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Remembering the Roadways

Stories from car enthusiasts all across the southeast continued to be shared during the 55th Southeastern Autorama held on Saturday, May 6, at Bryant Field on the Unicoi County High School campus.
Southeastern Autorama Club President Joey Bailey recently told The Erwin Record the event is a time for people to renew and start new friendships during the annual weekend event.
Since its inception in 1960 as the brainchild of Conrad Beam and Jim Hobbs, the Southeastern Autorama proved to be the stomping grounds for automobiles from generations to be showcased, along with friendships and stories formed over the years from owners and attendants alike.
The Palmer family is no exception when it comes to the story of Daisy, a 1932 Desoto four-door sedan.
Lynn and wife, Linda, joked about the trip heading to Erwin from Johnson City. A trip ensued going 30 miles per hour on the side streets to make it to the track in the three-speed, 75 horsepower vehicle.
Daisy the Desoto is no stranger to the travels.
Bob Palmer, Lynn’s uncle, was the previous owner of the car before it was sold in 1988 in Oregon. Lynn was able to get the car back in 2013 to begin the restoration process with the help of the workers of Speedway Seat Cover.
Along with the tales of Daisy, the love of automobiles also comes with the territory for Mike McIntosh with Model A Macs in Unicoi.
McIntosh was front and center at the event with his 1923 Model T Ford. The love ran in the family with his father, who owned a 1913 Model T.
With his Model T, Mike also had a portrait of his father sitting on the driver’s side door. The painting was presented to McIntosh from his friend, Amelia Osborne, as a birthday present given years ago as a way to remember his father.
Model T Fords were created from 1909-27, McIntosh explained, before the Model A’s took to the roadways from 1928-31.
Ron VonEsson is also no stranger to automobiles with a rich history, with his eye-catching 1931 Seagrave firetruck. The Seagrave, which is trimmed with actual gold-paint, saw its journey from a medical examiner’s garage in Philadelphia in the late 70s to Bryant Field on the weekend.
Beside VonEsson’s vehicle was Hargus White and a loaded 1987 Ford truck converted into a dooley.
White has the truck ready to roll on the July 4 weekend with it being part of the American Legion’s parade in Erwin.
Even with the rich tradition of vehicles from the past — the present was also well represented, including a 2014 Viper GTS. The car was among a bevy of newer automobiles on behalf of Carl Gregory’s car dealership.