Bill Lake struggled Saturday trying to fit a 6-foot trophy in the backseat of his yellow-and-black 1970 Buick. The car, which had garnered the award, could not completely accommodate the supersized prize, and its owner ultimately left the decoration dangling diagonally out of the passenger side window.
Coastal Point • JOSH MILLER:
“That was a shock,” Lake, a resident of Salisbury, Md., said after winning the oversized ornament. “[The trophy] is amazing. It’s now the biggest thing I own.”
Selbyville Mayor Clifton Murray selected the beaut of a Buick as his mayor’s choice, culminating the vintage car show that had captivated all comers to the town’s 49th annual Old Timer’s Day.
“It was a tough choice. I’d like to have all of the cars in my garage,” Murray said. “I was looking for originality and that one just kind of caught my eye. I changed my mind about four times to be honest.”
The antique autos, all born before 1973, started lining up along Main Street in downtown Selbyville just after 9 a.m. The field comprised 81 vehicles, including separate categories for tractors and motorcycles respectively.
“The competition was awesome,” said Robert Lee Mills III, the owner of a 1936 Chevy pickup, which earned a trophy for a top-20 placing. “I would say 90 percent of the vehicles are just top-notch.”
Spectators spent the better part of Old Timer’s Day pacing up and down the line of glimmering gas guzzlers, pointing and picking favorites.
Ada Cooper, 71, of Millsboro voiced a particular predilection for a yellow 1931 Chevy, which reminded Cooper of her grandfather’s car, she said, reminiscing about sun visors on side doors and valor-lined interiors. The nostalgia-inducing coach, owned by Joan and Jerry Rice of Lewes, also notched a spot in the top 20.
Proud proprietors, meanwhile, polished paint jobs, adjusted mirrors and advocated for their entries. Bud Morley, from West Ocean City, Md., handed out candy to people passing by his red 1948 Ford. Calling attention to his “Kandyman” vanity license plates, Morley made sure everyone knew his vessel was a Maryland-inspected machine and not just a relic. Bert, his wife, described the couple’s yearly pilgrimage to the Frog Folley’s Car Show in Evansville, Ind., which adds 1,900 miles annually to the old-school pedometer.
“We use it, we don’t ever trailer it,” she said. “And if it breaks down, we have AAA.”
Other local owners, such as Tony Russo, the Selbyville title-holder of a blue 1955 Thunderbird, were content to keep their showpieces close to home.
“Usually, I travel miles to go to a car show,” said Russo, who was honored with a top-20 trophy. “Now they have one right here, so that’s pretty cool.”
Another Selbyville native, Jerry Long, along with his wife, Sue, claimed first prize in the tractor division for his Allis Chalmers G from 1949.
“This (event) is pretty nice,” he said. “It gives us something to do on a Saturday.”
While personal vehicles eventually wheedled the Old Timer’s Day spotlight, the festivities began with an ode to Selbyville’s history of mass transportation. Mayor Murray — surrounded by Town Councilmen Jay Murray, Richard Duncan, Frank Smith and Clarence Tingle, and Town Manager Gary Taylor — cut the ribbon to open Southern Delaware’s newest railroad museum.
“There’s a lot of neat stuff in there,” the mayor said. “And I hope in the future, there’s a lot more neat stuff.”
Sussex County Council Member Vance Phillips, State Sen. George Bunting and State Rep. Gerald Hocker also addressed attendees — the latter saying he could now prove to Dover that Selbyville was spending the state’s money wisely.
The Selbyville Railroad Museum has been two years in the making, according to Town Manager Taylor. Taylor spearheaded the effort to revitalize and utilize the town’s old railroad station, once a major hub for the Strawberry trade in the early 1900s. The citizens of Selbyville and its surrounding areas, he said, cooperated in compiling the approximately 150-item collection, which includes old chicken coops, bank teller windows and telegraph machines. About 80 percent of the showpieces came as donations.
But Old Timer’s Day was not solely enjoyed by the sentimental. For children, the fair featured face painting, carnival games and a moon bounce. Food vendors, bookending the car show, dolled out plenty of hot dogs, pork BBQ, ice cream and baked goods for bellies old and young. Michael Tracey White and Cherry Bud, performing all the while from the festival’s main stage, provided the festival’s soundtrack. And Mother Nature contributed an afternoon of sunshine and moderate temperatures.
“The weather was certainly beautiful,” the mayor said. “We were very pleased with the turnout, and how things went. We got a good number of people.”
TOP 20 TROPHIES:
1964 Impala (owner Dave Shugard)
1963 Impala (owner Alfred Hudson)
1931 Ford Phaeton (owner Bruce Palmer)
1934 Ford (owner Robert Birch)
1967 Police Car (owner Charles Hastings)
1936 Chevy Pickup (owner Robert Mills)
1967 Nova (owner Rick Clogg)
1954 Ford Panel (owner David Rice)
1936 Woody (owner Steve Lamphier)
1956 Chevy Pickup (owner Bruce Hudson)
1948 Chevy Pickup (owner Elisha Jones)
1933 Ford Pickup (owner Mike West)
1955 Chevy (owner Lee Martin)
1931 Chevy (owner Jerry Rice)
1959 Corvette (owners Steve and Mary Wilkerson)
1948 Chevy Pickup (owner Robert Birch)
1955 Chevy (owner Virgil Truitt)
1968 Nova (owner Mike Turner)
1927 Chrysler (owners Joseph and Janet Kansak)
1955 Thunderbird (owner Tony Russo)
MAYOR’S CHOICE TROPHY:
1970 Buick (owner William Lake)
1st Place: Allis Chalmers G (owner Jerry Long)
2nd Place: Allis Chalmers WD45 (owners Bob and Shirley Rhodes)
3rd Place: Ferguson (owner Clarence McCabe)
1st Place: HD Deuce (owner Mike Giardina)
2nd Place: 1977 Honda Goldwing (owner Bruce Bennett)
3rd Place: 2004 Big Dog Chopper (owner Craig Suttka)