15 October 2013

Hershey or Bust Road Trip: Rain, rain, go away

The fourth day of the ’69 Comeback Camaro’s visit to Hershey – the second official day of the AACA Eastern Regional Fall Meet – could be summed up with one four-letter word … RAIN. It was raining when we woke and raining when we went to bed. In between, we worked in the rain, walked in the rain, talked in the rain, ate in the rain, packed up in the rain and drove back to the Hershey Lodge in – you guessed it – rain. Needless to say, with two full show days remaining, we’re hoping for a serious break in the weather.

My plan was to spend the day at the car corral, the long access road that surrounds the Giant Center parking lot and doubles as a classic car marketplace, and I vowed that no amount of rain was going to keep me from looking. Of course, a giant amount of rain at about 2 p.m. kept from staying, and I ran for cover. But before I left I saw some fabulous cars and met some interesting car guys.

Among my favorites were the first two automobiles I saw – a red and black British-built 1950 Riley and a light green 1958 Pontiac Star Chief with plenty of chrome and a continental package that Hagerty co-worker Davin Reckow appropriately compared to “a diving platform.” Also catching my eye were three golden oldies – a huge 1937 Packard Twelve, a classy 1939 Cadillac LaSalle and a curvaceous yellow 1939 Cord Phaeton Model 812. I couldn’t have afforded any of them new, and I certainly can’t afford them now, but if gawking counts, I got my money’s worth.

A short while later I came upon a group of cars that stood out not only because of their good looks but for their stunningly low mileage. One of those cars was R. Clark Goodwin’s 1966 Plymouth Fury III. With only 4,500 original miles, it looks as if it just rolled off the showroom floor. Clark said he found the car in California; it had been in storage for years after its original owner died. Not surprisingly, he isn’t exactly eager to let it go.

“I bought it sight unseen. It’s all original, right down to the wiper blades,” Clark said. “But my son is in college, so I decided to bring a few cars out and see what happens. To me, Hershey is the last pure classic car event, so I’d only bring my best stuff here. This is a pretty special car; I love this car. I don’t care if I sell it or not.”

Clark was also selling a 1964½ Ford Mustang, which will soon step into the national spotlight as the automotive world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Mustang in 2014. Clark’s buddy Kevin Fear had a couple of special cars of his own – a low-mileage Chevy and a rare 1965 Mexico-built Mustang. Despite the model’s enormous popularity, Keith said few people know that during 1965-66 a limited number of Mustangs were built in Mexico, Venezuela, Peru and The Netherlands, in addition to some right-hand drives in Australia.

Keith’s Mustang was built in Mexico City’s La Villa plant in August 1965 and eventually ended up in California. It is one of only two Mexico-built Mustangs registered in the United States. Keith has all the documentation, including a letter that the original owner wrote to his son, granting him permission to drive the car to California to attend college. In 2005, the car received an invitation to take part in the prestigious Glenmoor Gathering – as an import.

“It’s pretty unique,” Keith said in an understatement.

I’m looking forward to finding more great cars – and learning the stories behind them – on Friday. I hope I don’t need a raincoat.

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