Ralph Kinnaird's love for automobiles goes as far back as he can remember. His passion for restoring antique cars began after retirement.
“I have always loved cars,” Kinnaird, a retired mechanic, said.
“I belong to the Antique Car Club in North Monroe and we travel to different places like Columbia, Winnsboro, Jonesboro, Rayville, Bastrop, and other places too, to compete in car shows,” he said.
It is an extremely competitive business, he said.
Kinnaird began collecting antique automobiles nearly 15 years ago and maintains an impressive collection of antique cars and trucks that he enjoys restoring and showcasing.
“This is a 1951 Studebaker Land Cruiser,” he said, pointing to a bright, shiny blue antique automobile.
“It was one of the fastest cruisers in '51 and could easily break 100 miles per hour,” he said. “1951 was the first year the Studebaker came out with a V8 and it has over-drive, dual heaters and suicide doors (doors that open backward).
“This is the best car for cruising the hills of California -or any hills- because it has a special hill-holder mechanism that is perfect for parking on inclines,” he said.
Another favorite in his collection is a dark green 1950 Ford Sedan that he refers to as the “Bonnie and Clyde” car.
“Clyde Barrow was a daredevil and he could wind this car up so tightly in second gear and boogie around the curves and get away from the law,” he said. “It is very powerful and reliable because it has a Flathead V8.”
Kinnaird and Wanda, his wife, have been Sterlington residents for 39 years and they share a love for well-kept engines.
“Wanda has a Cessna 172 Skyhawk and loves to fly,” he said. “She has even taught people how to fly.
Although Kinnaird has been a retired mechanic from Interstate Dodge in Monroe since 1994, his enthusiasm for auto mechanics has not been disengaged. He is passionate about perfecting his antique automobile collection.
Kinnaird's newest project is to restore a 1968 Plymouth Fury, a muscle car, that he purchased in Crossett, Ark.
“I already fixed the motor and it shines in the light,” he said, lifting the hood to display a powerful, gleaming V8 engine.
Kinnaird is not sure when the next car show will be, but he has five antique automobiles ready for showing and one more in the making.