Thursday, August 21, 2014

They say you never forget your first love

I don’t know about that, but I know you never forget your first car.

At least I haven’t and neither has Don Nance. In fact, it was the same car; and it didn't belong to either one of us.

It was my Dad’s 1952 blue Pontiac.  

Thanks to his job as a stock broker, he got off work about the same time school was out, and with much persuasion, I basically owned that pretty thing for the rest of the day. My first stop was Don’s house and more often than not, we spent the rest of the afternoon looking for excitement.

We never found any, at least none that was more exciting than just riding around in that beauty from Detroit with the Indian Chief on the hood. If truth be told, I think we both were hoping to impress the girls.
It didn’t. Neither did we.

But it sure made a permanent impression on Don and me.  Especially Don. So much so that 62 years later, thanks to his extremely talented sons and a few friends,that Indian is riding again!

Donnie and two other main members of the crew.(L to R)Ricky, Jeff and Donnie

1952 Pontiac

By Don Nance

Eli Caruthers of Graham, NC, purchased the 1952 Pontiac when it was new. In 1985, he drove the car to church in the morning and died later that afternoon. In 1987, I purchased the car from his family. From 1987 until 2010, the car was stored in a barn at the McMillian’s Farm who were friends of ours. In 2010, we started restoring the old chief. Oh yes, it is a 1952 two- door Pontiac Chief Deluxe. Donnie named the car “Lazarus” because it was being raised from the dead.
8 year old Sam
The main people helping to restore the car are our sons, Donnie, Tommy, and Patrick, and my grandson, Sam.  Others helped… Ricky Holmes (Donnie’s friend from middle school), and neighbor, Jeff, in Graham, NC.   John Keck, in Graham, built the radiator. The engine was overhauled by a friend of my sons in Haw River, N C.  The starter was rebuilt by Patrick’s father-in-law, Jack Tibbits, in Basset, VA. The body and paint was done by Tom Young at Young’s Body Shop in Elon, N C. The chrome was refinished in Elizabethton, TN. 
 I enjoy having the car since it brings back wonderful memories of the 1950’s. I worked in the concession stand at the old Armory in Charlotte for Donald (Spike) Coffer. He owned a car like this one with the same colors.  Ed Myers’s father, Walter Myers, owned a car just like this car with the same colors. When Ed (Lee Shephard) was 15 years old and I was 16 year old, Ed would drive his father’s car so we could cruise around Charlotte.

Indian Chief and Donny, the Restoration Chief
The Grill, which had not been installed when picture
 at top was taken.

Tommy under the hood

The Nance Boys plus Letty's finger in  right hand corner

WOW!  Thanks Don. I can't wait to take a ride in that thing again. I got my driver's license in that car. Since the statute of limitations has expired I can finally admit that for about a year, I was driving the "blue beauty" before I was old enough to get my license. Fortunately, I never was stopped by the cops. However, one of our classmates got stopped many times (and we all know who that was) His license was withheld for years. I believe he was about 40 before he finally got it.
Oh, by the way, ask Donnie to look under the back seat. I think that's where my girl friend's "Key Club" pin that I gave her fell off and wound up. 
Thanks for bringing those great memories alive!