Joe Major can still feel that smile.
It stretched from ear to ear the moment he saw the 1969 Chevelle ss 396 in Dallas.
“It was emotional,” he says. “We couldn’t stop smiling all the way home.”
The other person in this “we” equation is Major’s wife, Marilyn Major, who also was excited to find the car. It was an exact match of the car Joe Major drove while the New Roads couple were dating in high school.
Though it wasn’t his actual car, the memories attached to it were great. The pair drove so many places in that car, and now they’re traveling to even more places in its match.
Joe Major shows the Chevelle, along with his 1972 GMC 1500 truck at classic car shows throughout the United States, but New Roads’ Spring Street Festival and Classic Car Show is one of the most exciting for him.
This is the sixth year for the show, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in downtown New Roads.
“It’s the sixth year, but we’ve really been doing this for about 10 years,” Major says. “It started out with about 10 or 12 cars, and now it attracts about 300.”
That’s as in exhibitors. The show stretches the length of downtown New Roads, and Major’s vehicles are among them.
It all started when Major started looking for something to do 15 years ago, after his kids left home. He’d worked as a mechanic in his younger years, and he decided that he wanted to drive the kind of car he drove in high school.
“We drove muscle cars,” he says. “I drove one when I was 18 — the Chevelle. We’d been searching for one for five years. We looked in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. Then we finally found it in Dallas.”
The Majors were excited about the prospect, but reality hit when they actually saw the car. They were elated, their smiles instant.
And if Major’s smile could have stretched beyond his ears, it would have.
“We were so happy,” he says. “It took us about three years to do a total restoration of the car. We began showing it in 2009.”
And by that time, Major began thinking about the kind of truck he drove when he and Marilyn first married. It was a 1970 GMC 1500. His thoughts turned into a search, which landed a 1972 version.
“It was like my truck, and it was the same color,” he says. “It’s now a classic.”
Now Major is looking to restore a convertible. His third grandchild, a girl, was born a few weeks ago, and he plans to leave a classic car for each.
“We’re having fun with them now, and they can have fun with them later,” Major says.
The Majors drive their vehicles to shows that are nearby but load them on trailers for long distance shows.
“We don’t want to drive them on the interstate if at all possible,” Major says. “There are too many hazards, especially the damage that can be done by rocks that are thrown by trucks.”
The Majors make friends at the show, but there’s no place like home.
“We’re excited about this weekend,” Major says. “We love showing in New Roads.”