Dallas Talbert's love affair with cars started when he was in high school. "Mom and Dad bought a 1939 Ford, two-door Sedan (he pronounces it See-dan) and I was really interested in cars," the 80-year-old lifetime Concord resident said.
Talbert, along with wife Helen, are regulars at car shows both locally and throughout the southeast. "We are getting ready to go to Monroe, Myrtle Beach, Dawsonville, Georgia, and the last show of the year will be in Charleston, South Carolina," Helen added.
Standing proudly next to his bright yellow 1939 Ford in the garage, Dallas told of his various automobiles through the years. Pictures from friends, magazine covers, local and regional articles adorn the walls and a large collection of trophies sit covered by plastic so as to protect them from the dust.
"Helen and I have been married 46 years," he beams. Helen, sitting in a nearby chair, said, "We were together for 10 years before we got married."
Asked if Helen shares his passion for the cars, the old-timer, clad in coveralls, exclaimed, "Why she's more into it than I am!" It is pretty evident that these two spend a lot of time together and wouldn't have it any other way.
Working our way through the garage, Dallas points to various automobile memorabilia and quickly tells a short history for each treasured piece. "Over there is an old wooden telephone booth. It didn't come from this exchange, I imagine it was used in an old hotel or department store somewhere," Talbert remarked as he rubbed his worn hand down the side of the booth.
Exiting the garage, Talbert said, "Let me show you my store." Situated about twenty-yards from the garage stands a newly built 1920's era General Store that appears open for business.
Walking through the screen doors, you imagine you might see John-boy, Jim-Bob, Mary-Ellen, or another of the Walton clan. What you will see is a collection of period wares and fixtures which the
Talbert's have acquired, including an old Coca-Cola box that is fully stocked.
Offering me a Moon-Pie and RC cola, Dallas tells about the excitement his visitors exhibit upon seeing the store. "We've even had 'em ask if the cakes were for sale," he laughs, pointing to the fake baked goods in the case beside the counter.
Leaving the store, the couple tells how each afternoon at 2 they take a seat in the large rockers on the porch of the store where they enjoy a cold drink and a snack together. Helen says, "This is our break, and it's usually a short one."
Just past the garage stands a small building that appears to be nothing more than storage for a mower. Talbert unlocks and opens the door to reveal a collection of Tonka toys, bikes, pedal cars and planes, all from long years ago.
Dallas cannot get enough when it comes to autos, whether they be for the big boys, or the little ones. As he shows his toys, Talbert can't resist running his hands over them, explaining the effort to acquire and restore them.
When Talbert closes the door to the building I assume we are finished, but I am wrong. Next to the storage building stands a trailer and Dallas reaches for the door and tells me, "This is my museum."
Inside the trailer, glistening like new is row upon row of pedal cars, some dating to the 1930's. Talbert leads me through the trailer like a proud father, again relating the stories of how he found some of them and the efforts undertaken to restore them to their original grandeur.
From that 1939 Ford two door Sedan that his parents bought when he was in high school to the collection he dotes on today, Dallas Talbert is a happy man. He lives on the same property where he grew up and keeps those memories very much alive as he restores the real cars and the toy cars that have brought him so much pleasure.