Just off of Walnut Street in downtown Seymour on Friday night, Jim McAfee had two of his pride and joys nearby.
One was his wife, Ann, and the other was his fiesta red 1956 Ford Thunderbird.
The Brownstown couple proudly talked about the unique-colored car with those attending the fourth annual Pre-Scoop Cruise-In and Car Show, sponsored by the Fraternal Order of Police Donald M. Winn Lodge 108.
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They also liked knowing event proceeds go to the lodge’s Cops and Kids program, which pairs local police officers with less-fortunate kids in Jackson County for a shopping experience in early December at Walmart Supercenter in Seymour.
“Oh yeah. Any time you can help the kids, it’s worthwhile,” Jim said.
The Thunderbird was one of 243 vehicles participating in the show. That’s an increase from 183 in 2018 and is the most in the four years of the event, said FOP President C.J. Foster. The number of event sponsors and silent auction donations has increased every year, too.
“I think people seeing everybody else get involved, they want to get involved. The ball just keeps rolling,” he said. “The people that come out to support this know where the money’s going. It’s going to buy Christmas presents for kids who are less-fortunate.”
Last year, the event raised around $8,700 for Cops and Kids, and Foster said he hoped to top $10,000 for the first time this year.
“The goal from Day 1 has been $10,000,” he said. “We were close two years ago. We had $9,700, so obviously, the goal is to go up and hit $10,000.”
Jim McAfee said he moved to Brownstown a couple of years ago, but Ann has lived here all of her life.
He bought the Thunderbird from a friend five years ago and said he had known about the car for 25 years.
“He had some health problems and had to sell a bunch of cars, so I bought this one off of him,” Jim said. “(The man and his wife) lived out in California, and he made his fortune out there. When they retired, they came back to the Rockville area. I used to live up in that area. He shipped 18 cars back from California to Indiana when they retired, and I knew this was one of them.”
It’s a rust-free California car, and the underpans are original, Jim said. The car was restored with paint and chrome 35 years ago and still looks sharp today.
“They made these little ‘Birds for three years — ‘55, ‘56, ‘57,” he said. “The ‘55s had a red-red. They came out with this orange-red for ‘56. Then for ‘57, they went back to red-red.”
Jim said he doesn’t drive the car too much, but he made sure to bring it to Friday’s show, and he and Ann planned to show it off again Saturday during Scoop the Loop in downtown Seymour.
“I’ve had some issues with it this summer. I had a heating problem and finally got that cured. Then I had a fuel problem. Hopefully, I’ve got that cured,” he said, smiling.
In the Walnut Street Parking Lot, Roger and Julie Whitsett’s 1968 Volkswagen Beetle received a lot of attention.
The shiny black paint, chrome wheels and black interior with red in the middle made the Seymour couple’s car a popular attraction.
Roger said he got his first Beetle — a 1966 model — in the 1980s when he was 17.
So what drew him to a Beetle?
“The money,” he said, smiling. “It was only $600.”
After he and Julie got married, they bought a 1970 Beetle. Then the 1968 Beetle was purchased in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“It wasn’t in real bad shape, but we redid the inside, had the outside painted, put new fenders and disc brakes on it. The engine, we sent it off to have it rebuilt,” Roger said.
He drives the Beetle to work every once in a while, but he mainly gets it out for special occasions, like Friday’s show and Saturday’s Scoop the Loop.
“It has gotten real big,” he said of the car show. “It’s a good cause, and you just know a lot of people here because it’s local.”
Julie also likes how it helps Cops and Kids.
“I like anything that helps kids. I’ve got two grandkids,” she said.
Nearby, Marcus Ross of Seymour was shining up his 2006 Dodge Dakota R/T, which is unique with a 4.7 Hemi.
“Some of them call it baby Hemi, semi Hemi, almost Hemi,” he said, smiling.
Ross bought the truck from Tom Gray three years ago. Gray got it from Kentucky, and it had 165,000 miles on it.
“There’s no rust on it anywhere,” Ross said. “It’s almost like a new truck.”
He also has a Dodge Journey and has long had an affinity for Mopar vehicles.
“I was a Mopar kid growing up,” he said. “When I graduated in ‘71 from Seymour, I had a ‘68 340 Formula S Barracuda, a ‘67 fastback Barracuda and a ‘68 Roadrunner. Mopar has a good horsepower rating.”
Ross said he would like to see Dodge come back out with the Dakota because it’s a good midsize truck.
“This is the only midsize truck that came out with V8. The other trucks all come out to 6 cylinder,” he said. “I would like to see them come back out with this with a 5.7 Hemi, the big Hemi in it. They could even do a 6.0 Hemi in this. There’s plenty of room in here to put the big engine in it. I think it would outsell the Ram 1500s.”
People might recognize Ross’ truck because it was featured on the 2018 Cars and Guitars T-shirt after winning the grand prize the year before.
“There are people wearing my truck around and they don’t know it,” he said, smiling. “That’s kind of neat.”
Being a part of the Pre-Scoop Cruise-in and Car Show again this year was exciting for Ross.
“It gets better every year,” he said, as vehicles had to be parked along Walnut Street because the two parking lots and grassy area were full. “It’s better this year than it was last year, better last year than it was the year before, so it’s growing. It’s still good, and it’s a good cause, just like Cars and Guitars.”
Foster said the event is a success with Seymour Area Cruisers members handling vehicle parking and judging.
He also had a lot of help from FOP members and support from all of the city departments. Plus, local band Bad Medicine provided entertainment.
“They’ve all got a part in this,” Foster said.