NORTH LIMA - “It’s a labor of love.”
That encapsulated John Stephens’ attitude regarding the 11 years he invested in building his 1967 Ford F-100 Step-side truck.
Stephens, of Ravenna, used to own an auto accessories shop in Florida and was used to performing custom work and window tinting on his customers’ vehicles. Eventually, though, the time came when he wanted to do such work for himself.
The finished product was out for all to see during Sunday’s fifth annual Father’s Day car show at South Range High School, sponsored by the Beaver Township Ruritan Club.
“I resurrected it from the ground up,” Stephens said, adding that he spent between $25,000 and $30,000.
Next to Stephens’ eye-catching vehicle was a rebuilt gray 1955 Chevrolet owned by his father-in-law, Bob Smith of Poland.
It took Smith about eight years and $60,000 to give an all-modern look to his vehicle, which he completed in 2005. That included a new engine, four-speed transmission and disc brakes.
“I did it all myself, except for the paint work,” he added. “The car was in a million pieces before I built it.”
The show was truly a family affair for the two men. On hand were Stephens’ wife, Shelly, and their 13-month-old daughter, Kalli, as well as Smith’s wife, Shirl. (all names ok. Sb)
Perfect weather greeted attendees, who leisurely strolled the grounds and extolled the virtues of numerous vintage cars, trucks and motorcycles. A sample included a bright blue 1956 Ford convertible, a cream-colored 1955 Chevrolet truck, a 1967 Firebird with a 285-horsepower engine, a green 1964 Volkswagen Buggie with raised headlights and a 1957 Cushman Eagle trike.
Jeff Burns of North Lima didn’t have a car on display, but brought daughters Savannah, 9, and Tiffany, 13, as well as sons Christian, 4, and Tyler, 7. The family lives across the street from the school and seeing the cars was largely responsible for enticing them to spend part of Father’s Day at the event, Tiffany said.
Burns listed a nearby blue 1973 Dodge Challenger as his favorite “because it’s a Dodge,” he added with a chuckle.
Also keeping with the Father’s Day theme was Don Swope, a Ruritan member who came with his 43-year-old son, Jeff. The elder Swope also served as one of the judges.
Swope, who owns Swope’s Barber Shop on Market Street in Boardman, noted that car owners could earn up to a total of 100 points, with 10 in each of 10 categories. Those included overall appearance, trim, tires, paint, interior and glass.
About 120 participants registered, with more than 120 vehicles in the show, said Swope, who owns a 1979 Pontiac Grand Prix he hopes to convert to a factory stock vehicle.
The Father’s Day car show also featured a 50/50 raffle, Chinese auction, trivia, prizes and a disc jockey playing oldies music. Dash plaques were to be given to the first 100 cars.