By Aubrey LoveSeptember 8, 2016
FORT SILL, Okla., Sept. 8, 2016 -- Active duty Soldiers, retirees and civilians showed off their stunning wheels and detailed work with their vintage-to-new cars during a car show here, Sept. 3.
Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation along with Sweet Temptationz Car Club and Lawton Truck and Audio hosted the show near the Auto Crafts Center.
"This year we have 33 entries and 30 of them are active or retired military," said Rick Mahan, owner of Lawton Truck and Audio. "Generally with these local shows, you get the same cars each year and so it's not uncommon for them to win a class a couple of years in a row," said Mahan. "What I like about today is that we are seeing a lot of new cars."
Mahan, who volunteered to judge the show, said the good turnout made it a success.
"Cars from across the decades were represented by classes from complete restorations to street rod modifications," he said.
The cars ranged from a 1929 Ford owned by retired Sgt Maj. W.G. Crouch to a 2015 Chrysler 300 owned by Sgt. Dyjuan Smith.
"We are very happy with the turnout, especially considering the new restrictions for getting on post," said Mahan.
The Commander's Choice award went to Kenneth Williams, owner of a 1967 Chevelle. Williams, husband of Lt. Col. Rhonda Williams, and his son Randall, a National Guard reservist, worked on restoring the car in their garage for about five years before it was show-ready.
"My dad had a bunch of models that he put together as a kid and this was my favorite, so we decided to find one just like it to build," said the younger Williams.
His dad said they had a hard time finding one that was within their budget.
"We looked at some here locally, but wound up getting one that we found on eBay and drove to New Mexico to pick it up," said Williams.
"It's a total frame-off restoration, meaning that we stripped it all the way down and rebuilt it from the frame up," he said. "It took us about five years to restore the car because sometimes it had to take a backseat (no pun intended) to other, more pressing projects."
Of course, trying to find parts was a challenge in itself, he added. "Sometimes you just have keep looking until you find the exact part and not settle for parts that are not right."
Williams paid $2,000 for the car as it sat and put another $25,000 into the restoration.
"Both back quarter panels had to be replaced along with the floor-board and other parts due to the amount of rust," said Williams. "It had no interior or engine and several small parts were missing as well. We had to send off a lot of parts such as door handles and key lock covers to be re-chromed and buy already-chromed parts for the engine and interior.
It was a long process and a lot of work, but it was a labor of love, he added. "Currently the value of the car is about $45,000, but we don't plan on selling it anytime soon."
Plaques were awarded to entrants for best paint and interior; in-show officer, NCO and enlisted; and the commander's award.