All in the family
By Bill McCleery
The 1956 Oldsmobile 88 Holiday sedan proudly driven to car shows and parades by Norris and Phyllis Teague is the same car they drove during their honeymoon in the summer of 1963.
“This car holds a lot of memories,” said Phyllis Teague, 73. “I remember it from the time it was new.”
It was her father, Everett Spry, who first purchased the four-door hardtop on April 3, 1956, for $3,629.30, from the Rhodes-Hartzeld dealership in Muncie, Ind. That’s the same city in which Norris and Phyllis Teague, and the car, still reside.
Borrowing the bride’s father’s car, the Teagues took their honeymoon trip to Holiday World, a resort community in Santa Claus, Ind. They chose that destination over more exotic options, the couple recalls, because of financial considerations. Ultimately, they were quite satisfied with their choice, they said, and 49 years of wedded bliss have proved they have learned the ingredients of a successful marriage, as well.
If the honeymoon is a highlight of the car’s history, Phyllis Teague also recalls a low light.
She was 17 and a senior in high school, driving a friend home from a school event. The night was dark, and she missed seeing a stop sign. The miscue resulted in a fender-bender with another vehicle. Phyllis felt terrible, but when she told her father the news, he took it in stride.
Phyllis Teague’s first car once she graduated from high school was another 1956 Oldsmobile, a turquoise-and-white two-door hardtop. She is unsure what became of that car.
After Everett Spry died in 1966 at age 65, his widow, Nola Spry, kept the four-door Olds. She passed away in 1990, at which time the car went to Phyllis.
The Olds was in solid shape but well-weathered and needed some work when the Teagues took possession. Norris Teague replaced a fender, got the car repainted in 1993 and had the engine rebuilt in 2002. He added power steering and some optional interior lamps from another 1956 Oldsmobile donor car he purchased. Some of the car’s chrome trim is original, he said, and some has been re-chromed.
“This car was a ‘Sunday car,’ driven to church on Sundays and was garaged Monday through Saturday during the week,” Norris Teague said, adding that Everett Spry had the use of a company car for weekday commuting. “It presently has 97,800 miles on the odometer.”
The Teagues drove the car to Lansing, Mich., in 1997 for a celebration of the 100th birthday of Oldsmobile. There were 2,400 specimens of Oldmobiles at the event, Norris Teague recalls, but only 12 from the 1956 model year.
The car and its 324-cubic-inch Rocket V-8 continue to bring pleasure to the Teagues, he said, adding that the automatic transmission still functions perfectly despite never having been rebuilt.
“We enjoy driving in many parades in Ohio and Indiana,” he said. “This car is in excellent driving condition.”
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