2007-07-05 / Front Page

'Mr. Chevy'

By Cheryl Holladay

When Independence Day rolls around each July, thoughts go to backyard barbecues, pick-up baseball games and swimming holes. But, probably more than anything, thoughts turn to being American.

The stars and stripes can be seen on everything from tshirts to lawn chairs and the symbol of our great nation-the American Bald Eagle-can be seen in the skies over our county.

And, if you remember the ad jingle of "baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet, They go together in the Good 'Ole USA…" you are in the right spot.

From the little league fields of Houghton Lake, Roscommon and St. Helen to our own "Mr. Chevy" and award-winning apple pie baker, we are indeed All-American.

As the old Chevy ad goes, nothing's more American than "baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet."

As those icons represent American tradition, Houghton Lake's Murl "Pinky" Randall represents Chevrolet. After all, they call him Mr. Chevy.

"I'm a full-blooded American," he said.

Randall and his 1938 Chevrolet Master Cabriolet convertible are featured in the July issue of Cars & Parts. The gleaming Chevy is on the cover of the magazine.

Pinky Randall Pinky Randall He purchased the car in 1971 and began buying parts for it. However, it wasn't until about three years ago that he started restoring it.

With the help of Verle Wetherwax and George Kella, Randall turned an old car into a show car. The '38 won Best in Show at a St. Ignace car show, a national first place award in 2005 and the coveted Louis Chevrolet Award (a National Antique Automobile Club of America honor).

The features of the four-passenger 1938 include fender skirts, white walled tires, fender lights, bumper guards, outside rearview mirrors, a push-button radio, a "banjo" steering wheel and a rumble seat.

"It's a nice car," he said.

Randall has an envious collection of Chevrolets; he and the cars have been highlighted in several magazine articles over the years. His collection now stands at about "12 or 15," he said.

At one point, he had what was known as the worlds' largest collection of Chevy literature. Much of his collection was purchased recently by Chevrolet for the new Heritage Center in Sterling Heights.

MR. CHEVY Murl "Pinky" Randall of Houghton Lake shows off his 1938 Chevrolet Master Cabriolet convertible. It is one in a collection of about "12 or 15" he has left. The rest of his cars were "repossessed" by General Motors, he said, jokingly. Born and raised in Houghton Lake Heights, Randall, like his Chevy, is a "full-blooded" American. MR. CHEVY Murl "Pinky" Randall of Houghton Lake shows off his 1938 Chevrolet Master Cabriolet convertible. It is one in a collection of about "12 or 15" he has left. The rest of his cars were "repossessed" by General Motors, he said, jokingly. Born and raised in Houghton Lake Heights, Randall, like his Chevy, is a "full-blooded" American. "I had a good rapport with Chevrolet," he said, adding "it's not what ya know, it's who ya know."

He said when he tells people he sold many of his Chevys to General Motors, he jokes that "they repossessed [them]!"

Randall said his collection of Chevy memorabilia grew from having visited flea markets, especially the one in Hershey, PA.

"It's the World Series of antique automotive flea markets," he said.

His love of the Chevrolet goes way, way back.

"It started with a '32 Chevy," Randall said. "I fell in love with that car."

He walked past "that car" everyday on the way to school.

He was in kindergarten.

Randall said he would leave home early just so he could spend time admiring the blue car with the black fenders and yellow wheels.

He was so enamored, that when he got the chance- years later- he bought it.

"I bought it for $30 when I got out of the Army the second time," he said. "I borrowed $30 from the bank, and I paid it back. I still have that car today."

He said he bought original parts for it, and would like to restore it.

The '32, he said, "was just starting to become a modern car. It had a lot of chrome on it."

Randall said he does not remember who gave him the moniker "Mr. Chevy," but he has been called that since the early 1960's. He has a license plate, "MRCHEV" and his wife, Joyce, whom he has been married to for nearly 57 years, used to have one that said "MRSCHEV."

He said while most people may favor the 1957 as the "classic" Chevrolet, his favorite Chevys are the older models.

"I like the 1914's," he said. "And the '32 is probably the most beautiful."

Randall and his wife were planning to be at a Detroit Lakes, MN, car show this month, then head to Boseman, MT, to take their 1928 Roadster on a tour. The last stop on the trip was to be Fargo, ND, where one of their granddaughters lives.

By the way, the name Pinky resulted from his brother, Don, being called "Red," in school. Rather than call Murl "little Red," his nickname evolved to Pink, then Pinky.

"My mother hated it," Randall said, and would not call him Pinky "until years later."

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