Photography by Jim Knight
My love for cars developed during my high school years while working at a local Mobil gas station in Festus, Missouri. I met my wife, Maggie, when we were seniors in high school in 1965 – she always said she loved my cars as much as she loved me. During this time I owned a 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air Deluxe, 6-cylinder, 3-speed on the column, 2-door hardtop. I traded that car for a 1962 Chevy Impala convertible – 283, 3-speed on the column, white with red interior. What a beauty; I kept it immaculate, shiny, and running like a top.
Maggie and I married in 1967 while I was in the Air Force, stationed at Sewart Air Force Base in Smyrna, TN. During this time, we owned a 1967 Chevelle SS-396, 325HP, automatic. Then I bought a 1969 Chevelle SS-396, 325HP Muncie 4-speed. I was always on the lookout for another car. At one point, I even purchased a 1938 Chevy Fleetline in really bad shape, but I was going to work on it and get it looking brand new. Didn’t happen!
Over the years there were many cars of different makes and models. I always kept my vehicles looking great and spent hours lovingly scrubbing, polishing, waxing and buffing them to make sure they would be bright, shiny and clean.
As the kids came along and grew up, the number of cars purchased and sold became less and less, especially with all the expenses involved with colleges and then weddings. Not that I didn¹t continue to look and look and look. I would never get over my love of cars.
When we relocated to Branson, Missouri, in 2000, I went through what Maggie lovingly called my “classic car anxiety attacks.” Every time there was a car show and/or cruise on Highway 76 or Shepherd of the Hills Expressway in Branson I felt like a kid in a candy store, but I was always on the outside looking in. I would look at all the cars, read the info on them and talk to the owners. For months after the shows, I would look through papers, stop at used car lots, or if I saw one for sale, I would stop and ask about it. I never could quite make the decision to buy; this went on for years! I just had not found the right car!
In August 2010, I found it! I had been driving on Highway 76 and when I went by Branson Auto Museum, something caught my eye. I was so excited, I couldn¹t believe it. There sat a 1965 Chevrolet Impala 327, 300 HP automatic, 2-door hardtop bright red with black interior. It was perfect and it was beautiful. Big and very beautiful! Big and very RED! I fell in love with it. It just called to me. Now this was NOT at all what I thought would be my “dream car.” I had talked about owning a Tri-five Chevy. I also talked about another ‘62 Impala convertible. But, this is what Maggie and I purchased and I couldn’t wait to drive it around town and show off my very own classic car.
After purchasing the ‘65 we joined the Springfield Classic Chevy Club. This club is 112 members strong. We are proud to be a part of this wonderful club and thrilled that we were a part of the 36th Annual Classic Chevy International convention as the host club.
My wife, Maggie, and I have had a blast attending local car shows with the Impala. Then last summer we had the privilege of attending the 36th Annual Chevy Classics International show in Springfield, MO. There the Impala scored a 971 out of 1000 points in the 1965 modified junior class and took home a Platinum Certificate.
I want to give special thanks to my wife, Maggie, and my children, grandchildren and friends who have given me a helping hand or have touched this car, in one way or another.