In December of 1959, Larry Shepherd was working at Indiana Gear Works at 19th Street and Martindale Avenue in Indianapolis.
Fred Boucher, one of his co-workers, arrived to work one morning and stated that he was going to have to sell his car.
When Larry asked why, Boucher said his wife wanted a washer and dryer.
Larry and his wife, Carolyn, had talked about buying an old car for a toy. Fred’s car was a 1932 Pontiac Eight Sport coupe, and Larry thought it was in pretty decent shape, but it did need parts of the wooden frame and roof replaced.
When he purchased the car he had no idea how rare it was. Pontiac only built this model for 90 days, cranking out 6,281 before halting production. The 251-cubic-inch V-8 block was the first to be cast in one piece.
In 1933, Pontiac went to an inline straight eight due to the high cost of manufacturing the V-8. The body and all parts were unique to the Eight Sport coupe, although Pontiac had several other models in 1932. The car had been designed to be an Oakland, which at the time was part of General Motors. The car had been designed and was ready for production when GM decided to drop the Oakland.
So GM put a Pontiac nameplate on the car and built out the parts on hand. When Larry drove the car home the odometer turned over 15,000 miles. He never registered or plated the car until 2001, when he completed a four-year restoration on the classic! He did, however, keep it in running condition and won the Newport Hillclimb four times before restoring it. He would drive it on country roads from time to time to keep it roadworthy.
Larry has a complete paper trail back to the day the car was purchased new by Jesse McClintick, who bought it for $945 on Jan. 27, 1932. For some reason he did not register it until January 1933. McClintick owned the car until he was murdered in 1957.
The second owner, Neal Busby, only owned the coupe from March 1957 to October 1957 before selling it to Arrow Pontiac. The dealership had the car until July 1958 and sold it to John Quineey Elliot, who only kept it for a little over a year before selling it to Fred Boucher in November 1959.
Since Larry bought it within a month after Fred acquired it, it seems that no one owned the car very long except the original buyer and Larry. I found that quite interesting.
Since the restoration has been completed, Larry and Carolyn have driven the car more than 4,000 miles, which includes 13 more Newport Hillclimbs.
It’s quite rare to find an 82-year-old car that has only been painted one time since new. The Pontiac has also spent its entire life in Lapel, Indianapolis and Boone County throughout its five owners.
The cool old coupe also has some neat features beyond the rumble seat. The windshield can roll up out of the way for a real wind-in-your-hair experience, and the rear window rolls down into the body so the folks riding in the rumble seat can talk to those inside the car.
It also has a special compartment for golf clubs.
Larry credits Carolyn with urging him to tackle the restoration in 1997, which has allowed them 13 years of enjoyable touring since being completed in 2001.
I have invited them to our cruise-ins here at the newspaper, 6025 Madison Ave., and they will try to bring their beautiful and rare car to one of our coming events.
I hope to see all of you at our cruise-in at 6 p.m. Friday.