Big honkin’ car show in Plain City

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Messenger photos by Sandi Latimer
Visitors to the Plain City Classic Car Cruise-In check out the Sunbeam-Talbot owned by John Rindfuss of Bucyrus. Rindfuss bought the car more than 50 years ago for $50.

(Posted Aug. 29, 2018)

By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer

Many times, the stories behind the cars on display at a car show are just as interesting as the cars themselves.

Take, for instance, the shiny red Sunbeam-Talbot that John Rindfuss of Bucyrus brought to the 16th Annual Plain City Classic Car Cruise-in on Aug. 25.

Rindfuss tells the following story about how he came into possession of the British-made beauty.

The car was owned by a man in Cleveland who traded it for a piece of farm machinery at a Bucyrus business. The farm implement dealer drove it on his sales calls. When the sales manager bought a boat, he sold the Sunbeam–for $50.

John’s brother decided the two of them hadn’t had $50 worth of fun that summer, so they took their money to the farm implement dealer and bought the car–for $50.

This 1930 Chrysler, co-owned by Susan Bentsch of Anna, Ohio, is just one of 704 of its kind.

John used it to court a lovely young woman by the name of Carol who became his bride 51 years ago. But the car quit running and, with parts hard to find, sat idle for 40 years. Then came the Internet. John made contact with someone in Washington Court House who had connections. The car now runs and bears 1955 license plates. John puts about 100 miles on it a year, but hauls it on a trailer to car shows. Carol has their picnic lunch in a basket in the trunk.

Parked in the next block at the Plain City show was a two-tone green 1930 Chrysler. It wasn’t a normal two-tone job, but a lighter green trim along the dark green paint. Co-owner Susan Bentsch of Anna in west central Ohio said she and her husband bought it eight to 10 years ago in Mobile, Ala., and had it hauled home by trailer.

“It was varnished,” she recalled, adding that they used sandpaper to remove the varnish and found the original green paint job.

Tom Finnegan stands next to his Corvair, his entry in this year’s Plain City Classic Car Cruise-In. The car’s engine sits in the rear of the vehicle.

Their research revealed it was one of 704 made “and we know where five are, with one of them in Australia,” she said.

The Chrysler has a 75-hp engine, seats two in the driver’s compartment and two in the rumble seat. The cost when it was new: $1,545. The Bentsches usually trailer it to car shows, but occasionally will drive it around Anna and neighboring Sidney.

Then there was the Corvair that Dublin resident Tom Finnegan brought to the Plain City show, the car Ralph Nader said was “unsafe at any speed.” Finnegan said he drives it quite a bit.

Chevrolet made the Corvair in the 1960s. The motor sits in the rear. Finnegan had both the front trunk and rear hood open so car show visitors could take a look. Alongside the motor in the rear was the spare tire.

Tony Ferrito of Plain City polishes the engine of his Trans-Am.

“That’s the way it came. If you put it in the trunk, you couldn’t get anything else in the trunk,” he said.

Sitting pretty among the older vehicles was a newer classic, a Trans-Am owned by Tony Ferrito of Plain City, who was under the hood with a spray container of cleaner in one hand and a rag in the other, putting a gleam on the engine.

The Plain City Classic car Cruise-In is held every August, and every August plenty of enthusiastic car owners are happy to tell their stories.

Proceeds from this year’s event benefited the Uptown Plain City Organization and the Friends of Plain City Public Library. For details, see uptownplaincity.com.

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