Antique car group takes tour of area

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; There’s something about seeing a fully restored 1926 Cadillac Coupe rolling through town, its immaculate, baby-blue paint job shining in the sun.

The caddy was one of 63 antique cars and trucks seen cruising the streets of Natchez this weekend, as the Louisiana Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America made the Bluff City its current tour destination.

&uot;This is our first time in Natchez since 1991, and we really have enjoyed it,&uot; said group leader and Vicksburg native Charlie Matthews, who now lives in Baton Rouge.

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Of the 127 AACA members who arrived Friday morning, most are from Louisiana, although some drove came from as far away as Oklahoma. Though some trailered their antique autos to Natchez, many drove them the distance.

Saturday afternoon, Bob McCarron was busy shining the chrome bumper on a 1956 Ford Fairlane in the parking lot of the Isle of Capri Hotel, where the group headquartered.

McCarron was getting the bugs off the Ford after driving up from Baton Rouge. &uot;This one actually belongs to my wife, Marta. I’ve got my original car from high school &045; a ’51 Mercury,&uot; McCarron said.

Other mint-condition models parked around the hotel included a 1960 Chevrolet Impala, a 1959 GMC pickup and a 1963 SS Convertible.

&uot;We operate our own businesses back home, and this is our way of getting away and having fun,&uot; said John Benoit, who made the trip with his wife, Verbie, from Addis, La.

On Friday, members toured the Delta Music Museum in Ferriday and the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians. Saturday’s itinerary included a ride up the Natchez Trace to Mount Locust and lunch at Jefferson College.

Several members were given awards at a banquet Saturday, including the top honor of best restored vehicle.

The AACA has eight chapters in Louisiana with over 800 members.

Each chapter hosts a tour each year.