SELMA, Ala. (AP) — Winfred Brown was celebrating his 89th birthday in February. At the same time, Charlie and Hellen Attaway of Oxford, Georgia, were looking to buy a car.
When the Attaways bought a 1951 Studebaker Starlight Coupe, they had no idea that purchase would take them to Selma a few months later.
"When we were restoring the car, we took it totally apart, and we found two little small pieces of paper in the car under the back seat," Charlie said.
On those pieces of paper was a name: Winfred Brown. Internet searches led the Attaways to a man with that same name in Selma, 240 miles southwest of their hometown in Georgia.
"I got on the Internet and started trying to track Winfred Brown in Selma, Alabama, not knowing if (he) still lived here," Charlie Attaway said. "I got in touch with him, and he said yes he did own a Studebaker way back years and years and years ago."
Attaway took several pictures of the car and sent them to Brown to see if the car was the same one he owned decades ago.
Brown immediately recognized the classic car and a friendship quickly formed between the two men.
"After talking with Mr. Brown, and he was such a great guy to talk to on the phone, and telling him all about it, I just decided right then that we had to bring the car for him to see," Attaway said.
The Attaways drove from Georgia to Selma so Brown could once again lay eyes on the car, the sight of which brought back a flood of memories.
As Brown walked outside to see the car Wednesday, a smile appeared on his face as he was immediately taken back in time to 1953.
"It just makes me feel like I was back about 25 or 30 years old, and I like that," Brown said. "I got so many wonderful, beautiful memories of the Studebaker automobile that just makes me feel younger."
Brown told stories of his young adult life and the good times he had in the car. The grin on his face never left as he laughed and talked about the car.
"This was the prettiest one that they made. It's so unusual looking. And the inside of it is absolutely perfect," Brown said. "It was just beautiful, and I loved to drive it because it has that cowling out front like an airplane."
Brown, the owner of Brown's Drug Store at the time, came into ownership of the car in an unusual way.
"Somebody owed me a drug bill for $100, and they said would I take their '51 Studebaker Starlight Coupe for their drug bill to call it even, and I said, 'That will be fine,'" Brown said. "So that's how I wound up with that coupe. About two years later somebody wanted it, and I sold it to them."
According to Attaway, Driggers Motor Company originally sold the car in January 1951, but when he found the car for sale, it had been put up in storage for more than 30 years.
The Attaways are trying to find out who the original owner was so that they, too, can see the refinished Studebaker in pristine condition.