Nearly 100 and still going
Lynchburg resident Chuck Miller of Lynchburg is the proud owner of a 1925 Dodge touring car that has a unique history. Not only is the car almost 100 years old; it was featured in the 1971 film “Fools’ Parade” starring Jimmy Stewart.
Miller’s grandfather bought the car new in 1925 for around $650, but sold it several years later. Miller’s uncle found the car sometime between 1950 and 1952, and his father Pete bought it back for around $150.
“It’s really been in the family forever,” Miller said. “He bought it back and had the car repainted but never took the dents out of it, and I just have to explain to people that in 1925 you didn’t have asphalt and concrete roads, so you were running on dirt, gravel and mud, and many children do not realize this.
The producers of “Fools’ Parade” were looking for a 1930 model car in 1970 and the closest car they could find to a convertible was Pete Miller’s 1925 Dodge which they located through a vintage car club. Pete Miller was a crane operator living in Clarington, Ohio at the time. The film was shot near Moundsville, West Virginia.
Pete received his salary as a crane operator for the three weeks he took off for the film, and he received $10,000 for the use of the car he drove in the film.
Pete befriended George Kennedy, one of the film’s stars, during filming and had lunch with him for several days during filming. “Dad got along really well with him,” Chuck Miller said.
He remembers hearing about when Jimmy Stewart came to the family home with other people from the movie to talk about the car deal. “He came over to the house with the other two people, and my mom asked him if he’d like a cup of coffee, and he said, ‘Yes ma’am, I sure would,'” Miller said. sat at the table with my mom and drank coffee while they negotiated what they were going to do, and my mom said he was a very, very nice guy, and I thought that was really good because he’s a famous and upcoming actor and to sit in your house and have a cup of coffee with you would be an honor, you know.
Pete gave the car to Chuck a few years before he died in 1996 at the age of 81. “My mom and that car were dad’s life, and he died of a broken heart after she passed away,” Miller said.
Miller said when he was growing up, people would bring old Dodge cars hundreds of miles away to his dad to fix. “I once asked one of them why they were bringing a car from so far away for my dad to work on, and they said, he’s the only one anyone knows who knows how to fix a car. of these cars and make them work properly,” he said.
Miller always takes people for car rides. “I play cornhole a lot, and people will come and see the car, and I give everyone a ride, and dad did too,” he said. “You get people in the car, and they’ll get in the car with a smile on their face, and when they get out, they’ll still be smiling. It’s like magic to get in that old car and go for a spin because you’re not going to be driving in an almost 100 year old car every day.
Contact John Hackley at 937-402-2571.
Lynchburg resident Chuck Miller starts his 1925 Dodge touring car. On the door is writing pointing to the fictional town of Glory, West Virginia, which was the setting for the 1971 film “Fools Parade” which featured the car. The lettering was placed on the car for the film.