Cars, cars, cars at Ray Varner Ford

Sandra ClarkAnderson, Halls

What is it about boys and cars?


The side lot at Ray Varner Ford was packed Saturday with cars, mostly Mustangs, and guys. There were old guys with gray beards, little guys wearing T-shirts with words, and guys in the middle at the slow-paced event. Car owners and a few spouses had arrived at daybreak to set up. The show opened at 8 a.m. with judging at noon. Prizes were awarded at 2 p.m.

The 30th annual Tennessee Valley Mustang Club Car Show raised money for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, but mostly it was a chance for some good ol’ boys to gather and talk cars.

Bob Engle, from Elk Valley near LaFollette, brought his 1921 Studebaker. It looked quaint, sitting alongside the muscle cars. Bob loved to talk about it. “It was hand-made,” he said. “There were no assembly lines in 1921. … And there are only four known to exist. Well, actually this one is No. 5 but I’ve not registered it yet.”

Engle called the restoration a four-year labor of love. He spent $5,000 (“a little high,” he said) to have four fenders perfected, the heavy black metal polished inside and out. The original bumpers were painted black, but he brought them to Knoxville Plating and turned them into shiny chrome.

“Everything works, but I want an ooga horn.”

The gold-colored radiator cap contains a thermomotor. When the cap is screwed on tightly, the back side has a circle, visible to the driver. As the temperature rises, the circle turns red. “Then you stop,” Bob told the Sotomayor brothers.

“You had to be pretty smart to build a car without a computer,” I said. The boys just looked puzzled, like 1921 was prehistoric.

“So, how much would you take for this car,” I asked Bob Engle.

“Oh, a quarter of a million,” he said with a smile. But it’s not for sale.

If you want to buy it or just go see it, call Engle at 423-912-1354 or email him at happytractorbob35 @gmail.com. And enjoy the photo gallery.

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