Correction: Classic Cars-Memories story
Jul. 20, 2017
ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — In a story July 13 about classic cars, a member exchange relayed by The Associated Press reported erroneously the name of the couple who owns the classic cars. It is Pakulak, not Pekulak.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Classic cars endure Oregon couple's 50 year marriage
Residents of Roseburg may see Bob Pakulak cruising around town in one of his classic cars, and many have probably exchanged stories with him
By BRITTANY ARNOLD
ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — Residents of Roseburg may see Bob Pakulak cruising around town in one of his classic cars, and many have probably exchanged stories with him. Pakulak and his wife, Sally, own a navy blue 1953 DeSoto, as well as a blue 1948 four-door Plymouth sedan — and both have a lot of memories packed inside their antique doors.
The 1953 DeSoto is an oldie, but a goodie in the Pakulak family. He and his wife first purchased the vehicle as a second car in 1971 when their son was about 2 years old.
"It was a beater sitting in the back of the car lot," said Pakulak. Pakulak purchased the car for $150. The beater would then serve its purpose of getting Pakulak and his wife to work, and over the years it became a car they considered themselves "emotionally attached" to.
"It's our marriage car," said Pakulak of the DeSoto. Pakulak and his wife, Sally, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and the car has been there for most of the ride. "She put up with me all that time," said Pakulak. They plan on passing the car down to their son, who is a neuroscientist and works in the psychology department at University of Oregon.
The two met in Roseburg at the local bowling alley. "There was music and dancing. He asked me to dance and that was it," said Sally Pakulak. The couple has lived in Roseburg for their married life. Sally Pakulak is originally from Southern California and moved to the area in 1949. Friends call her a "CIO" which stands for "California improved okie." Pakulak, a former Roseburg and Reedsport teacher, called himself a "true Oregonian." He graduated from Newport High School and then attended Southern Oregon University.
It was during those college days that Pakulak found his first sweetheart — a 1947 blue Plymouth four-door sedan. "I was young and single back then," he said. Pakulak paid $97 for the vehicle and loved every minute with it, however his time was cut short when he was drafted and sent to Butte, Montana. Pakulak said he had to get rid of his "baby". He spent two years in the service.
The car-romance was rekindled in 2015 and Sally Pakulak was not only supportive, but won the bidding war for it.
Sally Pakulak found the car on Ebay, just like Pakulak's original car. She began the bidding process which started around $4,500. "I just asked (Bob), 'Tell me my limit on this thing,'" said Sally Pakulak. She continued in a bidding war with another potential buyer whom she said she "caught on to." With 30-seconds left for a final bid, Sally Pakulak swooped in for the win. The couple paid about $6,400 and was ecstatic.
The car was shipped from Portland and it was just as Pakulak remembered. "It was very original," said Sally Pakulak.
A year later, Pakulak was on his routine drive to the Roseburg YMCA when another car pulled out in front of him. The car was totaled and Pakulak was sent to the hospital in an ambulance along with his faithful dog. Pakulak left the following day with seven broken ribs. The dog was unharmed, but stuck by his owner's side.
"I arrived and there he is, on the gurney, with the dog between his legs," said Sally Pakulak.
The couple found out that Roseburg Towing had done a lot of work on Plymouths. The car needed an entire new front and new paint. "The saddest part of the accident was it had original paint and had to get new paint," said Sally Pakulak.
Other than the paint, Pakulak said that Roseburg Towing did a great job fixing the car back to its original glory. "We were without it for a couple months...but it was close enough that Bob could go visit," said Sally Pakulak. Typically restoration can take months or more when original parts are needed.
Pakulak added a backup camera and CD player to the Plymouth, as well as seat belts that he claimed "probably saved his life" during the accident. The DeSoto still remains stock, cosmetically. It has a semi-automatic transmission with a clutch and power steering. Both vehicles have years of memories in the mileage.
"It's fun to drive and a blast talking to people about it," said Pakulak. He and his wife said they get to hear someone's life story almost every time they go to the store. Pakulak usually visits the VA during the Graffiti Weekend events.