Paul Brandon still has the 1932 Ford Roadster with a rumble seat he bought in 1950 for $150.
"It had a horrible paint job," he said. "It was brush painted, if you can imagine. But I didn't care. I liked the car."
Brandon, 82, of Finley, drove that classic piece of steel for decades before he retired it to his garage, where he spent several more years refurbishing it, the last few with the help of his great-grandson-in-law, Ron Bergman.
Today, that roadster is worth about $150,000, he said. It has a 1948 Ford 8-cylinder flathead motor with a 1949 Mercury crank shaft, Chevrolet valves and a Harmon-Collins three-fourths race camshaft. It gets about 18 miles to the gallon, he added.
Brandon plans to drive the cherry-condition roadster to the Cool Desert Nights event, which is June 22-24 in Richland.
He drove the car to California at least twice when his three now-grown daughters were little girls.
"They sat in the rumble seat the whole way, except when it rained," he said.
Paula Bailey, his middle daughter, recalls those long trips.
"When it rained, my sisters and I would have to scoot onto the floor of the rumble seat so it could close so we wouldn't get drenched," Bailey said.
But sometimes the rain came down so hard all three girls would have to cram into the single bench seat cab with their parents.
"That made for a pretty cramped ride for a while," laughed Paul Brandon's wife Doris. "It's really not such a comfortable car to ride in for very long. Not in today's standards anyway."
In 1986, Brandon had an 18-year-old neighbor kid give the roadster a paint job. With high gloss blue car paint, he put six coats of paint on the car.
"I've never had to have that car painted again," Brandon said. "That kid did a wonderful job."
Doris Brandon said she is used to playing second fiddle to her husband of 62 years for his love of that roadster.
Paul Brandon was asked once if he still had the classic roadster, but it was his wife who answered.
"I told him, 'You still see me here don't you?' He'd get rid of me before he'd ever get rid of that car," Doris said with a hearty laugh. "He guards that roadster with his life."
But Paul Brandon gives plenty of credit to his grandson-in-law for helping him get the car ready for various Northwest car shows, like Cool Desert Nights.
"Ron takes as much pride in that car as I do," he said. "It'll be his one day."
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org