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Opinion
Plant City Observer Thursday, Jun. 23, 2016 2 years ago

1931 Chevrolet to be on display in 1914 Plant City High School Community Center

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The car belonged to Bill Sharpton, who owned a Chevrolet dealership and drove the car in Florida Strawberry Festival parades.

By Ben Sharpton
Novelist

I said goodbye to her last week. She was in the garage looking proud and elegant as I drove away. We’d been together since 2002, but she had been in my family for decades.

In “Romeo and Juliet,” William Shakespeare coined the phrase, “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” For me, it’s much more sweet than sorrow because I know she’s in good hands. 

She isn’t a woman. She’s a 1931 Chevy.

Current plans are to place it in the 1914 Plant City High School Community Center on Collins street, where it will be on display, along with Frank Chamber’s beautiful 1928 Ford.


You may remember my father, A. E. (Bill) Sharpton, driving this 1931 Chevy in Plant City Strawberry Festival parades. Dad, the former owner of Bill Sharpton Chevrolet in Plant City, took great pride in showing it off. 

He should have. You see, it was a beautiful car, representing the timeless quality of Chevrolet. 

Dad’s mother, my grandmother, bought the car new in 1931. There was a spell when J. I. Yarborough owned the car, but he traded it in for another in 1954, and the Sharptons have owned it since.

Dad kept the car at the Chevrolet dealership, showing it here and there, especially in the festival parade. That was a good place for the car. The dealership garage offered safety from inclement weather, and the mechanics there knew how to keep it in good running condition. 

When Dad passed away, I inherited the car and brought it to Georgia, where I lived. I gave it an external makeover, changing the color from black and maroon to black and cream and did my best to keep it in running order. 

The 1931 Chevrolet was originally black and maroon.

But I’m not close to being the mechanic the people at Dad’s dealership were. So last week, I took the car back home to the East Hillsborough Historical Society, in Plant City. 

Current plans are to place it in the 1914 Plant City High School Community Center on Collins street, where it will be on display, along with Frank Chamber’s beautiful 1928 Ford.

When I left it with the good folks at the Historical Society, I knew that was the best place for it. Everyone who saw the car was pleased with its looks. One man associated with the society already had a 1931 Chevy and knew how to get it running. They will take good care of the car, and anyone will be able to view it. 

And, in the near future, you may see her, once again, driving down Reynolds Street in the Strawberry Festival Parade.

Ben Sharpton grew up in Plant City and now lives with his family in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, where he is a novelist. His fourth book, “2nd Sight”, was released by Limitless Publishing in June.

 

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