Car show offers bright, shiny and unusual

Sunday, August 9, 2015
Banner Graphic/Eric Bernsee
Spectators admire the Best of Show-winning 1954 Ford F-100 pickup truck displayed by Jay Arnold Saturday at the sixth annual Children's Miracle Network Car Show at the Putnam County Fairgrounds.

Eye-catching chrome. Eye-poppingly bright colors. Cars of our dreams. Memories ...

That was the shining take-away from the sixth annual Children's Miracle Network Car Show that brought more than 150 vehicles to the Putnam County Fairgrounds Saturday.

Among those gleaming in the noonday sun was the brilliant Jaguar Italian racing red pearl-colored 1954 Ford F-100 pickup truck that earned Best of Show honors for Jay and Karen Arnold of Plainfield.

Banner Graphic/Eric Bernsee
Above is the deceiving front end of the 1934 "Gatsby" created and exhibited by Richard Evans of Brazil.

Also standing out was the stylish 1954 Ford Skyliner with the see-through top owner by Jim McAfee of Russellville who positioned an old magazine ad on the back seat that fittingly read "the most distinctive car under the sun."

Or perhaps the bright red 1940 Ford coupe of Al Seidel of Indianapolis or the candy-apple red 1950 Mercury Phil Humphreys of Greencastle acquired recently may have tripped your trigger.

But certainly the most unique vehicle on display was the "1934 Gatsby," as owned Richard Evans of Brazil calls it.

The stylish roadster, reminiscent of the Duesenbergs and Auburns of that Gatsby era, is a creation Dr. Frankenstein would love. Parts from no less than nine vehicles have been salvaged to create Evans' Gatsby.

"Everybody thinks it's a kit," Evans said.

And that rankles him a bit. After all he's used his electrician background ("You know," he said, "an electrician's work is about 10 percent electrical and 90 percent mechanical") to create a whole that is certainly greater than the sum of its varied parts.

The frame is a modified 1981 Ford Crown Victoria reshaped and stripped out, he said. The body, meanwhile, has been modified from a 1970 MG Midget.

Banner Graphic/Eric Bernsee
Richard Evans (right) shows off his 1934 "Gatsby," which combines the modified frame of a 1981 Ford Crown Victoria and the body of a 1970 MG Midget along with smaller parts from at least nine other vehicles into a stylish roadster.

A 302-cubic-inch Ford engine from that Crown Vic powers the car with a transmission from the same vehicle.

Evans got the idea for his creation after finding a guy in California creating "Gatsbys."

"He wanted $60,000 for them," he said Saturday. "I couldn't afford that"

So Evans bought the stylish fenders off him and set about scavenging junkyards and flea markets for the rest of the pieces himself.

"I've got a lot less than that ($60,000) in it," the Clay County man smiled as one admirer called it "a poor man's Duesenberg," noting that "it's got that style."

It's also got a grille from a 1979 Mercury Cougar, a luggage rack from a Model A Ford, a gas tank from a 1973 Ford van, lights and horns from a 1934 Ford, chrome exhaust pipes from a semi (with parts of a light fixture giving it that finished look as it enters the engine cowling, the gas filler neck from a 1962 Datsun and the air conditioner out of a Mazda RX3.

Then there's the leather seats.

Evans was at the junkyard, looking for an air conditioner that would fit under his dash when he spotted the seats in a wrecked 1980 Honda Civic.

Not divulging just how important those seats were to his creation, Evans asked the junkyard owner how much he wanted for them.

"He said he'd take $40. I couldn't pass that up."

The car even has a second horn -- an ah-oogh-a variety from a 1932 Lincoln that the 84-year-old Evans had waiting for the right opportunity to employ since he was in high school. He mostly just likes to watch passersby jump when he blows the horn.

The whole creation took Evans five years -- or 2,090 hours, he said -- to complete.

"I kept track of it all," he smiles, saying he included the hours spent scouring junkyards for what he needed.

Evans, who says he plans to keep driving it "just as long as I can," has been taking the Gatsby to car shows for 26 years, and although he's always attracted attention, he's somehow missed out on the winner's circle.

"I got a trophy one time as the runner-up 'Rat Rod,'" he said, shaking his head. "It wasn't even the best Rat Rod."

Winners selected in Saturday's Children's Miracle Network Car Show sponsored by Walmart Distribution Center associates were:

Best of Show -- Jay Arnold 1954 F-100 pickup truck.

General Manager's Choice -- William Miller, 1963 Corvette Split Window.

Best Import -- Ken Wasulko, 1966 VW Beetle.

Best Mopar -- Darrell Keck, 1970 Plymouth Road Runner.

Best Open Class and People's Choice Award -- Mike Baker, 1952 Willy's Jeep M38A1.

Best GM -- James Rough, 1937 Chevrolet Master.

Best Late Model -- Steve Morea, 2014 Dodge Charger RT.

Best Rat Rod -- Don Jones, 1928 International Hearst.

Best Ford -- Tom Sullivan, 1963 Ford Fairlane.

Survivor Class --David Wilson 1936 Ford truck.

Best Truck -- Greg Adams, 2014 Ford Raptor Monster Truck.

Rick Fulford Memorial Award (two winners) -- Steve Greeson, 1967 Chevrolet pickup; Jim McCollough, 1967 Chevrolet El Camino.

Best Club Participation -- Bent Rods from Cloverdale with 26 cars.

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  • My husband and I showed a vehicle in that show, but where is the information about the rest? There were a ton of pictures taken of different cars but only one car and one man spoken of in the article. We were also told the amount raised would be in this article but there was no mention of it. How much was raised? As an antique owner, it is nice to know this guy's story but others need to know more about the reason for the eevent and it's benefits.

    -- Posted by SchnauzerMom on Thu, Aug 13, 2015, at 7:38 PM
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