A labor of love to debut at Young Life Car Show | CraigDailyPress.com

A labor of love to debut at Young Life Car Show

Local veteran’s 1934 Plymouth to be among the vehicles on display

Tara Garber's 1934 Plymouth, 'Xena' will be on display for the first time at the Bear River Young Life Car Show this weekend.
Courtesy photo

Tara Garber has had vehicles on the mind for a long time.

Since she started drag racing at 18 and learned to fix her car when it didn’t run right, to her time in Iraq as a military mechanic and recovery specialist, Garber knows her way around an engine and then some.

Now, Garber’s dream car is almost ready to hit the road.

Xena, Garber’s restored 1934 Plymouth, is about ready to debut at the Bear River Young Life Car Show this weekend.

“The warrior princess,” Garber said of the name of her deep purple project. “Because I was a warrior when I bought her, and now she’s my princess.”

Garber has wanted this specific car for years. She first came across one at a car show in 1999 and immediately took to the vehicle.

“It’s what I’d consider to be sexy,” she said.

As luck would have it, a friend and fellow car junkie just happened to own a ’34 in a barn in North Carolina.

“I told him, ‘I’ll buy it from you,’ but no, not for sale,” Garber said. “I’d ask him every year, is it for sale? Always no.”

Then, at long last, the Plymouth got loose. But Garber was a world away.

“I got an email from him: ‘Car is for sale,’” Garber remembers. “His daughter wanted a ‘57 Chevy. I said ‘How much? I’ll write you a check right now.’”

One minor detail: Garber was in Iraq at the time.

“I did it all over the internet,” she said. “I’d never seen the car. I’d heard about it, but went ahead and bought it. No interior, no motor, no transmission, nothing. Just a rolling chassis with a steel body on it, but all original. I bought it.”

Garber got back stateside in spring of 2005 and a couple months later was driving down from her then-home in Ohio to North Carolina to pick up her baby.

Garber, who is now a social worker at a hospice in town, realizes that it’s not particularly common to see a woman with this particular hobby, but, she said, it’s just always fit her.

“I was a nurse, and vehicles are like bodies,” she said. “They have breathing apparatuses, they have fluids. If it’s not right, you fix it.”

In 2019, Garber’s son graduated from high school, and five days later, she and her husband packed their lives up and moved to Craig.

“He’s a disabled vet, and he’s been out here skiing,” Garber said. “He always said ‘We’ve gotta get there, gotta get there.’ So, we came.”

Xena came with.

“At that point it was painted, had a motor, transmission — brake lines weren’t connected though,” Garber said. “Engine had some repairs needed done, transmission needed rebuilt. Just what I’d consider ‘finishing.’ You couldn’t steer it either.”

In Craig, Garber took it to a local mechanic, Larry Kunkle at Elkhead Collision, to get the last little bit completed.

“It’s still under construction, but it’ll drive,” Garber said. “All that’s left is the interior.”

Now she’s ready to show Xena off for the first time.

“It’s always been a dream car,” Garber said. “To see a dream finally come true after 16 years — my husband and I, I have three daughters, he has three sons, and we’ve adopted our grandson, 9 years old, so between money at some point and time at some other, and hardly ever having both at the same time, getting it to where it’s almost done is just unbelievable.”

If you go: Bear River Young Life Car Show

The Bear River Young Life Car Show takes place Friday and Saturday.

Friday, pre-registration starts at 5 p.m. at Loudy-Simpson Park, where Whittle the Wood is taking place. A poker run/cruise will take place that evening.

Saturday, registration starts at 8 a.m., and the car show begins at 10 a.m. on Yampa Avenue downtown.

The top two car clubs, calcuated by number of entrants times miles traveled, will win cash prizes.

To enter a car for the show or to learn more, go to bryl.younglife.events/car-show.

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