Toby Fulks of Noblesville shows off his 1948 Super Deluxe Ford convertible in Pheasant Red. It’s one of four antique cars that he owns and likes to show at the annual Father’s Day Car Show, which is this Sunday at Forest Park in Noblesville.
Toby Fulks of Noblesville shows off his 1948 Super Deluxe Ford convertible in Pheasant Red. It’s one of four antique cars that he owns and likes to show at the annual Father’s Day Car Show, which is this Sunday at Forest Park in Noblesville.
Noblesville’s Toby Fulks met me in his driveway standing next to his antique car.
“It’s a 1948 Super Deluxe Ford convertible,” Fulks said, smiling. “I’ve had the car about 35 years.”
Folks who’ve attended the Saturday Night Cruise-ins on the Courthouse Square or the annual Father’s Day Car Show at Forest Park -- which is this Sunday -- may have noticed the car on display there. H
e’s driven the car to the Cruise-ins and car show “many a times.”
“It’s a great car. It’s pretty much original,” Fulks said as he proceeded to walk around the car, which had shined up and ready to drive.
He loves old cars, loves to share stories about how he came to own them, and what he’s done to restore them.
The Ford convertible was produced after World War II. “At that point in time, technology was getting a little bit better, and Henry Ford was improving the Flathead Ford V8. This car here, at the time, had all the options,” he said.
The car, which originally came from Texas, ended up in Washington, Ind., with the owner of the Papa Pancakes House. Fulks’ son-in-law, Doug Robinson, bought the car. “We were going to sell the car at Auburn, Ind., and I said, ‘You know, I think I just want to keep that car.’”
He paid about $15,000 for the car 35 years ago. “That was a lot for a car back then,” Fulks said. “But the car was exceptional and, of course, I love old cars. Being in the Goodyear Tire business, I was exposed to all kinds of cars, and I was mechanically inclined. So, over the years, I’ve bought and sold cars and traded.”
The front seat covers have been replaced with original-like material. The seats were pretty good before but showed some wear. “I don’t want to change the car from original, but I wanted it pretty much as good as I could get it,” said Fulks. He had the dash and the garnish moldings refinished about 10 years ago, “just like the car was when it was new.”
The Ford is a stick, three-speed transmission, Flathead V8, 100-horsepower engine and 6-volt, “quite unusual because it uses a positive ground, compared to the new cars, which are 12 volt and have more power. The new cars have alternators while this car has a generator.” The car also has the little side windows in the doors that he loves and a vent that raises so the air can pass through the car.
“This is a great car I enjoy. It’s kind of in my time,” the octogenarian said of the car, which came out when he was 15 years old. “I remember cars like this.” His father owned a 1937 Ford.
Today, the “Pheasant Red” Ford convertible is among four antique vehicles that he owns and shows at cars shows. One of his favorite shows to enter his cars is the Father’s Day Car Show at Forest Park. In its 29th year, the show is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. It’s $10 per entry and free to spectators. The car show is an event put on by Central Indiana Vintage Vehicles, a nonprofit of which he’s a charter member, and which puts on the Saturday Night Cruise-ins on the Square.
The three other cars that Fulks owns includes an orange and white 1956 Ford Victoria, a forest-green 1951 Chevrolet pickup truck and a candy-apple red 1965 Ford Mustang, the latter a local car originally sold by Don Hinds Ford.
The Victoria, produced in California and originally sold by Wilson Ford Motor Co., in Seattle, was the next car that he showed me in his temperature-controlled garage, which he built just for his antique cars.
“Ford was the first to have safety features. It had seat belts, it had padded dash, it had padded sun visors, and people didn’t buy them, (saying) we don’t need those safety features.” The safety package was less than a hundred bucks.
“If I’m going a distance, and I want a car to run interstate speed,” he takes the Victoria. “This car will run 70-80 mph just like nothing,” Fulks said.
His Chevy pickup truck, which runs best at 30-40 mph, came from Byrdstown, Tenn., where his wife’s classmate’s husband’s uncle bought the truck new. They were all out to dinner one night, about 30 years ago, when Fulks learned that the uncle was going to sell the truck. He went and looked at it, asked the price and agreed to buy the truck, thinking he would turn around and sell it. But Brian Maxwell, who worked for Fulks at the time and who grew up in the auto upholstery shop in Anderson, talked him into keeping the truck and restoring it. He agreed they would only work on it when they didn’t have customer work, said Fulks, who grew up in Lexington, Ala., worked for Chevrolet in Cleveland, Ohio, worked at Guide Lamp Division of General Motors in Anderson. In 1958, he worked for Bob Arbuckle on the north side of the Square in Noblesville and worked at Arbuckle’s store on Vine Street in 1960. He then co-owned Noblesville Tire & Appliances with Don Hinds. He and his wife, Fern, have two daughters, Sheryl Robinson and Robin Proctor, who live in Noblesville, and a grandchild, Morgan, in California.
Getting back on track with his old Chevy pickup, he said, “I love this truck. It’s just a great vehicle.”
His fourth car, the Mustang, which he also loves, was in the shop getting power disc brakes. He showed a photo of it, “a pretty car.” It’s a 289 automatic with a black convertible top. This car was sold by Don Hinds; Kenny Chance was the salesman, and a good friend of Felix Cook, who bought the car new. When Cook died, the car was sold to Jack Davis, and took it to a body shop on the east side of town, where Story’s Collision is now. Fulks bought the car about 20 years ago and had the engine rebuilt and “spent a lot of money bringing it up to good condition.”
He loves to drive the car. Fulks said, “It’s a fun car.”
The Father’s Day Car show has grown into the largest single-day event in the history of the park, where about 300 antique, classic and special-interest autos roll in and park under the shade trees for the day. The event annually attracts about 8,000 to 10,000 people to the park that day, according to Noblesville Parks Department.
With the Father’s Day Car show, just add disc-jockey music from the ‘50s and ‘60s, plus food and beverages sold by Noblesville Lions Club, and a lot of swapping of car stories, and you have a pretty fun day. Especially for Dad.
Years ago, the CIVV car club adopted Elysian Foundation for its charity and has raised more than $60,000 for use in assisting clients at Normal Life, a residential facility for the severely brain injured. All proceeds from the show go to the Elysian Foundation.
Dave Shank, club founder, said Sunday’s car show will give out a lot of awards from sponsors. One of those sponsors is Jack Martin of Martin & Martin Insurance, the largest sponsor for this year’s car show.
Membership in CIVV is $15 annually and hasn’t changed since the club started in 1988.
-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com.