This photo, taken over 30 years ago, shows my brother with one of his hot rods. You can tell from the cars parked around him that a lot of time has passed since this picture. This is his ’29 Essex, his pride and joy.
The event is my parents’ 40th-anniversary party, so that makes it easy to remember the year (1985).
My brother looks quite dapper here but you should see him at work on his cars. In his worn-out cut-off jean shorts and a sagging t-shirt, he worked on an engine or crawled under the vehicle. He had his garage set up for extensive auto work so he could customize his forty Ford or work on this 1929 Essex.
The old Essex went through a number of transformations in Owen’s garage. Once he had it show-worthy, an accident forced him to start over. That must have been heartbreaking, but he never gave up on it. You can see that it was in pretty rough shape when he first got it.
It went through a period where it was a lovely red, then the next transformation went with the intense yellow.
Despite all that dirty, oily work on engines and chassis, both he and the car cleaned up quite respectably. The anniversary was a marvelous day for the family and I can see he enjoyed himself on the occasion.
The Essex appeared in car shows all over Kansas. Owen was particularly partial to the annual show in Osborne. On other occasions, it appeared in parades, at Owen’s wedding, and it provided a ride for young ladies on their way to the high school prom.
You can still see the yellow Essex around our hometown. Owen sold it to his good friend, also a street rodder, because he wanted to focus on his ’40 Ford.