framed photo hanging on the wall at the old Alcalde
Hotel in Gonzales was my first introduction to Oliver Albert.
As I recall, the photograph was of Mr. Albert standing beside one
of his unique automobile creations. Unique enough to be featured in
the San Antonio Express News. And now that I recollect, the
framed photo may have been from the syndicated newspaper column, Ripley’s
Believe It or Not.
You might say that Oliver Albert took the old Johnny Cash song, “One
Piece at a Time,” literally, because that’s how he built his car.
In fact, the car he titled the Longhorn II, was assembled using parts
from 14 different vehicles.
The following article appeared in The Gonzales Inquirer in
1980. I don’t recall the year that Albert passed away, but I do remember
that he was legend in Gonzales and everybody seemed to know of his
The Gonzales Inquirer • November 6, 1980
Albert, a resident of Gonzales,
and his hand-built Longhorn II automobile were featured Saturday,
November 1 in the San Antonio Express News by George and Bonnie
The Longhorn II was built by Mr. Albert alone over a period of fourteen
years from the best parts of 14 makes of automobiles and is said to
be so valuable that he drives it only as a parade car and has never
driven it over 40 m.p.h.
The Longhorn II is 19 feet, four inches long with a wheel base of
120 inches. Weighing 2,800 pounds, the height is three feet, nine
inches at its tallest point atop the windshield.
This sleek, handsome car was to be featured at the Come
and Take It parade this year but the rains that weekend changed
Mr. Albert’s plans, as the car is considered far too valuable to allow
any damage to occur to it.
Albert won’t comment on how much the car is worth and all he’ll tell
you is, “I kept close tract. The sum I have down could be $25 over
or under.” No, the only thing Oliver Albert is saying for sure is:
“It was built with the money I kind of saved up that women and whiskey
article also listed alphabetically the cars represented in this “Longhorn
II.” They are: Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Jeep, Lincoln,
Mercedes, Mercury, Nash, Plymouth, Pontiac, Renault and even Terraplane.
Oliver Albert described the assemblage to Mr. Carmack as such: The
engine is a 1941 Lincoln V-12 which he found in a Houston
automobile junkyard. “I managed to sneak it into my apartment without
anybody seeing it,” Albert said. “This was before I built my steel
building and I disassembled the engine in my apartment.”
“Part of the front axle is from a 1942 Jeep bolted to a curved
cross member from a Mercury. The springs are 1933 Dodge. Each headlight
is made from four different Chevrolet headlights with aluminum over
them to make them a unit.
“I wanted the headlights long and streamlined. The radiator is from
a 1940 Ford pickup. What a problem those front fenders were. Each
fender has parts of four fenders. I first put together parts of two
1947 Chevrolet fenders, one a right and one a left. But I had the
darnest time trying to get the front part of the fenders with just
the right curve.
“I kept looking at all sorts of front fenders and suddenly it hit
me that I should look at back fenders. So that rounded front of each
front fender comes from the back section of two Chevrolet pickup rear
“The curved doors are the rear deck lids from two 1955 Fords.”
It also contains a Pontiac gas tank, Chrysler emergency brake and
a Renault steering wheel. About 95 percent of the body and 85 percent
of the hood are aluminum, which Albert had to pattern cut, fit and
then rivet, using “about 10,500 rivets” and innumerable nuts and bolts
in making the car.
Mr. Albert stated that the windshield frame was made from a folding
cot. The bumpers and bumper guards are made from old bedsteads and
part of a trunk in an Easy Spin-dry washing machine.
“And there were several hundred miscellaneous things, such as angle
iron from old oil derricks and windmills.”
Chances are, most people in Gonzales
will never see the Longhorn II except for the possible exception of
next year’s Come
and Take It parade, if the weather allows it.
But for the most part, the Longhorn II will remain in the tin building
for Oliver Albert’s eyes only.
Star Diary November 16, 2012 column
See Gonzales, Texas
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