Look at these shiny classic cars from the Friendswood show

Obviously, you don’t think twice when you see a Texas license plate, but if that plate is on a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air sports coupe in coral and shadow gray colors, for me it’s the shot lightning.

For car enthusiasts, there were plenty of great sights at the annual Friendswood Chamber of Commerce Car and Bike Show held in Stevenson Park on May 21st.

Beautifully restored vehicles that have found new life as treasures on the road have been awarded in several categories.

The love for these cars runs deep. There was David Shafer from Houston dusting his gray Corvette under one of the trees in the park, and there was a red 1971 Volkswagen bus that had a motorhome on the roof, storage for a skateboard in the back, a Subaru engine and license plates that read “Mary Jane” – named after Mungo Jerry’s song “Sweet Mary Jane”.

Every vehicle has a story

Some of the car owners, like Mike Wagoner, detailed on a sign how these classic cars ended up at Stevenson Park in the first place. In most cases, it was a long and difficult journey.

This beautiful Chevy Bel Air was a “barn find” in Missouri that was in such poor condition that it had to be dragged from its so-called secret location because the tires were rotting.

“For 20 years, I looked for a ’55, but it had to be coral, gray shadow. It had to be coral, shade gray from the factory,” Wagoner said. “Bob Coonrod, a famous restaurateur from Missouri, went to this farm that a family was selling. He went over there and got two tractors and he bought two old trucks.

“As he was leaving, under this lean-to, connected to the barn, he saw a rear light go out. He told them he had a friend who was looking for a car in that color,” he said. “They had to put tires on it to get it out of that barn. The engine was no good, the transmission was no good, otherwise we would have restored it to original condition. This is how the process began.

What Wagoner, who lives in Pearland, left out was that when Coonrod was just 16, he noticed the same vehicle near the same barn and wanted to buy it then. But his purchase request was turned down and for about 20 years he stayed there until the family farm came up for sale.

Wagoner’s wife, Ruby, did a painting of what the car looked like in its original condition, and the transformation from what it looked like in Missouri to what was on display in Stevenson Park is nothing short of stunning.

A 1953 Corvette was also on display, a dazzling white one in fact with a red dashboard and red trim on the steering wheel.

It’s not hard to imagine one of these vintage vehicles on display rumbling down the road in its prime. Thanks to the annual chamber car show, we can observe the real things up close, imagining all the buttons and gadgets performing their functions for days gone by.

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Maria R. Newman