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Indian Valley Record
Greenville, California
September 6, 2017     Indian Valley Record
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September 6, 2017

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017 7B John and Paula Johnson stand by their pride and joy, an emerald green 'S6 Chevy half-ton truck, featuring a bench seat, 350 cubic-inch crate motor, aluminum radiator and a Muncie 4-speed transmission. They plan to enter this classic vehicle at the Street Rod Extravaganza Car Show on Saturday, Sept 9, in Chester Park. Photo by Stacy Fisher Stacy Fisher Staff Writer Car enthusiasts love to showcase their beloved vintage hot rods and fancy automobiles whenever they can. It's in their blood to boast a bit, featuring their classic beauties at car shows throughout the country. For the opportunity to display their amazing vehicles at the annual Street Rod Extravaganza Car Show on Saturday, Sept. 9, in Chester Park, a number are more than willing to drive hundreds of miles to attend. Many others, living in neighboring communities or nearby towns, have been showing off their extraordinary roadsters at the Extravaganza every year for decades. Chester residents John and Paula Johnson moved up from Los Angeles after visiting friends and falling in love with the area 39 years ago. Celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in March, the Johnsons are among those local folks who enjoy entering their vintage vehicles at the car show every year, mostly for bragging rights, but also perhaps to win a trophy, too. John, an army veteran, worked at Collins Pine for 26 years before retiring in 2004, while Paula worked as a full-time teacher's aide at Chester Elementary School for 29 years, where she continues to work to this day as a substitute aide. They currently own an emerald green '56 Chevy half-ton truck with a bench seat, 350 cubic-inch crate motor, aluminum radiator and a Muncie 4-speed transmission. "It's a fun rig to drive," John enthused. Although the truck appears brand new today, it had to be rescued after the flood of 1984 literally buried it in mud until 2004, when a friend happened to dig it out and offered it to John. Bringing the truck back to life took a lot of time and capital, John recalled, given that much of the vehicle needed extensive repair and the replacement of key components, including the engine. "We tried to keep the original stock parts as best we could whenever we replaced pieces that had rusted away," he said. It took so much effort to restore the truck, John quipped that, "I've spent more time under the truck than in it." The couple, both fans of classic automobiles, said they enjoy taking the restored truck to car shows throughout the region, including Reno, Alturas, Redding, Susanville, Quincy, Chico, and of course Chester for the Street Rod Extravaganza, the first time in 2007. John said they've won awards in various categories, "but really we just go to shows for the fun of it," and to use the occasion to be with friends who share the same interests. One time Chester resident and former Plumas County Deputy Sheriff Tom Turkington founded the Street Rod Extravaganza in 1985, and was also a founding member of the local Sierra Cascade Street Rodders Club, which hosted the car show during its first 10 years in Chester. In fact, in addition to Turkington, the Johnsons wdre also instrumental in organizing the original event,' together with Dan and Vicki Bickle, Rick and Pam Trebes, and Red and Sandy Myers. After 10 years as organizers, they decided to move on, "Because we just wanted to participate in the event, go on the poker run" and not deal with the logistics of running the car show anymore, said Paula. The show has changed hands a number of times since then, and is now run by the Almanor Recreation and Park District. Returning to the topic of vintage cars, John said the Chevy truck they call their pride and joy is clearly a classic in design, simple in its operation and practical in its construction, given the period the vehicle was built. People are always impressed with its beautiful lines, the powerful engine vin ge nz "I've spent more time under the truck than in it. " JohnJohnson and the awesome "in.your-face" grill, he said. The Johnsons said they do like to take the truck out for a spin now and then between shows, including "once for the Chester Fourth of July parade," where the vehicle elicited a lot of attention, but consider it mostly a "fair weather rig," keeping it protected under a carport and out of the weather: John mentioned that one day a year ago, while driving the Chevy truck to Greenville for the Gold Digger Days festival, a man came up to them and asked where the truck came from, and soon realized after identifying certain features of the vehicle, including the serial number stamped inside the door, that it was the same one he owned that had been buried in the mud many years earlier. Although he made no claim to the truck after it had been seemingly forever lost, the man and his wife asked John to take a picture of them alongside the truck. Paula said the original owner had "tears of joy" running down his face, "knowing someone had restored it," after it had been abandoned for over three decades. It's no wonder the cars of yesteryear are so highly prized today. Modern vehicles are super-sophisticated, John and Paula both acknowledged, but often look "similar in appearance" and can lack the distinctiveness of older models built in a bygone era. "They don't design vehicles like this anymore," John insisted, referring to his showpiece. "People come up to thank me for saving it from the scrap yard." A public Roll on in and enjoy a treat at our Old-Fashioned Soda Fountain Gifts # Jewelry * Women's Clothing Educational Toys Year round "Christmas Shop" Gift Certificates Mon-Sat 10-5 Sun. 11-5 258.2222 220 Main St., Chester | t i i!ll lltma i,t rl i From scrapes and breaks to preventive care, we offer a full spectrum of services to help you and your family live well. know mq Text SENECA to 72727 Text SENECA JOBS to 72727 199 Reynolds Road 258-2826 Seneca Healthcare District Critical Access Hospital 130 Brentwood Dr., Chester 258-2151 entity providing health care services.