Why Old Chevys Rule
By Cynthia MacGregor / June & July 2012
NOT ONLY IS JAMES WRIGHT the proud owner of two vintage cars, he is the president of the Antique Automobile Club of America, Fort Lauderdale region. A serious Chevy fan, he owns two vintage Chevrolets. His 1932 Chevrolet Confederate is a five-window coupe. Serge blue and black, it has a trunk, rather than a rumble seat.
Wright, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, got the car in 2008 and spent fourteen months restoring it, all to good advantage, as it was a first national winner at the AACA National Winter Meet in Homestead in 2011. The car was part of the 100th Anniversary of Chevrolet celebration in Flint, Michigan in July of 2011, where it won a third place trophy in the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America National Meet.
Perhaps even more exciting, his car was chosen to participate in the Boca Raton Concourse d'Elegance in 2011. Late night TV talkshow host and car guy extraordinaire, Jay Leno, hosted the event. He interviewed Wright, videotaping and photographing both car and owner. The car is featured on the web site Jay Leno's Garage.
The first car Wright ever owned, which he bought in 1965, was a '56 Chevy Nomad. Though the car was only nine years old at the time, it was fairly rare. There weren't a lot of Nomads made. Unfortunately, Wright wrecked it and that was the end of the car.
In the interim, Wright got married and had kids. Life went on. But, in 1984, the Gary Fronrath Chevrolet dealership in Fort Lauderdale sponsored a rocking chair contest. The person who rocked the longest was to win a car and the car was a '56 Chevrolet Nomad. Eager to win this clone of his original car, Wright entered the contest. And won. He rocked for eighty-three hours and seven minutes, a feat that won him the coveted '56 Nomad. He still has that car.
Wright's family shares his enthusiasm. His wife has a 1935 Chevy street rod, and his grandkids, although they don't own antique cars, appreciate his cars and often attend car shows with him. Wright himself attends car shows at least once a month and frequently as often as three times monthly.
Although he doesn't drive his classic cars every day, he does take them on the road for trips. He drove the Nomad to Punta Gorda for the grand opening of the muscle car museum there. He put his '32 Chevy on a trailer for the ride to Michigan last summer. Wright is a true Chevy enthusiast. His every-day car is a Chevrolet Silverado pickup.
Naturally, his fellow vintage car enthusiasts at his club and at car shows admire his vehicles. But when people outside the circle of classic car enthusiasts see his cars, they, too, are impressed. "Most people give them a thumbs-up," Wright reports, "and a lot of people take pictures as I am driving down the road."
In April of this year, Wright took his cars to Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton for its fifty-year anniversary. Among those in attendance was Arthur Jaffe, a professor emeritus, who co-founded the Jaffe department store chain in Pennsylvania and Ohio. "He was looking at my '32 Chevrolet and said it was an exact duplicate of his first car, so I gave him a ride," says Wright.
The two men drove around the campus in the vintage car. "He was like a kid in a candy store," said Wright of Jaffe. "He waved at everyone from the car."
Isn't having fun the point of collecting vintage cars? Wright, along with his family, gets a great deal of pleasure out of his vintage Chevys.
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