Friday, January 11, 2008

Hamby's Pre-owned Car Lot ...

My son loves cars. I’ll explain. When I moved my family back to Beaumont in 1983, Brian enrolled at West Brook High School.

Brian wanted a car but was told that he would have to get a job and buy one for himself. I didn’t think he would go for that but he did. He bought a 1970 Dodge Swinger from Beaumont photographer Clem T. Webb. It was red with a black vinyl top. It was a beautiful six cylinder job and ran like a top. In fact I enjoyed driving it on occasion.

One afternoon I drove the Swinger over to a Texaco Station located on Delaware St. at I-10. While the gasoline was pumping I went inside the office to pay. Then I noticed that what I believed to be a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow had pulled to the pumps behind the Swinger. I stepped outside to get a better look. There by the door stood the late Mr. Ben Rogers, prominent and well-known Beaumont business developer.

I said, “Mr. Rogers, my son’s 1970 Dodge looks a bit plain next to your Rolls Royce don’t you think.” He replied, “I’ll tell you a secret. There are days when I would trade you even.” Quickly I extended my hand and sputtered, “It’s a done deal.” Mr. Rogers said, “Not so fast. This is not one of those days.” I acknowledged defeat and drove back home in my son’s Swinger. That’s as close as I’ll ever come to owning a Silver Shadow.

When Brian enrolled in college at Abilene, Texas, another chapter of automobile enthusiasm emerged. The first summer Brian was back at home, he landed a job driving for Domino’s Pizza. He came home one night and said that he and his manager were going to take a couple of days off and head over to Stephenville, Texas. And so they left.

We didn’t see Brian for two or three days and began to wonder if anything had happened to him. Then he showed up driving this lovely blue 1957 Chevrolet 210 Station Wagon. He purchased it from a junk dealer in Stephenville. And here is the rest of that story.

When Brian and his manager arrived at the junk yard in Stephenville, they intended only to buy some parts off of the Chevy. Brian previously had seen the car over in a scrap yard while driving down I-20. When they looked the car over it appeared to be in pretty good shape.

Instead of salvaging parts, they borrowed the battery from his manager’s car and placed it in the Chevy. After some doings, the motor cranked up and began to run. Brian went into town and bought a battery and a tire hand pump. To make a longer story short, Brian paid the junk dealer $600 for that Station Wagon, ran it through a car wash and drove it home to Beaumont. He had only one blowout on the entire trip. Simply amazing.

The floorboard was rusted out and while driving you could look down and see the road passing beneath your feet. This did not deter Brian. He painted signs on the rear windows that read, “I Mow.” He carried our lawn mower around in the back of that station wagon and mowed lawns in the Minglewood area located in north Beaumont.

Someday I’ll write about the green 1974 Plymouth Satellite that Brian arranged to have towed to our house. It never did run. He left it parked in our driveway for two years. Finally I called a junk dealer to come haul it off. Then there was the red 1966 Chevy Impala Hardtop that smoked like Mobil Refinery.

But those are stories for another day.

Winston Hamby
The Beaumont Enterprise


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