The Nate Pringle Story
|It was October of 1981. One of the founding members of the Mount Vernon Classic Car Club of New York, Nate Pringle, purchased a 1957 Chevy Belair two door sedan. He bought the vehicle from a body shop in Hampton, South Carolina. He needed help getting her back to his parent’s home in Beauford, South Carolina. So, he decided to ask Mr. Ervin Jackson, who owns the local salvage yard and tow truck, for help.
Now before we continue, let take a moment to get to know Mr. Jackson. Mr. Jackson was what we called an ornery old colored fella who’s strictly old school.
To better understand let’s re-visit their conversation on that October Saturday morning.
“Top of the morning Mr Jackson! How you doing today?”
“I’m fine, how can I help you?!”
“Mr Jackson, you think you got time this morning to tow a car I bought from the body shop in Hampton?”
“What car you talkin about? They ain’t got nothin but mess over there!”
“ I bought that old 57 they had sitting in the yard!”
“What you go and do that for?”
“I’m going to tow it back to New York and restore it!”
“Ha Ha Ha! You gonna do what? You ain’t gonna do nothin but leave that mess in your daddy’s yard just like your other brothers!”
“Oh no Sir Mr Jackson. I’m going to put her back together and help start an automobile club up in Mount Vernon, New York.”
“Ha Ha Ha! What?! You actually think you gonna get that damn mess up to New York and then get other fools to join you!? You must be crazy! I heard some stories in my day but that’s a good one!! Tell me somethin, you ain’t smokin that mess are ya?!”
“Oh no Sir Mr Jackson”
“You must be smokin somethin, talkin about towin that mess all the way up to New York!”
Old man Jackson ripped into poor Nate Pringle something awful that October Saturday morning. But eventually, he reluctantly agreed to help the younger Pringle brother out.
Now folks you know towing an old automobile all the way up to New York was not going to be easy.
The following morning Nate and his brother Franklin started on their tow adventure from their parents house to Mount Vernon, NY. They began having trouble right from the start. They could not keep that automobile on the road behind their tow car. It was all over the place. When they turn left, she went right. When they turn right, she went left. Old girl was giving them Pringle brothers all kind of trouble. So, they finally pulled over to see what they could do.
Just their luck, when they got out of their tow car the local constable pulled up.
Franklin whispered, “Oh man here we go!” Nate gestured to his older brother to keep cool.
The silver hair old constable took a slow stroll up to the brothers sliding his hand alongside the 57. “How you fellas doing this morning?”
“Top of the morning to you Sir. We’re doing fine” Nate responded.
“Nah I don’t think you fellas are doing fine at all. I saw yall all over the road a few miles back.”
“Oh yes Sir we been having a little trouble keeping her straight.”
“Uh huh, where you fellas headed?”
“New York Sir.”
“Ha!! New York?!, Well I'll be damn!! You fellas think you going tow this thing all the way to New York?!"
“That’s the plan sir” Nate responded.
"Can I take a look under your hood?” the constable asked.
“Ahh yes sir go right ahead.”
The constable pop the hood open and took a peak and just shook his head. ”No wonder you fellas got problems! Yall ain't got no motor or nothin in here! Yall gonna have a mighty hard time keepin her straight unless you add some weight up front. What yall need to do is go to the field over there and fill up some crocker sacks with sand and wet them down with water. Then tie them down on your front end.”
You can tell that Nate and his brother Franklin were thinking to themselves "What in the hell is a crocker sack and where are we gonna find some out here this Sunday morning?!".
The constable saw the look in their eyes and decided to help the brothers out “Well you fellas are in luck. I just happen to have some in my car”
With that, the silver hair constable walked around to the trunk of his patrol car and took several sacks out. He handed them to the brothers.
Nate and Franklin happily accepted the sacks and did what the constable said.
After they tied the sacks down on the front suspension they were able to tow the 57 with greater ease.
The brothers thank the constable and headed on their merry way to Mount Vernon, New York.
Everything seemed to be going fine for the Pringles until they reached a gas station in Delaware.
That’s when Nate notice some wheel lugs missing from one of the wheels. “Franklin, how many lugs were on this rim before we left Beauford?”
“As far as I know, all of them” Franklin replied.
“Well look like two of them sheared clean off from the rust”
The brothers realize their situation was not good but decided to keep on pushing. Once they got to the New Jersey Turnpike, they pulled into the next rest stop to take another look.
“Man another one of them came off. Now we're down to just two” called out Nate.
“If one more come off we may have to cut our loses and leave her out here on the the road.” Franklin replied.
Folks, now you know Nate Pringle was not trying to hear that. He was determine to get that 57 to New York.
The brothers began holding their collective breath praying to god they make it to Mount Vernon. The 57 started to bob and weave which made it harder to control.
“Nate I think you better pull over! We better stop before that wheel come off!” Franklin warned.
Nate started to respond to his brother’s warning but then “CRACK CRACK CRACK BANG!!!!”
Ok folks sorry for leaving you hanging but let’s fast forward back to the year 1983. Nate Pringle is just back from Mount Vernon, NY pulling his 1957 Chevy Belair slowly into Mr Jackson’s salvage yard in Beauford, SC. “Veroom Veroom" the motor rumbled as he entered the yard.
Old man Jackson was in the garage working underneath a car with his AM radio playing. You can see his feet sticking out from under the car. Nate hit the horn a few times knowing that would annoy the old man.
BEEP BEEP BEEP!
“Who the HELL is blowing that GOT DAMN HORN!" old man Jackson yelled.
Nate pretended he did not hear the old man and blew the horn again.
BEEP BEEP BEEP!!
Mr Jackson came flying from underneath the car like bat out of hell.
“Who the HELL is blowing that GOT DANN HORN!!” The old man yelled again as he gathered his self off the concrete floor.
“Top of the morning to you sir” Nate calmly responded as he proudly stood in front of his newly restored 57 Chevy. “How are you doing?” Mr Jackson looked, nodded but did not say much.
“Remember this Automobile?!” Nate asked as he placed his hand on her hood.
“Naw!…Should I?!”old man Jackson replied.
“This is that same automobile you said I was gonna leave in my daddy’s yard.”
“All right…so what you want from me boy a biscuit?!!”
“Well Mr Jackson I just want to let you know I drove her all the way down from Mount Vernon New York just to let you change the oil. Cause everybody know you do the best oil changes on this side of Beauford, South Carolina!”
“Ah huh!!” Mr Jackson replied as he picked up a dingy towel to wipe his hands.
“Let me get this right?! You came all the way down here from New York just to let me change your oil?!
“That’s right Mr Jackson I sure did” Nate proudly replied.
“Hmmm tell me one thing!”
“What’s that Mr Jackson?” Nate asked.
“You ain’t been smoking that MESS have YA?!”
Nate chuckled, patted Mr Jackson on the back and answered him the only way he knew how.
“No Sir Mr Jackson, No Sir! I ain’t been smokin no mess!