Wedding Car Memories

Reader response to Old Cars Weekly’s call for stories and images concerning the good and bad memories of transportation involved in their wedding ceremony was nothing short of outstanding. We received so many entries, in fact, that we will be running the material over several upcoming issues until the supply of material is exhausted.

    As mentioned in the story for the call for submissions, the Old Cars Weekly staff assembled a large gift package to be awarded to one lucky submitter, selected at random from all entries received. The gift package consists of several automotive books from Krause Publications, copies of the recently released “Best of Old Cars” and “Guide to Auto Restoration” magazines, a one-year subscription to Old Cars Weekly newspaper and a humorous car-themed grilling apron. All who submitted entries will receive an Old Cars 2009 Collectors’ Edition calendar in appreciation for their participation.

    In keeping with the proper tradition of the wedding ceremony and the exchange of vows, we begin our look at the ride to wedded bliss with the gift package-winning entry submitted by Thomas and Nancy Lucius of Toledo, Ohio. Congratulations to the loving couple, and, again, we thank all who participated.

    My wife Nancy always knew I was a real car guy, but she never really knew how much of a car guy I was until our honeymoon. This was a second marriage for both of us, so there were no unrealistic expectations.

    We had a beautiful church wedding with a nice reception at a local hotel ballroom on Sept. 1, 1990. The hotel was a convenient location for the reception as we were able to just go upstairs and spend our first night there without the need to drive anywhere.

    My original plan was to drive my 1960 Corvette in the wedding procession from the church to the hotel. I wanted to drive this car because my wedding gift to my bride-to-be was a picture of the Corvette with us superimposed in the upper half. I had two copies made, and still have one in my office to this day.

    This was OK by me to drive the ’60 Corvette, but the more than 90-degree temperature and humidity did not set well with Nancy. So, being the compromising person I am, I settled on driving my ’78 Corvette Indy Pace Car with just over 5,000 miles on it. Nancy and I rode in the Corvette with our two boys along while the best man and maid of honor rode in a following limo. Happily, everything went well with no problems.

    We left the hotel in the Corvette the next morning for our honeymoon trip. The first stop on our trip was the Kruse Auction and the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Festival in Auburn, Ind. We needed to stop there to continue my string of attendance. After viewing the auction and many collector cars there, we set off for Muskegon, Mich., where we had reservations for the night.

    When we arrived at the hotel, I most gentlemanly escorted my wife to our room. Then, to her surprise, I left her there alone. I informed her that I had to take the Corvette to a car wash to clean off the day’s accumulated grime. This was, in fact, a low-mileage Indy Pace Car edition, and not just any old Chevy! I did eventually get the car cleaned and secured a safe parking spot for the night. Although Nancy did not understand my concern for the Corvette, she took it in stride. We continued on the honeymoon and had a great time.

    In September, Nancy and I will celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. After all these years, my wife is still with me, but the car was sold many years ago, and Nancy reminds me of this often. The Corvette was sold to obtain a down payment for our new home. Yes, we still live there, too.

    My wife enjoys telling everyone the story of “the real car guy” she married, and how cooperative she was to allow me to go to Auburn, and wash the car, on our honeymoon.

Thomas Lucius
Toledo, Ohio 

     My wife Nichole and I were married July 9, 2005, and I couldn’t imagine a wedding without a car or two involved. My wife chose my 1965 Buick Skylark to be our wedding car, because it was bigger than my ’65 Mustang, leaving more room for her dress. In addition to driving the Skylark on the big day, I restored my Murray Tee-Bird pedal car to look like my Skylark.

    The plan was to have the ring bearer pedal the Tee-Bird up the aisle, but he would have none of it. Alas, the pedal car was parked near the ceremony where everyone could see it, but was not used as transportation for the rings. Three years later, we’ve added a ’53 Buick Special Riviera and a ’65 Corvair Monza convertible to our fleet of vehicles. My Special would have been a great wedding car, but it turned out to be a perfect day anyway.

  Aaron and Nichole Toth
  via e-mail

    My wife and I first met on a blind date on Aug. 13, 1966. The courtship and subsequent engagement was frought full of potholes along the route to the altar. We really came from opposite sides of town. It is almost as if her world had soap, showers and clean linens. Mine was footloose and fancy free. She was straight-laced, prim and proper and I wasn’t. I raced my highly modified 1964 Corvair Monza coupe (Stebro low-restriction exhaust, Yenko Stinger and John Fitch modifications) on tracks in New England and the streets of eastern Massachusetts.

    When I asked her dad for permission to marry his daughter, his stipulation was I had to get rid of “that —-box” or no deal. However, in his mind, he sweetened the deal by giving me a ’61 Bel Air two-door sedan with a six-cylinder and Powerglide. Some deal, huh!

    So we were married on Aug. 11, 1968, with a planned reception at her parent’s home. The ride from the temple to their house was all of three miles at most. My good buddy Barry suggested we drive alone in his new ’68 Dodge Charger.

    We were seated and as he went to close the door, he purposely set off the car’s theft alarm and refused to shut it off. So here we were driving through the streets of suburban Boston in the sedate community of Milton on a Sunday afternoon with the alarm wailing. Of course, not wanting to draw any undue attention to herself, my wife couldn’t find the hole to crawl into with her wedding gown on. Needless to say, we then had our first fight as a married couple.

