By Shirley Hiers
Recently, I was wondering why some things are known as classic. My curiosity ran the full gamut from great songs to old cars. What is it that makes something a classic? Obviously, for something to attain classic status, it must become popular.
As I thought about classic songs, art and cars, I was overwhelmed by a nostalgic vision of a 1967 Ford Mustang G.T. 500 Clone. Although I don’t know the requirements for a car to be considered a classic, one look seemed to say it all. For sure, it had stood the test of time, its value was no longer depreciating, and I was certain it was over 25 years old.
The car was a beauty! It was reminiscent of a time of crew cuts for men, bouffant hair styles for women, bell bottomed jeans, hippies and love beads….a time known simply as ‘The Sixties”, the decade of peace and love. Who owned this car? I instinctively wanted to know. I don’t know how long I had been standing there, daydreaming about the simpler, carefree days of my youth. When I finally, reluctantly, came back to reality, the classic car’s owner was standing silently beside me…Richmond Hill Police Chief Billy Reynolds!
When he saw his vintage sports car had charmed me, he began talking to me about classic cars. In his calm Southern style, he patiently, yet passionately, explained the criteria necessary for a car to be labeled a classic. To my pleasant surprise, he unhurriedly and candidly opened up about how he first became interested in ‘old’ cars. It was as if he was no longer local Police Chief Reynolds, but a young man eager to talk about his passion for cars of the 60’s and older!
The Sixties will always be known as a special time. It was the age of youth, as millions of children from the post-war baby boom became teenagers and young adults. It was the decade of lasting memories…a time when Kyle Petty, former NASCAR driver, was born, a time when my two sons were born, and a time when Billy Reynolds was born. Things of that era made a lasting impression on Billy, especially the cars manufactured then. He spoke about those early years, “I’ve loved the cars of The Sixties all my life. Back then I wasn’t old enough to drive, much less own one. Now I can!”
Over The Hill Gang is a car club in Richmond Hill with about 40 members who own old cars (some own several). This is the club’s 10th year anniversary. Chief Reynolds, one of the members, especially enjoys their once a month ‘cruise.’ Their one big show yearly, with about 200 cars on display, is at the Richmond Hill Seafood Festival. The owners of the cars come from Florida, the Carolinas, and Georgia. Your car does not need to be considered a ‘classic’ to be in the show – just something you want to show off! A portion of the money raised through entry registrations is given to various charities.
Don’t let the title of the club mislead you. With a slight chuckle Billy explains, “We’re not old, the cars are!” As he soaked up the last rays of the evening’s warmth, he was in no hurry to end our conversation about classic cars. Speaking of the club’s members, he says, “We have all seen each other’s cars and we want other people to see them. A lot of people have never seen these cars, especially the younger generation. We’re trying to keep history alive!”
For one sunny afternoon, Chief Reynolds switched hats, climbed into his awesome Mustang and escaped back to The Sixties. For a brief time, he was Billy Reynolds…just another young man who loves really cool cars!
If you are interested in finding out more about ‘Over The Hill Gang’ car club, you can email Billy at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (912) 756-5721.
Hiers was born and raised in Richmond Hill. You can reach her at email@example.com.