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Big River Classics visits city

Sidney Overby, right, of Brandon and Tommy Hudson of Clinton take a look at Tay Everett’s Chevrolet BelAir two-door sedan Monday at Battlefield Inn.(Meredith Spencer The Vicksburg Post)

[7/13/04]A fleet of big Chevrolets with forward-leaning headlights and fins on the back rumbled down Clay Street Monday, but it was no time warp. It was just the Big River Classics car club out for a spin.

The group held its monthly meeting Monday night at the Battlefield Inn. Members are preparing for the sixth annual “Show & Shine,” which will be held Sept. 3-4 at Battlefield Inn. Fifty to 80 Chevrolets from 1955 to 1957 will be judged on a 1,000-point scale, said club member Jessie Buckley of Florence.

Proceeds from the show will benefit the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson. The group gave $4,000 to the hospital in 2003, Buckley said.

Club president Tay Everett of Vicksburg said the club, which has about 40 members from across Mississippi, accepts only Chevrolets from the model years 1955 to 1957 because they are “the classics.”

He continued, “1958 was a major body change from fins to a flat-across-the-back,” Everett said. Some car clubs do accept vintage Chevrolets until the model year 1972, he added.

Everett expects the Vicksburg show to attract enthusiasts from all across the South. More than 300 people visited the club’s 2003 show in Jackson, Everett said.

The Chevrolets, which are valued from $25,000 to $100,000, hold a special appeal for collectors, Everett said.

“It’s American-made classics muscle cars,” he said.

For Bryan Horn of Fanin, collecting and restoring classic Chevrolets is a family activity. His father, Dean Horn, bought a 1957 BelAir while the younger Horn was in college. Bryan Horn helped his father restore the car they call “Blue Baby” on the weekends. Bryan Horn liked working on cars so much that six years ago he bought his own 1955 Chevrolet 210.

Even after spending thousands of dollars and hours of time restoring them, Bryan Horn was hard-pressed to explain the classic Chevy appeal.

“I just really like the shape of these cars,” he said.

Everett points out these cars aren’t like your grandfather’s Chevrolet. Collectors often add amenities such as air conditioning, power steering, overdrive and sophisticated stereo systems. Everett even has a digital display in the dash of his 1955 BelAir.

“Everybody’s a tinkerer,” Everett said.