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Local News

March 15, 2014

Studebaker wows car show crowd

PORT ARTHUR — James Shafer has some explaining to do.

He always does when he takes his 1950 Studebaker out, and parked along Boston Avenue Saturday was no different for the 56-year-old car enthusiast.

“People always want to know what it is,” Shafer said of the classic car entered in Saturday’s Heritage Festival Car Show.

Shafer was one of 63 car show entries in Saturday’s Heritage Festival event, but a unique paint job caused his car to stand out from the rest.

The 1950 Studebaker not only was built to resemble a World War II fighter plane, it also featured the car company’s signature bullet-nose for the first.

Shafer has had a penchant for cars and for the Air Force for nearly as long as he can remember.

“I was born in the Air Force base in Apple Valley, California. Dad was a sergeant in the Air Force,” Shafer said.

For the last 10 or 12 years, he’s been showing cars, but none elicit more comments than the Studebaker, he said.

The car, he said, was designed to look like a bomber, prompting his idea to pattern the car’s paint job after a P51 Mustang Air Force Fighter plane.

“I’ve had a whole lot of fun with this car,” he said.

William McDuffie, 71, of Glenwood, Iowa was among the many festival goers who stopped by to look at the unique classic car.

McDuffie, who was visiting his brother David McDuffie in Nederland, said the vehicle brought back memories of his grandmother.

“My grandmother had one of these with alligator hide interior,” he said. “I wanted the car in the worse way, but she gave it to her son. The took it out and totaled it.”

By the shows end, Shafer was holding a trophy for a second place People’s Choice Award in the competition.

Eight winners are determined by those attending the show, who cast votes for their favorite vehicle, David Clifton, Car Show director, said.

The top vote-getter went to a 1951 Ford Truck. The vehicle was rare because of its long bed.

Calvin Rosier, 62, of Port Arthur and his grandson, Edward Guerra, 15, of Channelview were fans of both vehicles.

Rosier said he attended Saturday’s festival with his daughter, and the grandkids, but found time to slip away to the car show.

“The four-year-old wanted to get to the rides. They are interested in games and the rides, but me and my grandson here like the cars,” Rosier said. “They remind me of the good old days.”

When a young man, Rosier owned a Pontiac GTO with a bad paint job and a floppy fender.

Because of the Pontiac’s condition, younger drivers would often want to race, he said.

“I beat them everytime. It may have had a floppy fenders, and it sounded rough, but when it came down to running, it was bad,” Rosier said.

While his grandfather prefers antique cars and trucks, Guerra is partial to muscle cars — his favorite at the show: a 1971 Chevelle SS Super Sport.

“I want an old car and plan to get one when I turn 18,” he said. “As soon as I get my license.”

Nederland’s Heritage Festival concludes Sunday with a full roster of events including:

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