By Thomas Grant Jr.
Family life has kept Chester native Kelley Baker and her vintage burgundy 1929 Ford A Model Chevrolet-powered car close to home.
After hearing about the third annual American Legion Irmo Post 174 Car Show taking place Saturday, Baker made a “spur of the moment” decision.
“My kids keep me going here, there and everywhere, so I actually don’t get to go anywhere,” she said. “So this morning, I woke up and said I’m going somewhere before they call me and want something.”
Baker made the 67-mile trip to find close to 60 other vehicles on display for the Car Show. The idea of Post 174 member Matthew Schellinger, the event allows car enthusiasts from all over to show off their prized vehicles.
Patrons to the Car Show got an opportunity to see vehicles as old as Baker’s to even newer models whose engines and outside designs were enhanced by the owners.
A total of 30 winners were presented certificates signed by Schellinger and Post 174 Commander Tim Taylor. NAPA Auto Parts at 3720 Two Notch Road in Columbia Steve’s Classic Burgers at the Ashland Park Shopping Center provided car items and gift cards, respectively.
Ticket sales and donations raised covered the event with extra proceeds going to the lodge and veteran support.
“So much goes into it,” Schellinger said. “You could tell there’s a lot of nice cars – new ones, old ones. Just the care and time that goes into them and there’s a lot of different things that judges look at as far as rareness and cleanliness and just all-around how well they take care of the car.”
For Baker, her 94-year-old car is a labor of love. Bequeathed by her late father in 2019, the vehicle is maintained weekly, and she compares driving it to riding in a “horse and carriage”.
When asked what offers have been presented for the Ford A Model, Baker insists she has no plans to give it up and said to “talk to my beneficiary” regarding who will own it in the future.
Also making the 45-minute trip from Chapin for the Car Show was Post 193/24 member Mike Williams. The front plate shows the United States Marine Corps logo and its motto “Semper Fidelis” (Always faithful) on the burgundy 1958 Lincoln Continental Mark displays the retired veteran’s pride.
At just over 19 feet in length, the vehicle was one of the longest at the Car Show. Despite its age, the Continental only has 44,000 miles and Williams describes driving in it like “sitting on a couch”.
As the event continues to grow, Taylor said the lodge plans to create more space along its 4-acre property to hold even more cars.
Photo: Kelley Baker of Chester with her 1929 Ford Model A powered by Chevrolet