Carrying on a tradition by such storied parodists as Stan Freberg, Allan Sherman, and Weird Al Yankovich, Da Yoopers offer this simple holiday song, Rusty Chevrolet. A tale as old as time, especially “up nort'”, it’s a story of a car that’s barely hanging on and an owner who’s hoping his ride will make it through the holiday season. There’s no reason to go any deeper than that, because this song isn’t meant to be anything other than dumb fun. And, frankly, we can use a whole lot more of that right now.
Da Yoopers are a music and comedy group from the Upper Pensinsula of Michigan. Yooper – derived from the area’s abbreviation, U.P. – is a slang term to describe the residents of what as recently as 2010 was proposed to be our 51st state, Superior. Da Yoopers write songs about life in one of the least densely populated areas of the country and their subjects range from deer hunting, to beer drinking, ice fishing, and other popular activities of the area.
Founded in 1975 in Ishpeming, Michigan by Jim DeCaire and Joe Potila, Da Yoopers were originally a local dance band, but quickly found their voice through parody lyrics and an Norwegian-American accent that puts the cast of Fargo to shame. Over the years they’ve recorded 13 albums. Rusty Chevrolet and their other “hit” Second Week of Deer Camp appeared on their second record, “Culture Shock.” The lineup of the band has changed extensively over the years with the only constant being DeCaire, but they are still active and touring, spreading joy through stereotypes across the upper midwest.
The rusty Chevrolet featured in the video appears to be a 1975 Impala, but it’s hard to tell through all the snow, dents, and body rot. A couple of giveaways are the remnants of the horizontal grille insert and the taillight configuration which includes the distinctive line through the turn signals. That was the penultimate year of the 5th generation of one of Chevy’s best selling sedans.
The Impala name dates back to 1958 and it was Chevy’s top of the line car until the Caprice became a standalone nameplate in 1966. In 1975 Impala was Chevy’s best selling car, with 211,708 units moving through dealer showrooms priced between $4,500 and $5,000. Available with four engine options – a couple of 350 small blocks, a 400, and the big block 454 – and either the Turbo-fire or Turbo-jet Hydra-Matic three-speed transmission, the Impala offered as much of room and performance for the money as was available in what many consider to be the early years of the “Malaise Era” of the American automobile industry. Today, Impala Sedans of this era have little collector value with top condition, all-original examples selling for around $10,000. The convertibles which were more rare can fetch over $30,000.