Monday, October 31, 2011

Trunk 'R Treat

            I try to cover the car shows in the order that they happen. That way I’m at least making my initial post with some of the pictures chronologically. Now, granted, with the number of cars that have been on display during this show season I didn’t post all of them from each show in order. I’m going to be posting pictures from shows throughout the colder months so that, hopefully, you all will enjoy them while looking forward to next spring and another great car show season.
            But I’m stepping out of the chronological order to post pictures from the 3rd Annual Trunk ‘R Treat show that is held at Beech Acres Park. This is a fun show for the all ages. The show limits the number of cars that can be put on display and the owners generally take the Halloween theme and decorate their cars. Some of the car owners even wear pretty outrageous costumes.
            During the last two hours of the show, the organizers give each of the car owners bags of candy to pass out to “the little Trunk ‘R Treaters.”
            Over the next few of days I’m going to post pictures of the cars that were being shown off. Hope you enjoy.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Steve Weber's Last International Update

            Life isn’t always fair. The strong among us take the circumstances that are given us and we adapt, we move on. Steve Weber is proving quite flexible in adapting to his changing circumstances.
            I met Steve last spring at the 33rd Annual ACE Car Show where he was showing off a very un-restored version of his recently purchased 1957 International S 100 pick-up truck. It had been just a couple of months since Steve had gone looking for something to become his first project vehicle. He wanted something from the ‘50s and he wanted something a little different than the norm.
            The S100 he undertook was far from the norm. Consider first that the International truck is already a rarity among the classics but Steve’s was rare in another way; his was one of a very few two-wheel drive models that were produced during that time.
            Steve had never undertaken anything like this before and was gracious enough to let Josh and me follow along and post regular updates, complete with pictures of the process. His plan was to take what was basically a pile of parts and pieces and restore it to as close to its original state as possible by September.
            As spring turned to summer, Steve worked, tearing down the truck and working on different areas, then putting it back together to attend a car show or cruise-in. Each public appearance would reveal a little more progress.
            But something else happened along the way. The economy became Steve’s enemy. He found that he was constantly faced with difficult choices. Should he invest in a part for the truck or spend his resources in caring for his wife and family. In Steve’s case there was never a question of which would come first.
            Soon it became obvious that he wouldn’t meet his lofty September deadline and would have to push the restoration into the fall, maybe even the winter. Then, he sent me an email and, almost apologetically, said he was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to finish and that he was looking for a buyer for the truck. Steve wanted to finish this project, not only for the satisfaction of completing a total frame-off restoration and having a rare classic truck to enjoy, but also because he had, in his opinion, committed to Josh and me and our blog and readers.
            Personally both Josh and I really enjoyed Steve’s updates. It was fun to see his progress and hear about what was going on, where he was being surprised in how things were coming together. In a way we were a little selfish about them, too. Steve’s journey produced some of the most viewed entries for the entire blog. In fact, the first entry, posted on June 6 (, has had more hits than any other single entry so far.
            The second entry, from the next day, featuring more pictures he had taken, (, and the third one from June 19 which shows a lot of the early progress (, are both also in the top 20 of all time most visited pages.
            In addition, some of his update posts have generated quite a few comments, more than any other entries. Granted, we tend to get more emails than comments posted on the blog itself, I still find it interesting that these popular posts are also eliciting the most reader response.
            When Steve emailed and told me about having to sell the International before being able to finish it, I felt bad for him. I knew that this was a difficult decision but I also knew that he was, without a doubt, making the right choice given his circumstances.
            I was torn at something, though. On the one hand I thought about how many people had been reading about Steve’s project, how, in a way, they were fans of his restoration. On the other I knew how difficult his decision to sell had to have been and wanted to minimize his situation.
            Hesitantly I asked if he would be willing to let me do one final blog about this journey of his. “It's your blog and you make it good and I have no problem with whatever you wanna do,” he said.
            So I asked him some questions, beginning with what was the most fun about the project. “The most fun was taking on the challenge. And learning new skills,” he said, adding that the most difficult aspect was doing the body work.
            Everyone learns a great deal when they undertake a project like this, whether they are old hands at it or, like Steve, in their first go round. Steve admitted that he learned a lot. Even though the whole thing was pretty much what he expected it to be, “It was more time consuming that I thought it would be,” he said. “But I didn’t care.”
            While the most difficult part to find as a starter, one of his biggest “work arounds” involved the alternator. “I did have to work around a GM one wire alternator by using the original generator brackets,” he explained.
            I asked if he had it all to do over again what would he have done differently. For folks who have read the blog updates that answer is probably obvious because he made the comment a few times before. “If I had to do it all over again I would have done all the body work before I painted it,” he said.
            Even with his current situation Steve is still looking forward to taking on another challenge in the near future. “My plans are to take on a ‘50s or older running project,” he said. “After I pay my bills.”
            He told me that he had recently looked at a 1948 Nash that might fit his criteria.
            “The 48 Nash I looked at because it was a chopped top and lowered like a mob car with suicide doors on the back and I love suicide doors,” he said. “But when I saw it the guy said it was his first chop and the 48 had a unibody so he cut out the floor pan and set the car over a Ford Ranger frame and put a Cadillac 500 motor in it.” Because of the way the car was chopped, the floor would have to be four inches higher than the rockers and so Steve figured that he couldn’t have anything in it but bucket seats.
            That’s the mark of a true car guy. He was already figuring out a car’s problem even though it wasn’t his to fix. He’ll get another chance some day and with any luck, we’ll be there with him, following along step by step.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Car Show for Cancer Research

