When Ron Sheddrick received a telephone call from John Molle at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 6, the thought that he and his wife, Pamela, had just won a 1962 Thunderbird didn’t really enter his mind.
Four days earlier, Sheddrick had driven off the Molle Chevrolet lot in Blue Springs in a new, black Avalanche after he traded in his 2001 Monte Carlo.
As Sheddrick was filling out papers on his new purchase, a poster announcing a drawing for a vintage 1962 Thunderbird caught his wife’s eyes.
She asked the salesman how to enter, and he handed her a form to fill out. “Before I left, I told him, ‘You make sure I win that car,’” Pamela said. “He laughed.”
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On the day they entered their name for the Thunderbird, Ron Sheddrick figured somebody was going to win it.
“But that was the end of that,” he said. “We didn’t put a lot of emphasis on it.”
More than 1,000 people entered the contest that ran from Dec. 19 to Jan. 5 at the four Molle dealerships. The Thunderbird giveaway was a way for Molle Automotive Group to thank its customers.
The Sheddricks thought their chance of winning were slim. Plus, the conclusion of 2014 and the start of 2015 were already special for them. Ron and Pamela were married 90 days ago.
They grew up together in Independence and even rode the bus together in seventh grade.
“My parents moved my junior year, and I graduated from Blue Springs,” Ron said. “But I always go to Truman High School reunions. That is where I saw her last October at our 40th reunion. We started communicating ever since then.”
It was Pamela who prodded Ron into buying the Avalanche.
“She saw this black Avalanche and she said, ‘Honey, that has your name written all over it,’” Ron said. “It was what I wanted for two or three years. I just didn’t want to spend the money on an Avalanche, but we did it.”
Ron was showing his new Avalanche at his brother’s business when he received the call about the Thunderbird. At first, he thought it was a practical joke. He checked the phone number and realized it was a legitimate call.
He first heard John Molle ask him about his new Avalanche.
“I thought it was a courtesy call thanking me for buying from Molle,” Ron said. “He asked how was my day. I said great. He said, ‘I am about to make it better. You have won the Thunderbird.’”
The Thunderbird was waiting for them at Molle Toyota at 601 West 103rd St., in Kansas City. Ron wanted to surprise his wife, so he called her and asked her to be ready in 20 minutes for a little trip.
“I have never been ready for anything in 20 minutes,” Pamela said.
As they started driving south, Pamela became curious, especially when her husband pulled into Molle Toyota.
“She said, ‘Why are you pulling into a Toyota dealership when you are a Chevy guy? We just had a new purchase.’ I said I wanted to look at something,” Ron said.
He asked his wife to close her eyes as they walked to the service area. When she opened them, she was looking at the red 1962 Thunderbird that now belonged to the Sheddricks.
“What made it great was they were so excited, so we were excited, too,” said Jim Seaman, marketing director at Molle Toyota. “It was genuine. They were genuinely excited about it.”
Pamela had the honor of driving the 1962 Thunderbird home to Independence.
“The steering wheel is so much larger,” she said. “It took me back to when I first started driving. I have to admit I was scared because we were leaving in rush-hour traffic, and I didn’t want anybody to hurt our baby.
“It was fun. You get the honks, the smiles and the thumbs up and people reacting to it.”
Ron and Pamela said it was a blessing from the Lord that they won.
“We are going to have fun with it, take it to car shows for this year,” Ron said. “I have had show cars before. It is not a big deal to put it in the garage and store it and only put 500 miles a year on it.”
Ron said he has been self-employed for 10 years. He understands the concept of promotions to gain more business. For him, giving away a vintage car goes beyond the simple promotion concept.
“It is phenomenal,” he said. “I think this promotion has more impact than giving away a new Toyota. I can go out and buy one just like that. But a car like this, you don’t run into that opportunity to acquire a car like that, a 53-year-old vehicle.
“I still get shocked when I see how original it is. That there has been little or no modification to it.”
If you have a story you would like to see in On the Move, email David Boyce at Drive@kcstar.com.