1. Ode to Champ

From the recording The Old Man and the C Chord

Here’s a love song I wrote for my beloved 96 Corolla wagon “Champ”.

Champ made his last run back in April 2022. He died on the road in Lansing, Michigan. I’m not a “car guy”, but I really got attached to this one. Champ had that very rare trifecta of being cheap, highly functional, and cool – what more can you ask for?


Well, I’ll tell you a something
and you know I’m not braggin’
but I’ve got me a 96 Corolla wagon
It’s one part jalopy and bit of a scamp
some might call it a “beater”
but I call him Champ

He’s that light golden colour
that they call champagne
standard transmission
and he don’t break the bank
he’s got a funky old stereo
that only plays tapes
I’ve got one of Tom Petty
that sounds especially great

He took me fishing for brook trout
on the Great Northern Highway
we got stuck in a windstorm
on the Burlington Skyway
he’ll push through the snow
and the rain, and the ice
ya he might be an old car
but isn’t he nice?
Well, you need a mechanic
and mine’s Derek Guan
he keeps Champ rolling
on the road that he’s on
The way I know this banjo
he knows old Toyotas
he’ll tell it to you straight
and he will not exploit ya

You might think me loopy
for singing a song
to a beat-up old car
that might not be long
For this world, but that’s the reason
that I’m singing this song
So he knows that I appreciate
all the stuff that we’ve done

So, if you’ve got an old car
that don’t let you down
takes you all ‘or the country
and all round the town
why not change up the oil
and fill up the tank
It’s the least you can do
a nice way to say thanks