            Crestview Hills Towne Center is a popular shopping area with a wide variety of stores and restaurants all designed to cater to the local and regional shoppers. But once a year the Towne Center is taken over by throngs of classic car enthusiasts who are all there in order to share their passion for beautiful automobiles.
            Presented by the Northern Kentucky F-Body Association (, this year’s event donated all proceeds going to the Wood Hudson Cancer Research Association. Having had cancer touch my family as a child I am a strong supporter of finding ways to curb this deadly disease.
            Here are a few of the great cars Josh and I got the opportunity to check out at this show. By the way, that car at the top of the blog wasn't really entered into the show. It was just sitting in the parking lot near where we pulled in. It's a good show when even the spectators drive cool cars.
          In the coming weeks, as we move out of the car show season, I’ll be posting some more pictures from this and other shows. I hope you all enjoy these and, as always, feel free to leave a comment or drop Josh and me a note at

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Festival Car Show

            Sometimes, as the saying goes, good things come in small packages. That may well be true for the annual Fall Festival Car Show held at Mt. Healthy Christian Home. Combined with various activities such as a craft fair, this relatively small show tends to attract some very nice cars.
            Since it is set on the grounds of the Mt. Healthy Christian Home, there is limited space to park cars that are being shown. For that reason the number of cars on display is a lot fewer than you are likely to see at other shows. Still, Josh and I have gone the past couple of years and found it a nice collection. So here are some highlights from this year’s show.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Star of a Car

