Gaylen Rainforth spent four years and spent what he called “plenty” of money in the pursuit of some childhood nostalgia.
The project is the replication of a 1927 Ford Roadster that his older brother bought in 1956 and sold three years later to help finance his college education.
The vehicle, painted a “candy-obsession” red, was one of the classic and muscle cars on display Saturday afternoon at Memorial Park in North Platte for the 25th Colonel Cody’s Cruise Show and Shine.
“I was 6 years old at the time and when he drove it into the yard, I just thought that was the coolest car I had ever seen in my life,” said Rainforth, who lives in Prosser.
The car went through 13 different owners after Rainforth’s brother sold it and the siblings were never able to make contact with the most recent one. Since the original vehicle vanished, Rainforth said he took the steps to build a tribute — one part and piece at a time.
The body came from Michigan. The running boards, splash shields and the hood were handmade in Nebraska and the vinyl top was ordered from a company on the East Coast.
The car was completed in January and Saturday was the ninth outdoor car show it has been displayed at this year to go along with six other previous indoor shows.
Gene and Rose Wissenburg were part of the show on Saturday as well, as they displayed a maroon 1947 Ford Super DeLuxe.
The vehicle was “frankensteined” as the parts from the bodies of two ’47 cars were combined in the project and the engine and transmission came from a ’78 Ford van.
The Newman Grove couple have about six years invested in the project and Gary said the interior, excluding the seats, still needs attention.
He added it is a labor of love and nostalgia as well.
“When I was in high school, my brother and I had a ’39 Ford which is pretty much the same body shape as this,” Gene said.”
Isai Zuniga didn’t arrive in a classic car on Saturday but he left Memorial Park as the owner of one. Zuniga was the winner of the raffle for a 1969 Ford Mustang convertible. The car was designed and rebuilt by members of the Mid-Plains Community College classic car restoration, automotive technology and auto body technology programs.
The public has had opportunities to buy chances to win the car throughout the summer and the proceeds from the drawing went towards financial assistance for students at the community college.
For a third year, Zuniga attempted to win the drawing. He spent $10 each on a dozen tickets, motivated by the fact that the funds were assist students at the community college. But, he added the Mustang was a pretty cool incentive as well.
“I like that it is a muscle car and American-built,” Zuniga said. “The ’67, ’68 and ’69 Mustangs all had that great shape,”
His wife, Chawnta, is a fan of the muscle car as well. Zuniga said he had considered buying her a 2020 Mustang before Saturday.
“We’ve been joking about it for some time,” Chawnta said. “As we walking over from the parking lot I just said, ‘Hey, if you win it, you don’t have to buy one someday.’ (The Mustang) was one of those dreams.
“My heart was beating even before they pulled (the ticket) and then after it was thump-thump-thump. It was like, ‘Did this really just happen?’.”