Muscle Cars and Sherer’s Drive-in

by Greg Phillips

Hot Cars & Sherer’s Drive-In on Saturday Night – Way back in the sixties fewer things were more important in a teenager’s life growing up in the Dora-Sumiton area than the things listed above.

First and foremost the most important thing to have was a hot car. We were blessed with such cars as Mustangs, 442s, GTOs, Impalas, Chevelles, Camaros, and Marauders in the mid sixties. I remember all the guys that had these cars and how envious I was of them.

Each Saturday night the place to be and the place to be seen was Sherer’s, a really neat drive-in that sat just above the Post Office in Sumiton. Most everyone would just park in front and watch the cars go by or if you had money for gas you could be one of the circling cars. Gas was only 25 cents per gallon back in the sixties, but most everyone would just sit in their cars or their buddies cars and watch. Probably wasn’t twenty dollars total in all the pockets there.

I was introduced to this social scene at the tender age of fifteen. Please remember at fifteen you had no car and no driver’s license, So you had to depend on friends that had cars and driver’s licenses to transport you to this happening place. Thanks to Bennett & Larry Little I had a way to get into the nightlife of East Walker County. ”I had arrived!” Prior to my reaching my sixteenth birthday, my dad, who was in the food sales business, got me my first job at the Piggly Wiggly in downtown Sumiton.

Lester Walker was one of the owners of the Piggly Wiggly and a long time friend of my father’s. I recall that the entry-level salary was .89 cents per hour, not much these days, but I thought I was rich! All the time I was working that first summer at the Piggly Wiggly I was thinking about getting one of those really neat Mustangs that had been introduced earlier in the year (1964). Once I got that Mustang, I could take my rightful place with all the other guys with hot cars.

I naturally thought that my Father would spring for the Mustang as I approached this very important 16th birthday. Was I in for a rude awakening! The night I turned sixteen and headed home from the Piggly Wiggly my heart beat with anticipation at what I’d find when I got home. Imagine my feelings when I reached home and saw a 1951 Ford sitting in the driveway. Talk about coming down to earth in a hurry. I tried not to show the disappointment that I felt when I saw this CAR.

No paint on the front fenders, upholstery falling away from the roof. My father came out of the house and gave me the keys and told me that I owed a friend of his in Cordova $150.00 for the car and that I could pay him $50.00 per month for three months and then the car would be mine. Talk about a reality check! No free lunches with this father! I look back on this now and smile because it was a lesson he was trying to teach me and he did. It is just that I never could or did break into the social order with that old car.

The years have dulled most of my memories about that wonderful time in my life, but I will never forget that old car and the lessons as a result of having owned it. In 1966 I graduated from Dora High School still wanting that Mustang. And no, I never got it either, At least not real soon.

Through the years I have been blessed with an understanding wife that only smiled when I bought our only child a Red Camaro before she was sixteen, and smiled again when I bought this same child a red hot Black Nissan 240 ZX when she graduated from High School. Also through the years I have had more than my share of nice cars, BMWs, Mercedes Benz plus others that I won’t go into. There was always something missing in my life, but what?

While surfing the Internet several years ago I came across a 1966 Mustang Convertible in of all places Washington State. After several conversations with the owner of this car, it was purchased sight unseen and headed for Alabama on the back of car carrier.

This same understanding wife met the trucker on Highway 280 in Shelby County Alabama and followed him to our home, him driving the Mustang since I was out of town.

I now drive this car to cruise–ins in the Birmingham area, whenever possible, trying to relive those fond memories of many years ago at Sherer’s on Saturday Night

Usually, when I stop for fuel, people will approach me and ask me all about this car. I simply reply to them it’s my high school graduation gift! They always walk away with a puzzled look on their face.


by Asa Faith Randolph
You may be wondering how this car relates to Dora High School. You may be thinking that this article is just a way for me to brag on my beautiful car. Yes, I was very proud of my car that my father bought for me in 1960 – it was dark green, lowered in the back, fender skirts, and glass packs. I can still hear the rumbling sound it made! Beautiful? Yes!

Okay, here is one connection with DHS – it took me to school each day of my senior year. Another connection – Mr. Gant asked me and my ’55 to go to make the bank deposit each school day. I’m sure that the police could hear us all the way to the bank and back.

My favorite connection – I would wash it carefully, as Daddy had taught me – every Saturday. Then I would drive to DHS, park under one of the shade trees near the Home Ec Department, and wax it. I remember Rollin Gilbreath helping me. He would rub that wax until the green came alive, like the DHS trees.

Later on, I was blessed to have a ’67 yellow Mustang. Loved that car also – but I’ll never have one as special as my ’55 DHS Ford.
Asa Faith (Bobo) Randolph, Class of ’61

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