As a small boy Jack Edmiston was granted his biggest wish: he got to ride along on one of the many coal trucks that passed steadily through his hometown in Letcher County, Ky. Ever since that day, and the days after when he was old enough to haul coal in those same trucks, he has been fascinated with the gleam of antique chrome.
“That experience just kind of stuck with me,” said Jack.
Now Jack owns three classic cars from the 1930s, a red 1931 Chrysler Roadster, a green 1931 Chrysler hardtop, and beige 1933 Dodge Roadster. His collection of antique cars began about 10 years ago when he saw his dream car for sale in an old car magazine in York, S.C.
“I went to an Indy 500 car show about 30 years ago and someone had a little Chrysler Roadster at that time, and I said if I ever collected a car it would be that one,” said Jack, who is a retired city engineer. “So when I saw a similar one for sale, I jumped on it.”
Jack admits the shiny red, soft-top model is his favorite, but it took some work to get it back to its original condition. “It was in bad shape,” said Jack, who put the finishing touches on the car in 2001.
A unique feature to the antique Chrysler Roadster is its original flying gazelle hood ornament. “The flying gazelle is a thing that Walter Chrysler came up with,” explained Jack. “When he built the Chrysler building, he put up a flying gazelle on each of the four corners, and even the curvature of the steeple replicates the 1931 hubcap.”
Born not long after the manufacturing of his collectible cars, Jack loves the old body styles and unique features, like the hatbox on the back of his red Roadster, all reminiscent of a simpler time.
“I’ve always been in love with the Roaring ’20s,” said Jack. “They didn’t use elaborate paint colors like they do now, so I painted mine cherry red. The design is similar to that of a Duesenberg [a U.S.-manufactured luxury car during the early 1900s], the most expensive car on the market. It’s [my car] the most expensive when it comes to antiques–the grill alone was $2,000–and it can bring anywhere from two to three times its worth.