For a good time, go out and talk with Cloyas Webb
about his auto restoration hobby. He lives on Highway
124 in McKenzie, across the street from his business
enterprise, Webb Storage. He also owns and manages a
quadriplex rental establishment and is helping his
son, Blake, build his new house. Not new to carpentry,
he also built his own impressive abode some years ago.
Although he retired from BellSouth in 1999, he doesn't
have time to hunt or fish. He spends all his spare
time with his second love, restoring old cars and
He married his first love, he is fond of relating,
"because she had an indoor toilet and running water"
when both were growing up in the Gleason area.
Married to Cloyas since she was 18 years old, Sue
doesn't mind her husband's teasing. After all, he
delivers the joke with the same youthful gleam in his
eyes that characterizes his enjoyable personality, and
besides, tales of their youth from his depression era
birth on March 24, 1939, drive home all the more the
fact of their joint success.
"I lost my independence the day after Independence
Day," Cloyas says with a grin. He was 19 when the two
were wed on July 5, 1958.
Sue Lemonds was a cheerleader, a year behind Cloyas at
Gleason School where he played basketball and
During that time Cloyas bought his first car, a 1930
Model A Ford coupe that he purchased with $30 earned
working at a Chicago amusement park one summer.
The car was later burned by mischief makers on
Halloween who negligently kicked from their own
vehicle a letter that left clues to their identities.
As a result, Cloyas was paid $125 for the burned out
"From that time on I got any car I could get," says
Cloyas regarding his passion for tinkering with
vintage cars. "I always had an interest but didn't
have any old cars to work on; it's just second nature
- anything old and mechanical I like."
The oldest of four children in his family, his father,
Woodrow, was a truck driver. The kids grew up part of
the time in the Mt. Zion community in a two-room
dogtrot house. The rest of the time the children and
their mother, Clara Webb, would join Woodrow in
Chicago, a back and forth lifestyle Cloyas detested.
"As quick as I could, I got out," he says. "We married
before we were old enough to make any decisions and
that's when I was able to get away and stay away."
Despite his tongue-in-cheek disclaimers that Sue
endures with rolling eyes and her own knowing grin,
the two have built an enjoyable lifestyle and a legacy
of love with three sons and six grandchildren.
After moving to Chicago for several months early in
their marriage, they returned when Gaines
Manufacturing Company opened in McKenzie in 1958 and
Cloyas was employed as an upholsterer.
They were married for five years before Tracy was
born. Steve followed three years later and Blake ten
years after that. Cloyas stayed with Gaines for six
years and was also a member of the local National
Guard for six years. In 1964, he gained employment
with BellSouth as a telephone service technician.
"I dug holes, climbed poles, repaired lines, whatever
it took," he says, recalling a time-line of duty from
when everyone out of the city limits had eight-party
lines to today's cell phones.
During those years his sideline was building cars,
sometimes from what others might see as an
unredeemable pile of rusted out junk. Now that he's
retired, Cloyas says, "It's a full day every day; I
don't have time to got to the coffee shop. I've got
too many irons in the fire; things I got to do, things
I need to do, things I want to do; I have to
He still finds time for working on cars but
acknowledges it's not everybody's cup of tea: "You've
got to want to do it," he says, "It's just too much
work and you can't imagine how dirty it gets. You've
just got to have that desire. And it's not something
you start today and finish tomorrow; you start today
and finish next year."
And that's after he's ready to start. Cloyas and Sue
attend swap meets where he starts accumulating parts
two or three years before he's ready to begin a
"It's like chasing a woman," he explains, eyes
glittering with mischief. "It's a challenge; it's not
when you find her, it's when you're chasing her... but
like a dog chases a car, what's he going to do with it
when he catches it? I enjoy finding the parts as much
as any of the rest of it."
Doing his own work on the autos from sanding and Bondo
to upholstery, Cloyas says, allows him to "have his
cake and eat it, too."
