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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Smithology: Always thought that was the engine you wanted, with a Mustang | Hagerty Media

The road ran to the horizon, as Kansas roads often do. No stoplights, just a blanket of farms, corn and sorghum waving in the wind. The air smelled of manure and wildflowers and the sticky sweetness of a late June evening, that unmistakable combination of season and place, when the gloaming is so long and dense that it settles onto land like syrup, thick enough to eat.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/smithology/smithology-always-thought-that-was-the-engine-you-w...
55 REPLIES 55
Dayhiker
New Driver

Thoroughly enjoyed this and highly encourage more of it. Sam, like you Jack, is a gifted writer and I always look forward to reading.
73E3
Pit Crew

We could use more of this.
audiocage
Detailer

I... wow.
GianniB
Intermediate Driver

This is great. I’d love to see more like it here. Reminds me of similar stuff you saw years ago in Road & Track. I remember one about a guy who brought in super detailed working models that were just run of the mill cars in realistically rendered driver condition. Turns out he had a way to shrink real cars down to 1/24th scale.
cdkrek
Intermediate Driver

I remember the same story. Little ignition keys and all. I seem to remember that they didn't say he shrunk them but led you to believe that. If memory servers, accompanying picture was a late '60s Impala and he only ever "shrunk" regular everyday cars-nothing special. (Nothing anyone would miss?)
CarsDogsBeer
Pit Crew

I love that you're a goofy nitwit with enough Haribo jammed in yer mouth half the time as to make your words unintelligible. And then you write something like this.
It's done in your voice, but with a trippy distraction to it (I've driven across Kansa before) and a pace that builds with a human ache. And surprise. All in a very interior way, but comfortable, in no hurry.
Imma go by some dark roast. Was actually thinking about that this morning.
Douggiedog
Pit Crew

Honestly, let Sam write whatever Sam wants. His writing is phenomenal! Keep up the great work, Sam!
TingeofGinge
Pit Crew

If there's more of this (and I'm sure there is) I think you might need to give Netflix or Hulu a call
donyas
Pit Crew

More, please.
danhise
Detailer

Had me hooked all the way to Chaffee's reappearance. I've known for years what a fine writer he is, but this is ne plus ultra. Great detail: the Weber manual.

I paused over the phrase "fugue states." Sam may like the novelist Walker Percy, who used "fugue states" as a central motif in "The Last Gentleman," which is a road trip novel. Then I moved on, fascinated by the story.

Mr. Baruth, how much exposure does a Hagerty writer get, being on this website? I hope it is extensive. I know Sam is widely popular, and part of me would prefer that he not be any further lionized, but I also want him to have the most recognition possible. Meanwhile, thank you for giving him a home with some great company (for example, you, Sajeev, and a dozen others).
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

About a million and a half people a month have a chance to see Sam's work here, although most people skip the "wordy" stuff and go straight for pieces on individual cars or news items. We have a big tent here, and I'm glad he is in it, and I'm glad you're here as well.
danhise
Detailer

Impressive numbers. Thank you. I've moved your website up considerably in my list of bookmarks. Currently you rank #3, right after "The Far Side."
Tinkerah
Technician

Oh My Gawd a million-ish people might be seeing my immature snarky comments?? I will start minding my manners....NOW.
Tsaxman
Detailer

Did you ever see a movie by David Lynch called "Lost Highway?" I must have watched it twice without any hope of figuring out what the heck was going on, until I read an interview with Lynch where he told the story of a man who had a Dissociative Fugue. Oh, I get it now.
danhise
Detailer

I've fugued out a thousand times, but I'm too ordinary to be able to master the Dissociative Fugue. If only I could have gone to prep school in Maine or something.

I'm a Lynch fan, of sorts. I'm still trying to process the Log Lady.
DaveFla
Pit Crew

I have sometimes commented on my desire to buy a Baruth novel someday. Today, I'm adding Smith to the list. Simply splendid.
Jack_Hagerty
Moderator

Would you buy a novel I wrote ABOUT Sam?
Tinkerah
Technician

Sure, if it was ghostwritten by Sam 😉
Oldroad1
Instructor

Twilight Zone without the fear. Thanx.
vwoska
New Driver

Amazing.
plamry
Pit Crew

I really enjoyed the story. More car fiction for me!
Josh_Arakes
Intermediate Driver

Brilliant. I'll read anything he writes.
Ibackdoctor
New Driver

Wow Sam! That transported me! I sat in the driveway to read it through to the end...that doesn't happen often. I'm encouraged. Your stories had gotten a bit longwinded and lost the attachment for the reader. It was like you got distracted while writing. But this, and some more recent stuff, reminds me of why Peter Egan is so loved. He can spin a tale that draws you in and brings you along. And you've got it too.

