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Sun shines on 18th annual car show

By JIM BREWER Published: July 4, 2017 4:00 AM
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Promoters for the 18th annual Loudonville Car Show dodged a bullet with the weather for Saturday's event, but total participation was down nonetheless.

The weather forecast broadcast on Friday morning called for an 80 percent chance of rain. While skies were threatening and at times a little bit drippy Saturday, the heavy rains never materialized, leaving the show cars, along with the concurrent Loudonville Antique Festival and fireworks later in the evening, pretty much dry. Temperatures hovered in the low 80s.

According to Valerie Spreng, director of the sponsoring Loudonville-Mohican Chamber of Commerce, car show participation was down. Good weather attracts as many as 500 cars but this year, with the threatening forecast, only 288 vehicles registered, with a total of about 350, she estimated, showing up for the event.

But the cars brought in, and the people who came to see them, were not disappointed.

An intriguing piece of Ashland County business history was at the show -- a 1948 Chevrolet tow truck brought by Jerry Aber of Ashland.

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The truck, Aber said, is the same model that his dad, Miles Aber, drove when he founded what has become Aber's Truck, Towing and Crane Services, and GMC dealer, back in 1950.

"Dad's original tow truck, which he bought and equipped in 1950, was totaled in a crash on Claremont Avenue at Baney Road in the mid-1950s, and my dad badly hurt, but even though I was very young I remembered that truck," Aber said while standing by his truck in the middle of the car show Saturday morning.

"I found this tow truck in Pennsylvania with the crane on the back, very much like the crane my dad installed on his truck in 1950," Aber said. "When I got it, I painted the Miles Aber Towing Service sign on the doors, and made a few other changes. The major difference between this truck and dad's is the front bumpers. This one has the original Chevy bumpers, while dad installed two rough-duty metal bumpers for extra strength. I was amazed when I found this truck that it had only 21,000 actual miles on it."

Aber's wasn't the only historically interesting car at Saturday's show. Bob Huy of Shreve brought the pristine 1956 Chevy Bel Air that he has owned for 61 years, buying it, he said, "brand new, when I was just 19!"

"While it's 61, it has pretty much all original equipment," Huy said. "The only thing new is the paint job. I had it repainted once."

Huy said he tries to bring his classic Chevy to the Loudonville Car Show every year. "This is one of the best car shows there is. The show is set up in a great location; there are lots of cars; and the people here are very friendly!"

Another historic vehicle drawing glances was Jim and Maxine Jackson of Polk's 1956 Packard Patrician.

Jackson said his huge, size-wise, 1956 Packard represents the last year Packards were sold for the open road, "and the Patricians were Packard's top-of-the-line model."

He bought his show car three years ago and says he tries to show it every weekend during the car show season.

Loudonville resident Chuck Darr proudly displayed his restored 1957 Ford F-100 pickup that he rescued 17 years ago from a field at the Wade and Gatton Nursery west of Butler in Richland County.

"I try to show it here at the Loudonville show every year. The first time I brought it, it was still very much in the restoration process, so I showed it without the doors," Darr said.

He has equipped the truck with a 1978 Ford Windsor 351-cubic-inch engine and a C-4 transmission taken from a 1964 Ford Falcon. Now painted to perfection in bright red, Darr said his truck has an all-steel body. He shows it at every nearby car show he can get to.

Perhaps the most unique car at the Loudonville show this year was the 1991 Nissan Figaro brought in by Jim Caro of Medina.

The Figaro, Caro explained, "is a Japanese-built car manufactured for the Japanese domestic market and not sold outside Japan."

"I learned about it from an article I read entitled 'Ten Cool Cars You Could Never Buy.' It was on that list because it was sold only in Japan," Caro said. "Then I discovered a car broker in England who had one for sale. So, 25 years ago, I bought it and he had it shipped to me."

It was painted in an unique color for a car, a pale aqua, Caro said, "and is what I call a quasi-convertible, not shaped like a convertible but still with a retractable top. It also has a unique feature -- rear fog lights -- apparently because like in England, there is a lot of fog in Japan."


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