Purple ‘Passion’ tops show

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Features Editor

Maybe everything does have its price, but Chuck Catrett’s number has not come up, yet.

He was offered more than 40 grand for his 1964 Ford Galaxie 500.

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In less than a nanosecond he’d said, no.

"This car’s not for sale," the Pike County resident said.

"I don’t know what I would have to be offered to let it go. I’m not sure there’s enough money. This car was a gift from my wife, Mary. That makes it very special."

Catrett has also invested more money in the restoration of the two-door hardtop than he cares to add up or dares to think about. And, then there’s sweat equity. And, then there’s the labor of love and the passion for the classic car.

Perhaps, it’s "for love" that he can’t let it go.

"It was my wife’s old car and she drove it to work for years and, when she got a new car, she gave it to me to fix up," Catrett said.

Although he had no experience "fixing up" classic cars, he knew enough to ask those who did know and supplement what he heard with what he could read. He was in no hurry. The longer it took him to get his Ford Classic ready for show, the more classic it would be.

So what if it took him 10 years?

He wanted everything to be as perfect as "he" could make it.

"I wanted to do as much of the work as I could," he said. "It was a long, learning process and I enjoyed every minute of it."

Catrett did all of the restoration work except the interior. "I just couldn’t do that the way I wanted it."

He rebuilt the engine and it’s a thing of shining beauty.

He did his own paint job and it is also a thing of shining beauty.

"The paint job is unusual," he said. "I did a lot of reading and looking before I decided exactly what I wanted to do. I’ve been very please with it."

And, well he should be. There just aren’t many paint jobs to equal it.

"It’s disappearing flames," Catrett explained of the purple paint job.

Standing at the front or the side of the Galaxie, one can see light purple flames on a dark purple background. However, if one moves to the back of the car and looks down the side, the flames disappear and the paint job appears solid.

"People really seem to get a kick out of the paint job," Catrett said. "It wasn’t easy to do, but it was worth it."

Another unusual feature of the Ford classic is

the window vents which are engraved with a rose.

"I had to take them out and send them to California to have that done," Catrett said. "I wanted the roses because my wife and daughter are the roses in my life."

If his wife and daughter are the "roses" what are the redeyed cobras peeping out the windows.

Catrett laughed, but had no answer for that, but he did have an explanation.

"The wheel covers are unique in that they have the cobras on them," he said, pointing to the chrome wheel covers with a red-eyed cobra adornment on them. "Matching lock button covers were available and I thought they would be ‘interesting.’ They do get a lot of attention."

Anytime Chuck and Mary Catrett are on the road, they attract a lot of attention and turn a lot of heads.

"This car isn’t one that sits in the garage until there’s a car show to enter," Catrett said. "Mary and I take it

on Sunday drives and you’d be surprised at the response we get. We have a lot of fun driving around and we enjoy taking it to car shows and seeing how it measures up to other classics.

The Ford Galaxie 500 measures up with the best of them.

In the Country Cruisers Car and Truck Show at the Pike County Fairgrounds, Catrett walked away with a lot of hardware.

His purple flaming Ford won best of show, best interior, best engine and best paint.

Catrett didn’t try to hide his pride in "purple."

During the three years Catrett has been showing his Ford, he has entered seven shows and has seven first place awards to his credit.

But, if Catrett didn’t have one award in his trophy case, his 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 would be priceless.

"It’s the one and only," he said, laughing. "I won’t restore another car. This one is very special and I know there won’t be another one, so that’s why I’ll hang on to it."

Unless someone comes along with the right price?

But, Catrett holds firm, "There’s no right price."