Offbeat: Antique Auto Builder

CHEROKEE VILLAGE, AR(KAIT)--Roger Hadaway has a way with cars, especially when it comes to making them.  Hadaway, a former Ford Motor executive, rebuilds antique autos from the ground up.

Hadaway and his wife retired to Cherokee Village in 1983, after he spent 25 years with Ford Motor Company traveling the world helping others mass produce motor cars.  But building cars is something Hadaway has been doing since he was a teenager and needed his first set of wheels.  A friend had a Model A Roadster, in parts, scattered under an old shade tree.  He bought those parts for $17.50 and rebuilt that car piece by piece.

These days, Hadaway takes his time, making sure everything is just right when he rebuilds a car.  Right now he's working on a 1929 Model A Roadster and is about three months from finishing up.  He starts with the bare chasis and builds it up one part at a time.  Some of the parts remanufactured, while others are original parts that have to be restored.

Hadaway says he's never in a hurry, in fact each rebuild takes about year to complete, working about 4 hours a day in the garage.  His wife is in the advanced stages of alzheimers and taking care of her takes up the majority of his time, but working on the cars is his sort of his therapy.  Hadaway says it helps him to escape from the world, it's total relaxation.

Hadaway usually sells the cars to friends around the country, only charges what he's got in them, usually enough for him to start his next project.  One of his cars is on display at the classic car museum in Hardy.  So far, Hadaway has rebuilt 9 autos since 83 and says he'll continue to do so for as long as the good Lord allows.