Classic car has ties to Monett

Thursday, January 29, 2009

When Dave Beckett picked up last week's Cassville Democrat and saw a 1972 Gran Torino on the front page, the Monett resident instantly knew he was looking at the car he purchased new off the showroom floor at the age of 20.

Beckett said he owned the car, which now graces the big screen in Clint Eastwood's latest movie Gran Torino, for two years before he sold it to Stark Oldsmobile in Monett for a new 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass. The car eventually ended up in the hands of Cassville businessman Jim Craig, who restored the vehicle to its current glory and sold it to a Utah classic car dealer, who in turn sold it.

"I went to the movie to look at the car more than anything else," said Beckett. "As far as I could tell, it looked exactly the way it did when I drove it off the showroom floor (at Friendly Ford) in Springfield."

Beckett said he enjoyed the movie, but in his opinion, the Gran Torino should have gotten more screen time.

"It was amazing that the car looked that good," said Beckett. "I can remember washing it in the driveway the way they did in the movie."

Beckett, age 56, is a Monett postal carrier and serves as president of the Monett School Board. He is married and has two daughters.

"I wish one of my daughters was driving that car now," said Beckett.

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