Keith Taylor column

My dad once owned a 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air. Although I never got to take a ride in the best car he says he ever owned, I heard a lot of stories about that car when I was growing up.

Dad also drove a black 1971 Chevrolet pickup that took us all over the map in Madison County in the days of my youth. I remember that truck would go when nothing else would. It was steady and lived up to the motto, “Like a Rock.” It was a steady ride and very dependable.

Last weekend, the Berea Volunteer Fire and Rescue had its annual “Blast from the Past” Car Show and I spent some time looking at some cars made in the past, but built to last. I saw a few older and newer model cars. They were all spectacular and the owners take pride in their ride.

Earl Brandenburg has had his 1955 Bel-Air for 42 years, but had it stored away for 32 years in his garage before he decided to show it off. He admitted that he’s not a frequent visitor to car shows, but likes to show off his treasure. He said his Tar Heel Blue Chevy is “as close to the original as you will find.”

Kevin Blake brought his 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air to the show. It was a mirror image of Brandenburg’s vehicle and if you set them side by side, it would be easier to pick out a set of twin brothers and sisters.

Unlike Brandenburg, Blake didn’t purchase his classic until last October. A frequent attendee of car shows throughout the region, he decided to shop around and find a classic of his own.

“I used to go to shows and didn’t have a car of my own,” he said. “Now I do and I love (going to car shows).”

Preston Sowder’s 1971 yellow Chevrolet C-10 pickup resembled the black one my dad drove often and it brought back memories of all the rides I took in that truck that I never fully appreciated until I got older.

The first “new” vehicle I bought was a 1993 Toyota 4X4. It was candy apple red and I put a ton of miles on that truck. It was a standard and I learned how to drive it on the way home. Dad was with me and he told me if I bought it, I had to drive it. I did and it lasted for five years. Like my dad, I wish I I still owned it and today, it would be a classic.

I miss that red truck and haven’t found one that resembles it since I sold it to Toyota South. One of these days, I’m going to find one just like it and buy it. My first purchase was a 1985 Chevrolet Blazer and I enjoyed driving it, too.

Older vehicles that are on the road these days require some tender loving care. But, what is the secret to keeping the Classics alive?

“You’ve got to keep them clean,” Brandenburg said.

Sometimes that’s all it takes.

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