When Dallas Talbert retired from the Concord Telephone Company in 1990, he decided to pursue a lifelong dream. He and his wife Helen jumped in their yellow 1929 Ford convertible street rod, which they lovingly restored, and traveled the country.
Twenty-one years later, the couple has entered their car in 652 shows and earned 431 trophies, all of which are proudly gathered along the back wall of their garage
. Dallas says each trophy holds a special memory. "I met someone at every one of those shows, and those trophies are how I remember them."
In October, Dallas and Helen added another award to their list.
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AutoBarn Classic Cars in Concord presented the couple with a Lifetime Rodder Award at their semi-annual car show, honoring them for their commitment to classic cars.
Lifelong residents of Concord, Dallas met Helen in 1954 at what is now Troutman's BBQ. Common interests brought them together and have kept their 48-year marriage alive. Together, they built their first hot rod in 1955 and then began the restoration of their street rod in 1987.
"If it hadn't been for the car, Helen and I wouldn't be here," says Dallas, who's now 87. "It has kept us active with something to do."
His fascination for cars recently took another turn when a buddy introduced Dallas to pedal cars, built for small children. Since then, Dallas has taken "rust buckets" - the rusted metal scraps of the cars - and lovingly nurtured them back to full glory.
"Once I got started, I had to stay with them," he says. "Usually when someone starts on these cars, it takes them forever," Dallas muses. "But it's because they don't work on them."
Dallas, on the other hand, spends the majority of his day in the shop working on one of his many projects.
Though health issues have forced them to slow down, Dallas and Helen are grateful for the many experiences they have shared and the relationships they have built. Dallas says, "The folks we have met on the journey of this car is unreal."