Ron Fiebig is a convertible man. He got the bug early on when he first purchased a 1956 Oldsmobile 98 Starfire."The first one was a disaster, but it was a beautiful car," Fiebig said.
The first night he owned it Fiebig put in $12.58 worth of light bulbs, which at that time was expensive. It looked like a floating ship, Fiebig said. He owned it for only four to five months because he had to drive to school and the car needed a new engine so badly that it was taking a quart of oil every 8 miles.
In 1965 he bought a '62 Chevy convertible. It had a good engine and was good- looking. He was living in Minnesota at the time and the winters were so cold he invented a liner, similar to the headliners used now, for the car by using foam insulation."Now I think some of the better convertibles are doing something like that for winter," he said.
He held onto the car for three years and then purchased a '66 in 1966.
"That was the end of it until this car," Fiebig said, nodding to his current convertible.
Raising a family, renovating the couple's ranch house, being a teacher and then principal kept him busy over the years. But in 1990 he spied the used convertible and decided it was time to get another.
He is quick to point out that his car really isn't a classic, and in fact it's a Dodge K-car, but this series of stories features the rides people love, and so his '86 Dodge 600 is a worthy candidate.
Purchased in 1990, everything on his 30-year-old car is original, from the white paint job to the maroon leather interior, which Fiebig lovingly cleans with saddle soap to bring out the luster of the leather.
The engine has 202,000 miles on it. Fiebig joked that the windshield wipers have two speeds: slow and slower. He had to have them repaired a few years ago when they quit altogether. He had them repaired but could never get the intermittent setting to work. When he later had the transmission rebuilt his mechanic discovered a loose ground wire. When it was reattached suddenly the intermittent setting on his windshield wipers came back to life.
Finding original parts for the car has been a problem. Fiebig said he has looked at all the places where one would expect to find them, but most of them have been crushed. Because of this he and his wife limit themselves to a 50-mile radius of Fort Wayne when they take their car out. Just in case something breaks, it won't cost as much to tow the car back.
Despite the spare parts issue he and his wife enjoy the car. It has gotten them back into taking Sunday drives. They take the car out in the evenings and drive it out to dinner, sometimes even to the drive-in in Decatur.