    Barry gleefully followed behind a respectable distance and finally shut off the alarm upon arrival at my inlaw’s house. Barry and his Dodge are long gone, but certainly not forgotten!

Carl Finer

    On our big day, I had to drive my fiancé to Northfield, Ohio, where we were to be married, from Cleveland (where we both lived), so she could get her hair done. We decided to stop at a fast food restaurant for a quick lunch. When we were done, my 1967 Pontiac 2+2 would not start!

    (For those who don’t know, the 2+2 was General Motors’ full-size version of the GTO. It was based on the Catalina and came with a 428-cid engine, manual transmission, heavy-duty suspension and dual exhaust.)

    We called a nearby relative to get my wife to the hairdresser, but I was stuck. I pushed my Pontiac across the street to a gas station (in those days, they fixed cars as well as filled them). I had to sit all afternoon while they replaced my starter motor, drive late in the afternoon back to Cleveland (about 45 miles) to get my tuxedo and drive back down to the church for a candlelight service at 6 p.m.

    Well, I barely made it back, but I did and got married on Aug. 28, 1971. To show how trusting (or dumb) I was, we drove that evening in my 2+2 to Niagara Falls (and back) without mishap!

    Well, 35 years later, I still have this car, and am still married to the same girl (and still love both).

    I bought the car from my cousin in 1968, and started buying NOS parts to restore it in the mid-1970s directly from a local dealer. I’m still trying to restore this car to this day. I had the body pulled and frame restored in the mid-1980s and in 2006, had NOS quarter panels installed, as well as all sheet metal work that it needed. It is primed, and ready for more block sanding and paint, then eventual re-assembly.

    The accompanying picture of me leaning against the car was taken in 1971 at Niagara Falls. You may be able to see tape marks on the hood where someone attached wedding decorations.

    I hope to finish this car some day, as it is the best, most fun car I’ve ever owned or driven.

  Brian W. Fedio
  Stow, Ohio

    In May 1973, we got married in Zion, Ill., a small town just south of Kenosha, Wis. (former home of American Motors Corp.). I was just out of the U.S. Air Force and moved to Kenosha where my wife-to-be lived. I was working at “The Motors” on the Hornet/Gremlin/Sportabout line. Her dad was also working at AMC at the time.

    Despite our connection to AMC, at that time we didn’t own one, but had just purchased a 1970 Chevy Malibu hardtop from the used car lot of a local AMC dealer. It was gold on gold with a 307-cid V-8, automatic and matching gold vinyl roof.

    Well, come time for our wedding, we knew of the shenanigans that wedding-goers were capable of in those days when it came to “decorating” the bride and groom’s car at the wedding. Everyone knew we had just purchased this gold Malibu and we obviously were going to be the target of the car decorators. Unbeknownst to most, we had purchased a “beater” 1966 Ford plain-Jane sedan – basic transportation. That’s the car we showed up with at the wedding.

    And what of the 1970 Malibu? Well, after kicking around a few ideas as to where to hide it, and not sure anyone was capable of keeping a secret if we used a friend’s garage, we decided to hide it in plain sight. On the way to the church was the Zion police department. We asked the desk sergeant if we could park the car in the police parking lot for the afternoon and if they could keep an eye on it. We got a chuckle out of him and he gladly agreed to help us out.

    So, everyone on their way to the wedding saw our beautiful gold Malibu – hidden in plain sight. Seeing as how it was Saturday, the police parking lot had few cars in it, and ours was easy to spot, glistening gold in the afternoon sun. Needless to say, no one touched it. And, as most stories go, we sure wish we had that Malibu today. But we still have each other, and that means even more.

    We currently own a black 1963 Rambler Classic two-door sedan with 51,000 miles, aluminum-block six-cylinder, unrestored, in near showroom condition, that was built and sold new in Kenosha.

Steve and Kathy Isola
Duluth, Minnesota

    The accompanying photo shows my lovely bride, Ramona, and I on our wedding day, June 18, 1994. Our wedding car was my 1969 Pontiac GTO “The Judge” convertible. The house in the background is a unique octagon-shape and is located across the street from the Phipps Inn Bed and Breakfast in Hudson, Wis. After this photo was taken, we drove to an outdoor ceremony in Stillwater, Minn. Afterwards, we went for a hot air balloon ride over the scenic St. Croix River. 

    What a day! We were fortunate to have great weather for the ceremony and the balloon ride. We spent our honeymoon night at the Phipps Inn. The next day, we were off to Alaska for a three-week honeymoon (no, we didn’t drive the GTO!).

    I purchased my ’69 GTO when I was a senior in high school in 1977, and I still have the car today, 31 years later! It has been documented by the Pontiac Historical Society as 1 of 108 GTO “The Judge” convertibles produced in 1969. The car is Carousel Red and has a white interior with a four-speed transmission, Ram Air III engine and is further equipped with air conditioning and power windows.

    Also in the wedding car caravan that day was my brother Jamie’s midnight-blue 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix Model SJ. Thanks for the chance to reminisce.

    Now we’re just waiting for warmer weather here in Minnesota to take the topless “The Judge” out for some cruisin’!

Paul and Ramona Bergstrom
Independence, Minnesota