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Cruisin': Getting Started
In Jan. 3 Issue
Russell County News
By Ron Cowell, Columnist

After doing these stories in the paper over the past year I got to thinking about a lot of memories I have of the old cars and cruisin’ from when I was a boy.

Several people have ask me how I got involved in the old cars and it really got me to thinking about it.

Funny thing is I never got a driver’s license until I was 18 years old. I just didn’t need one. I was playing in bands with guys older than me.

Every place I went, I either had a ride, or at that time it was safe to stand along side the road and stick my thumb out and hitch a ride.

My father had to force me to get my license even then. I’m glad he did.

Things were different back then, my parents didn’t buy me a car. I knew if I wanted one I would have to save my money to get one. So that’s what I did. I still liked the old cars even way back then but knew I could not afford one.

In fact the first car I was ever part owner of was a 1952 Cadillac.

A buddy of mine, I was working with and I bought this car for $50.00. It was really a mess. Both motor mounts were broken so we could not drive it up a hill or the engine would cock in the compartment and it sounded like a police car siren.

The floorboards were all rusted out and the exhaust was bad so all the fumes came up through the floor boards so we have to ride with the windows down. Needless to say that car didn’t last long.  We took it for it’s last ride to the junkyard and got $25.00 for it.. As I think back I wish I had that car today to restore.

Over the years I improved on my cars. I had a 57 Ford Fairlane that was a sweetheart. I had several corvettes, a 60 Pontiac GTO, a couple of mustangs and a couple of 1961 Chevy Impalas.

I had my share of great cars that I wish I would have hung on to some. Those cars are now worth a lot of money and I could not replace them for the same price that I bought them for.

Any of us that have been around a while know that cars back then were a lot cheaper. But then again we didn’t make as much money as we do today. I think at that time, the minimum wage was $1.25 per hour.

I remember ordering my first brand new car. I ordered it from the factory, a brand new 1969 Chevelle SS 396 Convertible. It was cherry red with black interior and a black top. I was worried about how I would pay for such a fancy car. The cost of the car was $3,200.00 and I have a car payment of $122.00 a month.,. YIKES!!! That was a lot of money back then.

After that, with work and starting a family I got away from cars for a long time although deep in my heart I still loved those old cars. They had personality. You felt proud driving them.

After I retired from the Police Department I moved here to Russell Springs and met a guy from Henderson, Kentucky, Fran Lutz.

He had several old cars and got that fire burning inside me again. I bought a 1947 Studabaker pickup truck from him and that got me started. Having trouble finding parts for the truck, I sold it and bought a 1960 Chevy.

I was having the car restored in Henderson, Kentucky and had to get it there to be worked on.

I met Tom Bernardi, most people know Tom and all the beautiful cars he has. I borrowed his car trailer to get my car to Henderson to have it worked on.

Three years later I got the car back. During that time Tom got me involved with a local car club here in Russell Springs. About a year later we formed our own club called the “OUTSIDERS”.

Since then I have bought a 1961 Corvair also and have been working on that for the past couple years. And lately I have been looking for another vintage convertible to restore, but so far I haven’t run across anything that caught my eye.

So for those of you who have asked and wondered how I got the old car bug, I can tell you it has always been there.

I think once you get behind the wheel of an old car and start driving, people look and smile and wave and your mind fills with memories of when you were younger and crusin the Drive Ins and having a good time with buddies and dates.

From attending Car Shows and Cruise Ins and talking to people I know there are a lot of old car buffs out there.

This next summer try to make it to one of the events going on in the area.

I promise you, as you walk through the crowd and look at the old cars, the memories will come flowing back. If you hear it once you will hear it many times,, “ I remember my Dad having a car like that” or “My first car was one of those”. Every person walking around will have a smile on their face,

I guarantee it.

If your Car Club is having an event and you would like us to tell everyone about or someone who you would like to see featured in this article send all information to, .

All information on upcoming events needs to be in at least two weeks before the event.

If your Club or church or group is having an event and you would like to display some classic cars at that event let me know at least two weeks before the event.

I will put you in contact with one of the clubs that will gladly bring their cars out for display. Until next time, Keep Cruisin!

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The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
P.O. Box 190
120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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