davis said the car has a history that might have landed it on a different kind of television show, a true crime one.

“It came from a wealthy section of Houston,” Gary Davis said. “As I understand it, the wife shot the husband and he went to a nursing home, with everyone thinking he would never recover.”

“She had the power of attorney and she sold everything of his, including the Lincoln,” Davis said. “But he made a miraculous recovery and wanted his stuff back, including the car!”

It was too late, of course. “We heard she actually went to the nursing home and tried to harm him again,” Davis said. “But we never heard anything more about how it all came out.”

NO RATTLES—The early 1960s Lincoln Contintentals were the ultimate in luxury vehicles for their day.

President Lyndon Johnson drove a white Continental convertible on some very fast trips around his LBJ Ranch which have entered presidential lore and legend.

“Dad’s was a V-8, 430-cubicinch engine,” Gary Davis said. “It gets about 8 or 9 miles per gallon.”

In 1964, the average price of regular gas in the United States was 31 cents per gallon.

“In 2008, we took it to Taylor to get a new exhaust put on,” Gary Davis said. “It drove so smooth, not one rattle, pretty remarkable for a car that was then 44 years old.”

The Lincoln left Rockdale with only 72,000 miles on its odometer.

‘BABE RUTH’—Mrs. Davis decided the time had come to sell the Lincoln and Gary listed it on Craig’s-list.

That’s where Rawlings saw the vehicle.

“It was time to let it go,” Mrs. Davis said. “I’d look out there at the car and sort of ‘see’ Harold.”

The Discovery crew filmed all of Thursday’s transaction, beginning with Mrs. Davis’s first greeting to Rawlings. “Hi,” she boomed. “I’m Babe Ruth Davis.”

That’s right. The native of tiny Bedias in Grimes County entered the world as Babe Ruth Hadaway.

“My father was a baseball fan,” she grinned.

Fast N’ Loud is shown frequently on Discovery with repeats common throughout the week.

Rawlings said the episode featuring Mrs. Davis is scheduled to be aired in January.

She enjoyed meeting Rawlings and the two engaged in some pretty spirited negotiating before agreeing on a purchase price.

What did they settle on?

The Reporter isn’t telling. We’ll all have to watch the show.

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