Preserving Racing History
Old race cars are like pieces of art work. They each have their own unique story. They have their own homemade parts and they have their scraps and dents from wrecks they have been in. They are all one of a kind. Finding these cars and restoring them to their original condition is a passion of my husbands which in turn, is slowly starting to become a passion of mine.
Recently my husband, Ray, came across an ad in a vintage car magazine for someone looking for parts for an old race car of Marty Robbins. He contacted the person listed, Al Jones and asked if he may be interested in selling the car.
Marty Robbins was a very accomplished country musician who also raced in NASCAR on occasion and appeared in a few major motion pictures. He had several big hit songs including “El Paso” which earned him one of his Grammy Awards. He starred in the movie “Hell on Wheels” among others and he ran 35 NASCAR races earning six top 10 finishes.
So after Ray did the negotiating, off to Nashville we went to pick up our latest purchase. In the meantime Ray had contacted Marty’s son Ronnie and had made arrangements to meet him at the Nashville Fairgrounds where Marty used to race this particular car. It always adds value and credibility to a project to have first hand stories and authentication so we make sure to get all of this documented on video or in writing.
Al Jones had the car stored in an old barn out behind his house in the beautiful hills of Tennessee. We pulled the car out with a tractor and loaded onto an open trailer. We then brought it to the fairgrounds to meet Ronnie. While sitting up in the grandstands as we filmed, Ronnie shared story after story with Ray about his dad and about this specific car. One story I enjoyed in particular, was how his dad had to leave the races before the feature one night because the races were running late and he had to perform at the Grand Ole Opry.
Now that we have the car back in North Carolina at our shop, the restoration process begins. It is hard to tell how long it will take. It depends on how difficult it is to locate original or period correct parts for the car. And as you can see by the pictures, we have our work cut out for us!
When the project is complete, the plan is to take it back to the Nashville Fairgrounds so everyone can see it. We will let Ronnie and Al both drive it and then we will add it to our personal car collection to continue to preserve racing history.