RINGSIDE NEWSLETTER VOL. 1 ISSUE 2
JULY- AUGUST 1981
In 1981, Jim Crockett promotions developed a club for their fans and called it the "United States Wrestling Club." For a membership fee of $5.00 for one year, fans got the bi-monthly club newsletter "Ringside," a discounted subscription offer on "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine," discounts on tickets to local Mid-Atlantic Wrestling events, and discounts on concessions at those events. Despite being initially well received by fans, Jim Crockett Promotions folded the club after only one year.
The 3rd issue of the "Ringside" newsletter for the United States Wrestling Club arrived in early August of 1981. The feature article was editor Steve Waid's interview with Paul Jones about his interest in car restoration. Steve photographed Paul at his shop.
The issue also included "Fan Club News" and a wrestler word scramble.
Paul Jones - Car Restoration Buff
by Steve Waid
Ever since he was a youngster in Port Arthur, Texas, wrestler Paul Jones has had a deep affection for a 1955 model Ford Thunderbird.
“When I was a kid, I’d go down to the auto lot and just sit in one,” he recalled, “and I wouldn’t move until a salesman would chase me off. And you know how kids daydream. I read once where Elvis Presley had a Cadillac and he would tow a 1955 Thunderbird behind it. I thought then, I’d have one someday.”
Because he has made a successful career out of wrestling, in which he has held several championships, Jones now owns a 1955 Thunderbird. Because it is over 25 years old, it is an antique. But that’s now what makes this Thunderbird so appealing.
It was practically rebuilt from scratch and its restoration has been a long, costly process. And the man who restored the car with his own hands is Paul Jones himself.
Jones enjoys restoring old cars. In fact, he has made it a pastime, one he pursues vigorously when he’s not wrestling.
“When I grew up, I piddled around with old cars, but I sure didn’t have the money to undertake any restoration projects on my own. I’ve only been doing that for the last six years,” Jones said.
“But I read books about restoration and I talked to people who did it. I joined the Atlanta T-Bird Club and kept in touch with what was going on. But I also played a lot of golf in my free time and it never worked out that I had time to start restoring old cars. I’m neglecting my golf to do it right now.”
Jones finally purchased his beloved Thunderbird, one that was in pretty bad shape. He rolled up his sleeves and began working, “taking off one bolt at a time.” When the project was finished, Jones had a classic car, one he enjoys taking out for short rides whenever he has the time.
Because of his efforts, the Thunderbird is now worth from $15,000 to $18,000. “If you look in a newspaper and see a 1955 Thunderbird for sale at $10,000, that might sound cheap, but it’s going to be more costly for you later,” said Jones.
“The thing of it is, that car probably has a lot of the original parts and equipment missing and to replace them is going to cost you a lot of money. Before the car is completely restored, you probably will have invested $20,000 in it.”
Which says that restoring cars isn’t an inexpensive hobby. “You’d better be prepared to spend some money,” Jones explained.
“With inflation, the cost of parts has gone up a great deal,” he added. “And for classic cars, the cost is even higher. So you must be ready to spend the money if you want to restore the car properly.”
“It’s like opening a restaurant. Your initial investment is fine and it probably isn’t all that much. But you’ve got to have some money to fall back on in case you have problems. If you don’t, you are out of business. That’s the way it is with restoring cars.”
Jones is presently working on a 1963 Corvette, the model with the split rear window. It has great value.
“They only made this Corvette that one year,” he said, “because the bar in the split rear window blocked your view and it was something of a safety hazard. It’s value is more than the Thunderbird’s because of that and because the increase in replacement parts for it is so high.”
“This Corvette can be sold for $25,000. I’ll bet that makes a lot of those people who had one and sold it for $3,000 years ago wish they had it back.”
Jones, who said he has auto parts “scattered all through my basement,” has rules to follow before he begins any restoration.
“First,” he said, “I never begin work on one unless I’m able to spend at least five hours on it. It’s not worth getting so dirty and sweaty for just one hour’s worth of work.”
“Second, I concentrate only on one car. If you start two cars and attempt to work on them together, you’re not going to do a good job. You won’t be able to put all your efforts into one car and make it your best work.”
“Also, it’s going to get very expensive because you’ll spend money trying to buy two different sets of replacement parts.”
Because he was willing to spend the money and put in the required work, Paul Jones has his sparkling 1955 Thunderbird. And he’s realized a childhood dream.
Thanks to Peggy Lathan for her transcription of this article.
FAN CLUB NEWS
This column is just for you sincere wrestling fans! It will be loaded with valuable information that you will find nowhere else.
It will be a place for you to receive and give information in regards to your favorite wrestler. You will find here which wrestlers do or do not have fan clubs. Who to contact about joining a particular fan club – or if there is not one established, how you can start your own.
Here’s one you might be interested in:
Ric Flair Fan Club
c/o Donna Crawford
P. O. Box ---
Pleasant Valley, VA
Dues: $5.00 per year
Send cash, check or money order and receive a letter signed by Ric, an 8 x 10 autographed color photo, and six wrestling bulletins a year.
Gateway Note: One day will do a feature just like this on those excellent issues of the Ric Flair Fan Club Newsletter.
(Note: This material is presented for historical purposes. Reprinted from 1981 newsletter. The club is no longer active. DO NOT send money to the P.O. Box above!)
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