Lucas Howrey saw the green 1968 Firebird 400 for the first time about eight years ago.
He’d just begun dating his now wife. The car belonged to his future mother-in-law.
Howrey asked if he could buy it and, he recalls, she immediately said, “No.”
“I just let sleeping dogs lie,” he says. “I never asked her again.”
Then this past winter, she told him she was downsizing, and needed to get rid of the car. So, he made her an offer.
“I can’t believe that she sold it to me,” he says.
Howrey grew up with an appreciation for antique cars thanks to his dad, who could spot an old car and tell you its make and model. During the years, Howrey has enjoyed watching the Mecum and Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions and imagined having his own vintage vehicle.
“I always wanted one, but the ‘mint’ ones are too expensive,” he says.
His mother-in-law’s car doesn’t have all the original parts and isn’t in mint condition. It’s more of a “driver,” which worked for Howrey. One aspect of it that makes it a little more rare is the tachometer being located on the hood, he says.
He made her an offer, then sent in his 6-year-old son, Ethan, to bat his eyes and close the deal with Grandma, he laughs.
It worked. Soon, the whole family — which includes Howrey’s wife, Annette and daughter, Josie, 2 — was riding around town and going to get ice cream in what Ethan has dubbed the “tire-screaming ice cream car,” his dad says.
When asked to explain the “tire-screaming” part of the moniker, he laughs.
“Feel free to fill in the blanks,” Howrey says. “I’m pleading the Fifth as to why it’s the tire-screaming car.”
It took some work to get the Firebird running, including a new fuel system, brakes, battery and belts. It will eventually need a new interior, a different transmission and a fresh paint job.
So far, they’ve all been enjoying it, particularly the kids.
“The kids love it,” Howrey says. “When it comes out of the garage, they run to that thing as fast as they can. It’s going to be priceless for how much fun we’re going to get out of it.”
Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or Darren@dmcityview.com to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”