Darryl Richards and I have known each other for almost 50 years. He was a regular at Beltsville Shell and he sold his 1957 Corvette to my brother, Wayne. Darryl plays a prominent role in Beltsville Shell: You Are What You Drive, he helped me get reconnected with Sharon Cox (who started the whole Corvette thing for me) and we have remained close all these years.
This month we both have had a big laugh over a common experience we have shared but never realized. We were talking on the phone the other day and Darryl told me about a very rare Maryland license plate he acquired. It is a “Tercentenary” plate – celebrating the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Colony of Maryland by Cecil Calvert, Lord Baltimore, when the Ark and the Dove arrived at Clement's Island near what became St. Mary's City. I told Darryl that I should buy the plate from him because it would remind me of the very brief period of time when I owned a 1934 Ford.
I found the black two door (suicide doors) three window coupe in a guy’s back yard in old College Park while I was at High Point High. It had a frame, body, full fenders, some suspension parts, but no engine, transmission or interior. Equipped with teenage enthusiasm and a J C Whitney catalog I was preparing to install a dropped front axle, convert to hydraulic brakes, and put a Chevy engine in it. The car was sitting peacefully in my parent’s back yard patiently waiting for me to have the coolest street rod in Beltsville. Every morning at breakfast my Mom would give me grief about the old Ford. She felt the neighbors were gossiping about it and would criticize her for having a junk yard in the neighborhood. Finally, after endless daily nagging, I succumbed to her pressure and I placed an article in the Washington Post to sell the car. In an instant two guys from Virginia showed up at my house with cash, a trailer and a truck for all the spare parts. My dream of a ’34 Ford was gone forever. Every January when I go to the Grand National Roadster Show and I see all those beautiful ’34 Fords, I relive my brief experience with my three window coupe.
When I told Darryl my ’34 Ford story he said that he once owned a ’34 Ford. Our conversation went something like this:
“Did yours have a rumble seat?”
“Yep, mine too!”
“Where did you get it?”
“I bought it from a guy off Metzrott Road”
“I SOLD mine to a guy off Metzrott Road!”
“My Mom made me sell the car while I was in high school!”
“My Mom also made me sell the car while I was in high school!”
We laughed so hard when realized that we had once owned the same car and all these years never knew it!
Yesterday Santa dropped by the house in Carlsbad and he left something very special under my Christmas tree. Maybe this present deserves to be affixed to a ’34 Ford some day! Thanks, Darryl, you are the greatest friend ever!