Photos by Larry Edsall
When he was 18 years old, Jim Legeret’s mother bought him a used but little-driven 1956 Plymouth Fury. But this was not any sort of ordinary Fury. This was one of the Fury Special 8 models, one of the white with gold trim factory sport coupe hot-rods just like the one Phil Walters drove to the Flying Mile record of 124.01 miles per hour on Daytona Beach.
As it turned out, the car had been owned by one of Legeret’s mother’s co-workers, a woman whose husband bought the car but then went into the military. When he left, the co-worker’s husband put the car on blocks in his garage to keep it pristine. By the time he returned to civilian life, however, he no longer was interested in the car and was willing to let it go.
The car went to Legeret, who drove it on his daily commute to college and then to work, at least until he was engaged and getting married and sold the car.
As time passed, Legeret regretted selling such a car. Yes, he said, he also has some misgivings about the time he sold his ’74 440 ‘Cuda, but the car he really missed wasn’t the muscle car but the Fury, which was a muscle car before anyone had coined that term.
Every few days, he’d do an Internet search to see if some subsequent owner might finally have offered his car for sale.
Forty-one years after he sold it, Legeret found his car! He was living in Florida and the car, his car, was still in Michigan. He called the owner, was satisfied enough that it was the same car, said he’d be home for Christmas, promised that he would buy the car, offered to send a deposit and asked if the owner would hold the car until then.
The owner agreed and a few months later, Legeret and his car were re-united.
At least Legeret thinks it is the same car.
“I didn’t keep my original registration,” he said, “but I remembered some of the numbers and they were the same. I’m satisfied that it’s the same car.”
Legeret’s immaculate ’56 Plymouth was among the cars we saw at the Retro Roll In, the annual classic car show held in the northern Michigan town of Gladwin.
Retro Roll In isn’t one of the major concours, nor even a very large car show, just an example of how even small-town classic car gatherings provide some real gems. The Gladwin show has been taking place for more than 20 years, but was renamed three years ago. It is staged by the Gladwin Business & Professional Association and hosted at Riverwalk Place, a hotel/spa events center.
Legeret, who now lives just north of Gladwin, drives his Fury on a weekly basis, often to his car club gatherings. He has added some 11,000 miles to the Fury’s odometer since he got it back a dozen years ago. The previous owner had spent 10 years doing a complete restoration, leaving Legeret little more to do than to keep it clean and fueled and lubricated as he enjoys it for the second time around.