A yellow butterfly flitters in her golden years

| July 15, 2011

Lady Butterfly, a bright yellow 1974 Kenworth conventional, caused a stir when she flitted onto OverdriveRetro’s truck photo gallery couple of weeks ago. On Retro’s facebook page, several readers commented on the fancy rig and her photo as Overdrive’s October 1980 Tractor of the Month.

It turns out this butterfly is no shrinking violet: At 37 years old, she’s still competing in pull contests.

Source One company driver Frank Strohmyer, of Bedford, Ohio, wrote to let readers know that  Lady Butterfly’s is still going strong and sent Overdrive a link to Lady Butterfly Pulling Team, the website devoted to her. Strohymer, a fuel and gasoline hauler who is a self-avowed truck nut, has spotted Lady Butterfly at truck shows and pull contests through the years.

The rig’s first and only owners John Mann and Bonnie McCartney, of East Canton, Ohio, maintain the site, which describes the rig’s national contest awards and current show schedule. Mann, an owner-operator, started pull competitions with the brilliantly colored truck in 1980 while it  was still a working truck. The Kenworth has plenty of oomph, powered by a V12 Detroit Diesel engine with twin turbo-chargers and has an Allison automatic transmission.

She was retired as a working truck in 1992. Mann has slowed down a bit, too, being careful to protect the healing from a neck injury several years ago. But truck and showman are still doing pulls for the fun of it, according to the website: She’s not “the flashiest or the most brightly painted truck on the circuit, but we think she is the classiest.”

Find out how Lady Butterfly got her name here.

Go to OverdriveRetro to catch up on other working, race and show trucks of the past.

And thank Frank Strohmyer for writing in about a flittering beauty’s metamorphosis.