Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

Deluxe 1950 Plymouth Turtle Back Business Sedan

A very long time ago, I lived in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. There was not too much going on in Carlisle at that time despite the fact the town was home to the Army War College, Dickinson College and Dickinson School of Law. The natives pretty much chose to keep life simple. Growing white asparagus was the highlight, with one notable exception: The Carlisle Auto Fair.

Every year the muddy Carlisle Fairgrounds was over taken by miles of muddy men selling hubcaps for Oldsmobiles made in 1954-1962, tires for Fords from the 1960s, Corvette hood ornaments, Tbird steering wheels, you name it. Quite the subculture. My Pittsburgh brother, a corporate lawyer, was into restoring vintage cars as a hobby. Once a year he would trade in his dress shoes for boots and drive on over to Carlisle to peruse the hubcaps. I went with him.

“Not original paint on that Ford,” he would whisper to me with a hint of distain.

“How much for that trim?” he’d ask a guy in dirty jeans smoking a cigarette hovering over odd shaped pieces of steel. On hearing the answer my brother would shake his head and say, “Nahhhhh, you’re kidding me! That’s way too much.” Then after about 15 minutes of faux haggling Brother would walk away holding some curvy chrome item purchased at the price they both had in mind at the beginning of negotiations.

One year we were walking around when we spotted a group of tough looking dudes all in black sitting up on the hill. They spotted us first. “How much for the woman?” one guy asked my brother. I pretty much put my feet into 5th gear. Brother had spent a lot of money that day and might want to off set costs.

I thought of all this today when I took my car to the New Old Santa Fe Trail Garage for a new brake light. Ranger and Joe have been praying over my car, that would be the same car, for 15 years. After Joe quickly popped in the new light, I looked over at the garage and saw a very shiny black vintage car.

“Was that car made in about 1950?” I asked. Joe about fell to the ground. He knows I do not know how to add windshield wiper fluid.

“YES! I restored it. It’s a 1950 Plymouth Business Sedan, Turtle Back Deluxe model. Very rare.”

So here you go Brother, complete with dice and cherries:




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