Thanks Sam for your soul, and sharing it. Thanks Jack, for bringing so much beloved talent aboard and giving good automotive journalists a home!
Bmike
Detailer

Loved it.
Lotusross
Pit Crew

Since I knew that Sam was bringing that BMW bike home already, I gave, as is required, "a willing suspension of disbelief" and bought in to the story as a trip narrative. Well done pulling me in Sam! The gentle tone was a delight and a welcome relief from the snark we too often see today, but then I am as old as the man in the story and need to get rid of too much stuff just like him so I may be channeling a Kansas farmer. Thanks for the break, Sam.
Tpjohnson
Pit Crew

Years ago, when I resubscribed to Road & Track magazine, I "discovered" Sam. I've saved every issue with his articles in them. When he left the mag, I let the subscription end. It didn't have the same heart that Sam brought to it. His ability to put into words things that I thought were indescribable. I can't think of anyone that compares. He is misplaced in time; and we are the better for it. Let him write whatever he wants to write about; I'll read every word.
win59
Detailer

THIS......is why I learned to read. All those years ago.
Rider79
Instructor

Cool story!
Gary_Bechtold
Technician

If only that was real. Great writing and a great story. Wish I could stumble onto a Shelby too. But that would also be fiction.
MATTMERICA
Technician

Last night before I nodded off, there was the Mecum "Top List" and they were doing the Top 10 mustangs of all time, not necessarily by what they brought at auction, and of course you know which car was the #1 mustang of all time....
StuA
Pit Crew

I was right there with you in the barn Sam. Can't get any better than that. thanks.

Stu
Sportington
Pit Crew

Mind blown. More please.
JRJones
Detailer

"fugue states" indeed, in cold oil, in Holcomb County.
Thankfully this was not another Truman story. Barn clutter, not farm house.
jamesthebrowser
New Driver

I read "real Sixties Shelby Cobra" and literally got goosebumps; went back and re-read it after completing the article and chills again.

Never stop writing Sam; you mix storytelling and cars in ways I never tire of reading.
Rol
New Driver

Written in the spirit of Peter Egan. Now, in the spirit of Sam Smith. I witness Brothers... Peter, you're on your own, and bless you.
Sam,
Truly I blindly chose the 289 in my head as I read the title of this message. Always loved that engine. Still there was more, as often the case with you, I reference "message". To describe this work as an article would demean the underlying vibe that flows through and in each of us. Sam, you seem to touch the heart of all that experience your work. Even though realization that another's experience was their truth and heartfelt, you were also true to your own life experience. Feeling the soul of another that crept through time to touch even briefly the person of a future generation. This can only be described as magical, perhaps supernatural? Thank you for linking me to my experience, and away from the clutter of of our time. Blessings...
Tsaxman
Detailer

Well done.

I have had that fantasy. Used to be about the kid with the Shelby who went to Viet Nam and never came back, and the parent wants it to go to a good home.
Jaw3
New Driver

Thanks, really great……we need more!
DarrellT
New Driver

One of my most often recurring fantasies now has a detailed story-line to it. What an incredibly talented writer...
thetossedtool
Intermediate Driver

Someday, I will be as cool as Sam Smith.
Who the hell am I kidding? Ain't never gonna happen!
Rock on!
Clarkie
Pit Crew

I was completely engrossed in this. Well done.
Tim
Instructor

Sam Smith, you wily man! Just as I was thinking you'd lived the ultimate grandpa's tale to tell... 😄
MATTMERICA
Technician

Well that did two things:
1 - it made my lunch break
2 - for several moments I was making a conscious effort to be a nicer person going forward incase somebody wanted to hand me the keys to such an incredible car, but then, thankfully, after the plot twisted, I felt comfortable going back to being the cynical, short fused jerk I am used to being
highmiles
Pit Crew

That was a good read!
bhankinsonn
Intermediate Driver

He had me from the get-go, I've ridden across those plains many times and seen those barns out back and often wondered what treasures they might hide, so daydreams on cross country bike trips are not all that unusual or surprising. Anytime Sam wants to share another I will be glad to read along
Maestro1
Instructor

Sam, it's wonderful reading and Jack has the right idea. If folks you guys know write as well as you two it's time to get the show on the road. Thanks to both of you and stay well.
Tinkerah
Technician

I wanted to be the one dissenting vote but....can't. I loved it too.
PRScott
Detailer

That's a dirty trick. You had me sucked right in! **bleep**.
SuperDeLuxe
Advanced Driver

I think I love this story because I'm just like all the other star-struck gear heads, who somehow believe our sincere desire to own that one car of our dreams, is sufficient capital for someone to recognize how worthy we are. Money will never buy true love, it has to given. Great read Sam!
farna
Advanced Driver

Sam had me until the old guy was ready to GIVE him a 289 Shelby Cobra. I could ALMOST believe he was willing to let it go for "whatever he could pay"... almost...