Cross Country in “The Green Hornét”
By Jacob Davis
It all started when I found out that I’d been selected as a winner of the Roadkill
Nation Challenge and would be heading out to California to spend a week with the crew. That
very night my mind began devising a plan, and all the way from my home town of
Newnan, Georgia I started browsing the pages of the LA Craigslist.
It took me nearly a week to find the right car, but when a weathered 1972 AMC Hornet
Sportabout wagon appeared on my screen I knew I had found the ultimate adventure-mobile.
Either by fate or maybe the fact that Freiburger was simply too busy to scoop it up, I first laid
eyes on the car three weeks later and struck a deal with the owner for a mere $1,350.
Below: Filling up The Green Hornét right after purchasing it from a young man named Andrew Keller in Los Angeles.
Other than a slightly annoying oil leak, a broken temp gauge, and a mostly useless driver’s
door, the car was seriously solid. The 258 inline six and Torqueflite automatic seemed to be
running reasonably well so I headed off to Fontana for a week of racing the much nicer Dodge
Hellcats and Vipers. When I showed up at the track the Roadkill guys immediately loved the car,
even allowing me to chauffeur them to and from dinner one night where Freiburger and I dubbed
it the Green Hornét (pronounced hornā).
After an incredible experience driving Dodge’s what might as well be “super cars”, the
Hornet took its turn on the autocross where it performed admirably, yet miserably when
compared to the Viper. Still, I found myself surprisingly happy to be getting into my Hornet, from
the passenger side I should add, at the end of the week. After buying the necessary zip ties,
duck tape, and various tools; I used a hammer to persuade the rear fenders of the wagon to
accept a set of Jeep Cherokee wheels I picked up for $80, and set out on my journey across the
Below:Bolting on a set of Jeep Cherokee wheels acquired from a nice man named Mike Via for $80 after shredding the original tires on the autocross course.
Along the way I saw parts of the historic Route 66, the iconic Cadillac Ranch, a gas station
that doubled as a car museum, and more beautiful scenery than you’d see in a National
Geographic documentary. At least once at every gas station somebody would stop and talk to
me about my car and nearly always ask the question, “Did you really drive this thing from
Overall the trip was a massive success; the car only over heated once, the only part that
broke was the oil sending unit, and at times I honestly forgot I was driving a 43-year-old car
because it drove so well. I made it 2,200 miles in only three days, saw some iconic landmarks,
met some amazing people, enjoyed an experience I will never forget, and the hood never even
came off the car. I call that a win.
Below: The Green Hornét posing for a picture in front of a backdrop chock full of Americana.