Anniston Fall Gathering, October 7 & 8, 2000

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The bi-annual gathering of the Packard's and Imperials (and other neat old cars) was held at the Victoria Country Inn in Anniston, Alabama October 7 & 8..  This event began as the Birmingham Packard club getting together in an informal setting and evolved into twice a year.  A few meets ago they invited interested Imperial owners to join them.  This is an incredible venue and is different from anything I have been a part of.  Donald Taccone and Jeff Carrothers host the event.  There is no judging and no trophies.  There is no whispering and pointing at the flaws in someone's car.  There is no bias and no prejudice.  About 20 cars attended about evenly mixed between Packard and Imperial although I will focus on the Imperials. 

People began arriving Friday evening.  Ken Newberry followed my wife and I down to Anniston from Huntsville.  This was the maiden voyage for our 73 Imperial and the trip down was pleasurable but uneventful.   No problems other than a radio that is certainly up to modern standards and some bad speakers.  When we arrived about 7pm, Donald moved the parking cones so we could drive into the lot the hotel had reserved for us.  The Hotel was extraordinarily accommodating and even removed some parking bumpers so we could park on the lawn..  We were immediately welcomed by the folks who were there and after unpacking our car gathered in the Carriage House that Donald and his wife Debbie were in for cocktails and snacks.

The inn served a wonderful breakfast (by the way the room including breakfast was only 65 bucks a night!!!) and people started gathering out by the cars by 8am on Saturday which was cool if not downright cold (about 40 to begin with and warming up to near 60).  The first thing I noticed is that all the cars were unlocked and the keys were held out with a "want to drive it?"  We had a ball and drove nearly everything there and rode in the remainder.

During the day Saturday more people came in and 20 cars spent the night.  During the day Saturday there were as many as 50 people present.  It was quite amusing to watch the traffic on the side street slam on their brakes and twist there necks to get a better view.  We also laughed about what the natives must have thought about the what must have seemed like hundreds of old cars driving through the town for two days. A tour of old houses took place Saturday afternoon and everyone loaded up into 11 or 12 cars.  Later Elijah, Carolyn and I drove down the interstate to Talladega Super Speedway just to say we had been there.  First time the 73 had been on the interstate.  75 MPH and smooth as glass.  Elijah was tripping out on memories of riding in the back seat of his Grandmothers 72.

Saturday night nearly 40 people ate a very nice dinner at the inn.  Great time.

Sunday was downright cold, near 35 and after some more driving and some TLC, people began to depart around noon.  This was a great event with really great people.  I plan on attending many future events and encourage others to join in.

Following are some photos of various cars.  Apologies if I misspelled any names or omitted any Imperials.

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Steve Carters 56 Imperial.  White leather.  Super car!

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Jeff Caruthers 59 Imperial with power swivel seats.  This was a one owner car and Jeff drove it over from Jackson Mississippi.  There was much laughing when I drove this car and kept reaching for the gear shift and turn signal stalks.  What a hoot!

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Roger Cooper's STUNNING 74.  This car is 22000 ORIGINAL miles and left me speechless ( hard to do, believe me).  Roger would have won the long distance award if there had been one.  He and his wife Eileen drove down from Charlotte NC.

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This shot or Roger's green leather seats do not do the justice.  They are PERFECT! This was the last use of Pearlized metallic leather by Chrysler. Very pretty.

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Jeff Carrothers, Donald Taccone and others driving off in my (Kerry Pinkerton) 73

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Steve Carter's 60 developed a leaking power steering hose overnight.  Larry Stegall and Gregg Waggoner fixed it quickly.

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Bob Copeflake drove over from Atlanta in his 63.  The white 56 Imp beside it belongs to Donald Taccone.  It's original and has the gold thread in the upholstery fabric and the Imperial eagle woven in.

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Two cars on the front right side are Robert Soule's 68 Imperial and 65 New Yorker.  It is unique in that it has clear taillight lenses with red bulbs. Chrysler had great trouble producing these and switched to red lenses shortly after production began. This makes the car very rare. 

Just uphill from that is Christopher Conway's 1978 New Yorker Brougham parked next to Gregg Wagonner's 300 4dr hardtop. Triple white with red accents. It is also unique in that it was ordered by a Chrysler representative with every option on it including a sunroof. It was fun comparing it to Roger Cooper's 74 Imperial. His is the first year of that body style, Christopher's is the last year. 

The red 60 with the hood up is a Anniston car that came by after someone saw the gathering and called the owner.  He was an older gentleman who had owned the car for FORTY YEARS.  The car sees a lot of use.  The red paint is 20 years old but still looks decent.  He said the original color was pink.

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Elijah Scott trying to figure out which button made Steve Carter's 60 go. Note the translucent rectangular wheel.

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Elijah Scott and Robert Soule check out a 91 Imp we passed at a nearby lot.  Robert did not think it was worth 5 grand.

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Blue car in center is Elijah Scott's 71 Imp daily driver, a hot rod Imperial with duals and hotter cam.  Ran NICE!  You can also see the Rolls Royce that was there.  Awesome machine but expensive to maintain according to the owner.  Wonderful ride.

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Larry Stegall's super nice 59 Plymouth

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The rest of the herd.  The blue car on the left is a 56 Packard Patrician.  This is a 21000 mile original with the ORIGINAL Firestone wide whitewalls still on the car!  Incredible machine!

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This very nice 59 Lincoln Town Limo (which is very rare) showed up Sunday am.  Someone told him about all the old cars at the Victoria.  I've since been told that this is a is actually a 1959 Continental Mark IV Formal Sedan, not a Lincoln and not a Limousine. It's actually the same length as the regular Continental. (Still huge by today's standards. The backseat had much more legroom than my 73!!)  Ford split Continental from Lincoln like the Chrysler Corporation separated Imperial from Chrysler. It is owned by Darryl Kiehl and Kurt Wolfe.  Thanks to Christopher Conway for the additional information.

This was probably the most fun car thing I've ever attended.  Most of the cars were in original condition and all are driven regularly if not daily.  No pressure, no hassles, just a bunch of car geeks hanging out, driving cars, telling lies, and having a ball.  We made a lot of new friends and renewed some older friendships and are already looking forward to next spring in Anniston!

Kerry Pinkerton

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