Zanna Edgar of Brownwood all but abandoned the small imported car she drove as a high school and college student when she got a better vehicle. But after almost 35 years rusting away in a pasture, she reclaimed and restored it.
Her 1957 Hillman Husky, a British import, will be among the more than four dozen 1950s vintage vehicles that will be on display next weekend at the Brownwood Coliseum during the Brownwood Reunion Celebration Sept. 18-20.
“It was my first car,” Edgar said Thursday morning after members of the Heartland Cruisers brought about eight vehicles to the coliseum parking lot for a mini-display as the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce Business Showcase opened. “I drove it through junior high, high school and college.”
Edgar said her father found the Hillman in Austin, and bought it for her.
“Used? It was well-used,” Edgar said. “I always thought I would fix it up some, but I never did.” She did replace the headliner and make a few other cosmetic repairs, though.
“It sat in the pasture from 1969 to 2003,” Edgar said. “It was almost ruined. The passenger side was next to a fence, but the driver’s side was open to the field. A ram got mad at it for some reason, and just kept on head-butting it. That made the restoration of that side much more difficult.”
The restoration was completed in 2006.
Hillman is the brand of vehicle, and the Husky name designated it as a wagon. Edgar demonstrated how the rear door opens to the side, exposing a shelf under which the spare tire and other tools are kept. The top is used for storage. The back seat folds down to provide an extended flat area for hauling items behind the two front seats.
“They said it will seat four comfortably,” Edgar said. “I guess people were smaller back then.”
Among the vehicles on display Thursday was a 1960 Ford Fairlane used as a squad car by Don Knotts who played Deputy Sheriff Barney Fife on “The Andy Griffith Show.” The car, owned by Colleen Kuzmich of Midland, bears the license plate “B Fife” and sports the autographs of most of the television show’s stars — including Knotts, whose name is shown prominently on the dashboard on the front passenger’s side.
Heartland Cruisers spokesman Wayne Creel said the squad car will be “front and center” at the coliseum entrance during next weekend’s exhibit.
“Right now, we have 52 cars, and we could have more,” Creel said. “But the way we have it drawn up, that may be the maximum we can squeeze in. If we can get any more in there, we will.”
Creel said the majority of the cars in the show will be 1950s models, but a handful will from the late 1940s or early 1960s.