Betties tried to kill me four times, but shes also helped me pick up more women than I can remember!

JERRY Kazaz recently quit his day job as a body/restoration shop manager. He put everything he owned in storage, packed one bag of clothes, two bags tools, filled up his gas tank and hit the road in Bettie his 56 Mercury M100 for an indefinite roadtrip through the USA.

Tell us about Bettie.

Shes a 1956 Mercury M100 [Canadianrebadged Ford F100] running a tricked-up Ford 390 and C6 transmission out of a 1967 Galaxie. It has a nine-inch diff, wide-ride IFS front end and four-link rear, both from No Limit Engineering. It runs coil-overs and discs all round, and a boxed frame.

Hows she drive?

Effortlessly. Loves the open road.

How long have you two been together?

Ive had Bettie 13 years. Shes never left my side in all that time and is my daily driver except during winter. I found her on a back country road. Shes tried to kill me four times. The brakes failed twice while going downhill, and two motors have blown up at 160km/h racing on the highway. But shes also helped me pick up more women than I can remember!

Any other old-school rides?

Esther. Shes a 1930 Model A with a 401 Buick Nailhead. And Norma Jean. Shes a 1968 Cadillac Coupe de Ville.

What inspired you to hit the road?

Ive always been in love with American culture. For as long as I can remember Ive always wanted to hit Route 66 and drive across America in a car or hot rod I built. I kept telling myself: Next year, but when I turned 40 I said to myself: Im not waiting any longer. The first stop was Nashville, then to Memphis, and on to Oklahoma where I picked up Route 66. From Oklahoma I did every possible mile of Route 66 pavement to Kingman, Arizona. Then on to Las Vegas before hitting the Bonneville salt flats!

Where to next? After Bonneville its on to Reno, Lake Tahoe, then San Francisco, and down the coast of California to LA, then to Bakersfield. Maybe on to San Diego, then back up towards Seattle, and then into Vancouver British Columbia. Ive been on the road for nearly a month and travelled nearly 9000km. have no idea how much longer, and I dont care. This is the best thing Ive ever done.

Whats the best car event youve attended?

Bonneville Speed Week. I cannot believe I waited this long. Its almost impossible to describe. You have to see, smell, breathe and hear it for yourself. Ive met the most amazing people and have seen some of the most amazing cars in my life.

Whats your favourite car movie?

Tough one, but Id have to say the original Mad Max.

And your dream ride?

That would be with much pride my 1930 Model A.