Car show in Fort Valley highlights spectrum of automotive history

wcrenshaw@macon.comApril 27, 2013 

FORT VALLEY -- David Gooch may not have had the most pristine vehicle at the Wheels in the Valley vehicle show Saturday, but he probably had the one that meant the most to its owner.

The 1955 Ford Fairlane has been in his family since his grandfather bought it new. Everything on it is original, including the blue and white paint job.

It has just over 78,000 miles and Gooch only drives it two or three times a year when he takes to car shows. He said it has never needed a significant repair.

“It runs like a sewing machine,” said Gooch, who lives in Bonaire.

His was among 95 vehicles at the annual event, which raises money for the Boys and Girls Club of Georgia Heartland and scholarships for Fort Valley students. In its seventh year, it is the brainchild of FVSU president Larry Rivers, a car restoration enthusiast.

He had his 1956 Chevy Bel Air Beauville station wagon in the show. The vehicle, restored to its original appearance, has been in his wife’s family since 1960. Fully restored station wagons are a rarity, he said.

He considers the show an educational opportunity for students.

“I think it’s a part of keeping with the history of the automotive industry,” he said.

The show featured a wide range of vehicles, including new models. James Collier of Atlanta probably had the oldest and rarest, a 1932 bright green Chevy Landau Phaeton convertible. Collier said only 419 were made and only 19 are believed to still exist. He said his is the only one in Georgia.

“I love rare things and I love things no one else has,” he said.

Although it runs, the only time he drives it when it takes it on and off a trailer to take it to car shows. For the second straight year, he won best in show for an original vehicle.

A motorcycle gang from Milledgeville was in attendance, but these guys seemed like no one to fear. They are mostly middle-aged and older men who ride together to attend various events that raise money for good causes.

The group, the Milledgeville Cruisers Bike Club, had only one bike in the show, a 2005 Honda Goldwing trike owned by Vick Walker. He has had the bike for about three years and figured he has invested about $30,000 in it.

While he also has a regular motorcycle, he said there are advantages to a trike beyond its uniqueness.

“You don’t have to put your foot down at a red light,” he said. “And the ladies gravitate to it.”

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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