theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

Local News

June 26, 2014

Cruisin' Main: Small-town Friday night

Ada — Eighty-four-year-old Ada mechanic Johnny Brassfield said earlier this week that he doesn’t know if he’ll make it down to Friday’s Fourth Annual Cruisin’ Main event.

 His daughter, Judy (Brassfield) Brooks, said not to listen to that kind of talk. Her dad will be there, she said. “He wouldn’t miss it.”

  Brassfield knows motors — especially the kind of motors participants will be hearing a nostalgic roar from on Main Street tomorrow night. The event that celebrates small-town America car culture and the favorite hangout pastime of so many folks who grew up here will start rumbling down Main Street at 7 p.m. Friday and last until 9 p.m.

  Brassfield is the current patriarch of an Ada family steeped in hot-rod tradition with members who all have the same initials, J.B.

 He’s not the first Johnny Brassfield. That title would belong to his late father, a mechanic also named Johnny Brassfield. 

 The Jr. Johnny Brassfield is still tinkering on cool cars. In fact, he’s got his own Bultaco motorcycles (originally made in Spain until Johnny restores them) that he still rides.

  He also has restored several El Caminos.

 “I used to drag Main in a 1949 Ford sedan,” he said. “It was a nice-looking car my dad had fixed up for me.”

 Johnny Brassfield Sr. was the first auto mechanic in Ada, and he started a family tradition that has never stopped.

 Today’s elder Johnny Brassfield, Jr. has paid it forward, restoring cars of various ages for each of his four children.

  Brassfield Jr. said he was driving a ‘37 Buick in 1940 when his dad decided his son might be driving a little too fast.

 “I wound up with a Ford,” he said.

 Was it fast, too?

 “Not as fast as that Buick,” he said.

 Brassfield Jr. says people in Ada have always “dragged Main.’’

 “In fact,” he said, “I think more people dragged Main then than they do now.”

 That’s true, but it’s illegal now, due to the city council passing an ordinance a few years back.

Tomorrow night, though, cruisin’ Main Street is perfectly legal for two hours.

 Johnny Jr. came to Ada with his family from California just before he entered 9th grade.

“Ada had some pretty girls back then,” he said.

  One of them was a girl named Mary that Johnny met while cruising Main Street in 1951.

 They spent more than 55 years together, long enough to have four children. All of their children have the same initials, J.B.

 Mary’s choice of vehicles was a little unusual. One of her favorite cars was a Rambler station wagon and she also was fond of the 1976 Pinto station wagon.

 “She was a car person just like the rest of us,” said daughter Judy.

  Mary died in 2008.

 Judy said the girls back in her teen years always went for guys with the hottest and fastest pickup trucks. The boys knew it and responded accordingly.

Passengers often traded cars during stoplights.

 Johnny Jr. built Judy a 1964 Ford pickup, which she drives to this day.

 “My dad restored each of us four kids a nice hot rod to drive upon turning 16,” said Judy. “My oldest brother Jimmy Brassfield had a metallic blue 1957 Chevy. My sister Janet had a 1955 Chevy with a 283 power plant under the hood. My baby brother Johnny Shawn Brassfield had a 1980 Stepside Lowrider Chevy pickup.

 “All of us except the eldest still have and drive our vehicles Dad restored for us,” she said.

 In spite of selling his car, big brother Jimmy still gets to come to family dinners.

 “Draggin' Main was always a huge part of our life when we were teenagers and we still love to participate in the Cruisin’ Main event held annually in Ada,” Judy said.  

 She expects that she and her husband Brian Brooks will be showing off their 1970 El Camino at the cruise, one that Brian recently restored.

“My husband updated it by lowering it, giving it power steering and air conditioning,” she said. “We drove it on the Hot Rod Power Tour last year from Arlington, Texas, through seven states, ending up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and had a blast!”

  Judy said her sister Janet usually makes a special annual trip to Ada from Dallas in her souped-up 1955 Chevy just to cruise Main.

  Back in the day, it wasn’t just about guys meeting up with girls or making a four-wheel fashion statement either.

  Chris Seiler, a former cruiser who grew up to become a marketing officer for Citizens State Bank in Ada, did his cruisin’ in Ardmore where his dad was the chief of police.

 He said his dad didn’t harass him nearly as much as his dad’s staff — the patrol officers — who used to pull him over and tell him, “Go home.”

 Seiler remembers one night in particular when he and a group of guys had been out to Lake Murray trying to catch fish.

 They didn’t have much luck with the fish but tarantulas were all over the place.

 The kids rounded them up, put them into temporary captivity, then turned them loose at the Ardmore Sonic.

 “There must have been 60 cars sitting there,” he said. “They all hurried out of there.”

 Sometimes Ada cruisers slipped out of town for drag races down backcountry roads. Judy admits she broke out of the cruisin’ circle a time or two to get in on those races.

 She said her sister Janet was probably in on a lot more than that.

  For a one-night replay tomorrow evening, join thousands of nostalgia buffs and hundred of restored vehicles, glowing in all their waxed and buffed glory, just like the good ol’ days.

 

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