            Not everybody gets to hang out with and work with a movie star all the time. But Jamie Schworer isn’t like everybody else. Her dad saw to that.
            Jamie’s father, Jim Schworer, saw an opportunity back in 1972. The Beverly Hills Supper Club was going strong, bringing in all kinds of artists to treat their guests to an evening of quality entertainment. What Jim saw was the need for someone to chauffeur those stars around while they were in town. And so he created the Schworer Beverly Hills Limousine Service.
            Even back then Jim realized that he needed to treat these celebrities with style. So rightfully so his first limo was a 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I which he kept for about five years.
            While the business thrived and grew over the years, a big event would send both Jim and his company into the national spotlight. In 1980 he bought a 1964 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III limo. Complete with British right hand drive this car was unlike anything else in the region at the time.
            “Many ask me if it is difficult to get used to driving on the right, but the Rolls was the first car that I ever drove,” said Jamie, adding, “My dad was a brave man.”
            In addition to the uniqueness of the right hand drive, the Rolls features a very rare expansive moon roof. Though Jamie has heard that there were only ever about 50 of these cars made with the moon roof, she said that she has never been able to confirm that.
            The summer after Jim had purchased the car came its big Hollywood break.
            “Dad had just bought the car and he heard about a movie being shot down in Atlanta that needed a limousine,” said Jamie, recounting the story. “So he drove it straight to Atlanta where they picked it to be in the movie.”
            That movie, The Cannonball Run, featured an all-star cast of Hollywood A-listers including Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., Jack Elam, Adrianne Barbeau, Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw, Burt Convey, Jamie Farr, and Peter Fonda among others. It was also the first time American audiences got to see a 27-year-old Jackie Chan.
            The movie was a smash hit and has remained a classic all these years. And among all of that star power and the amazing cars were Jim and his ’64 Rolls.
            After that first appearance, other movie rolls followed. “Melissa Gilbert did a movie called Sylvester, and the Rolls is parked in front of a mansion in some scenes,” said Jamie as she began listing out the Roll’s credits. “In The New Breed, with George Kennedy, Don DeFore, and Forrest Tucker, the Rolls has Italian license plates and my dad did some ‘stunt’ driving in the snow.  In the miniseries, Bluegrass, with Cheryl Ladd and Mickey Rooney, my dad plays, Carter, Mickey Rooney's bodyguard and chauffeur.  Luckily, the Rolls won the part as Mickey Rooney's limo, as well.  My brother and I had small parts as valets at a party in the movie.”
            In addition to being used in all of those movies and television programs, the Rolls has chauffeured around quite a few celebrities.
            “Our Rolls has chauffeured hundreds of celebrities such as Liberace, Cyndi Lauper, Alabama, NSYNC, Jerry Lee Lewis, Yul Brynner, Boomer Esiason, Charo, Raquel Welch, Johnny Rivers, Rosemary Clooney, Rodney Dangerfield, Mickey Gilley, Gary Sandy from WKRP in Cincinnati and the list goes on,” said Jamie. “We had the honor of chauffeuring Muhammad Ali in the Ky Derby parade in 1981.  He was the Grand Marshall and there were guards all around the car.  It was really neat!”
            When asked about meeting some of these people Jamie told of when she was 16 and got to meet Cyndi Lauper. “I was a huge fan. You wouldn’t believe it,” she said.
            Since 1988 Jamie has kept up the company and the Rolls, taking over after her father tragically passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 44. At the time she was only 20-years-old.
            In addition to seeing the car used in various media for local bands, banks, magazines and restaurants, it was also the backdrop for one of the most anticipated celebrity calendars that came out in conjunction with the new millennium.
            “In 2000, our Rolls was chosen for the cover of Morris the Cat's Millennium calendar.  Many cars did test shots for it, and my car won!  They flew Morris in first class to do the shoot here in Cincinnati,” explained Jamie.
            These days, according to Jamie, the Rolls is mostly used for weddings, proms, birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. And in order to keep up with the changing times and to ensure comfort for her guests, Jamie has made a few changes to the car.
            “I had a custom illuminated champagne bar installed in the back window, along with rear heating and air conditioning,” she said. “I also had to update the 8track player with a CD player.”
            There are also some special things she does for events, particularly weddings. She will decorate her classic Rolls with white satin bows, adding a streamer across the front and a “Just Married” sign on the trunk. She literally rolls out the red carpet and chills some non-alcoholic Champagne.
            “Brides and grooms love to toast their glasses as they are posing through the moon roof,” she said. “That picture is worth a thousand words.”
            Since it is a working car, Jamie doesn’t take the Rolls to very many car shows but no matter where it goes it is something people want to check out.
            “My classic 1964 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III is always a hit and I feel I am doing my dad proud by continuing the tradition,” she said. “I will never part with it, because it is all I have left of my dad and he was the greatest!”
            And who would ever consider parting with a movie star that reminded you of you dad?
          To see more pictures or to find out more about this beautiful car and Schworer's Beverly Hills Limousine Service, check out the web site at

Monday, October 24, 2011

Still More Cruise-A-Palooza

          One more dose of the cars at this year's Cruise-A-Palooza that will then lead up to a very special car on the next blog. Stay tuned.