‘Back to the ’50s” in Minnesota is one of the largest classic car and rod shows in the nation, with nearly 12,000 vehicles on display. Two years ago, I brought my original 72,000-mile 1954 Mercury Monterey down for the three-day event. Like most car hobbyists, I had put countless hours in bringing the car to look as new as the day it came off the factory line.
The vehicle drew nice crowds and many comments, as there are not many stock, pristine ’54 Mercs around.
On the second day, I watched as a young lady escorted an elderly gentleman, holding him steady by the arm as he moved around the vehicles. As they approached my area, I could see him shaking his head as in disbelief.
He asked if the Mercury was my car and I said, “Yes,” providing him and his daughter with a little background on its history. He then proceeded to give me his story, stating that he came down to “Back to the ’50s” specifically looking for his first new car, a ’54 Mercury, and had been walking for over two hours before finding mine.
Interestingly, not only was my ’54 Mercury a tw- door coupe like the one he owned, but it had the same options and colors inside and out.
However, what came next watered my eyes: His search at that show was done with a special purpose in mind, for it was the vehicle he and his new bride had taken on their honeymoon 58 years ago. She had just passed away two weeks before, and he wanted to find the car that they had started out their life together so many decades ago.
He sat in the car for the longest time, going over every feature on that beautiful dashboard, while his daughter took photos. When they left, the countless hours spent over the past year working on the car, became incredibly worthwhile and meaningful to me because of the joy and wonderful memories it brought to another individual.
— Duke Millington, Lindstrom MN