"It's an investment, better than money in the bank
right now," he says, and he should know. His latest
masterpiece - a recreation of Chevrolet's 1954 concept
car, the Waldorf Nomad - brought $71,000 at auction at
the Autorama in Indianapolis this year, an event in
which he was invited to participate.
"I didn't build it to sell but it was a golden
opportunity to find out what it could bring," says
Cloyas, who turned down the bid.
"That's when I should have kicked him out," declares
Cloyas muses, "It could be bought but that won't buy
it. I didn't have to sell it and I didn't want to sell
He crafted the shiny silver model using parts from a
1956 Nomad and a '55 Corvette using pictures of the
prototype as his pattern. The finished product brought
rave reviews at the auto show including comments from
two GM retirees - an engineer and a dealer - who
recalled the unveiling of the car in 1954.
"They said I hit it right on as far as they could
remember," says Cloyas.
The car features leather upholstery and expert pin
striping by Visual Images by George, a business in
Lebanon. The silver finish was applied by John Snider
Sue poses with Cloyas
beside the 1954 Waldorf Nomad concept car he recreated
using parts from a 1956 Nomad and a 1955 Corvette and
photographs of the Chevrolet prototype.
"Everything about this car cost me more but it's worth
more," says Cloyas, who usually does his own
upholstery. In fact, the Nomad is the only car he has
ever hauled to a show, normally preferring the
pleasure of driving his restored vehicles.
"My philosophy is, if I couldn't drive it I'd just as
soon have a picture," he says.
The Nomad was featured in nine pages of the October
2004 edition of Super Rod Magazine in an article
titled "Reincarnation". Two giant plaques with photos
and text hang in the Webb's den in commemoration of
the feature article.
It wasn't the first time Cloyas' handiwork rated an
endorsement from a national magazine. A travel trailer
he converted to a mobile home was featured in Trailer
Life magazine in 1983. Twenty years ago Rod Action
magazine featured his 1934 Dodge street rod. Southern
Rodder magazine in January 2001 touted his 1940 black
Mercury convertible and in 2002 Rod and Custom
magazine showed his '40 red Mercury coupe.
Though some of his finished works have come and gone,
Cloyas' current collection consists of the Waldorf
Nomad, 1940 Mercury convertible, 1940 Mercury coupe,
1954 Chevrolet, and a 1942 Dodge cab-over car hauler.
"I have five projects to go if I live that long," says
Number one in the lineup is a 1958 Cushman Eagle
motorcycle with an "overgrown" bicycle seat. The
Cushman company built motorcycles and scooters through
the mid-'60s. Cloyas had to build a whole new frame
for the motorcycle, which, when finished, he plans to
display on his car carrier along with number two in
his lineup of projects: a King Midget Racer originally
sold as a kit in Popular Mechanics magazine.
Other projects include a 1954 Chevy two-door, 1930
Model A Ford Victoria, and a 1919 Dodge Touring Car.
"I'm going to build a rat-rod out of it," says Cloyas,
adding, "I hope I don't think I need anything else."
Besides, he says, "There's more to life than cars."
In addition to four-day weekend trips to auto shows,
Cloyas and Sue enjoy traveling. Within the last few
years they've cruised to Alaska and visited Hawaii.
They just returned from a trip to Las Vegas, a locale
they have visited numerous times. They made the trip
with James Thomas (Bird dog) and Suzanne Reed, a mix
of personalities that may still be the talk of the
"There's not a dull moment; we have a lot of fun
together," says Cloyas of the Reeds, their frequent
Cloyas likely has some enjoyable tales of the journey.
Besides, it's worth a trip to his place to have a
first hand look at the yellow-eyed goat in the roof of
his car carrier, the handful of lightning bolts and
Mercury head sculpted in the door panels of his '40
Mercury, and the American ash, wooden dashboard in the
They're just part of the details that make Cloyas
Webb's handiwork worthy of the attention he has
"The fact that I made some national magazines means
something to me;" he says, summing up his
accomplishments, "the fact that you can build
something in your back yard and it gains national