On a warm June day two years ago, something gave Nancy Axmacher of Wyoming the shivers.
Daniel, Bruce and Nancy Axmacher are photographed with their 1957 Thunderbird convertible at their Wyoming home. The car had once belonged to Nancy's late father, Ted Perin.
The Enquirer/GARY LANDERS
First car: "A 1973 Chevy Vega GT. It was my graduation present from college."
Dream car: "I'd say this is it."
Tell us what you are driving
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It was the sight of a colonial white 1957 Ford Thunderbird just outside of the Concours d'Elegance classic-car show at Ault Park. The car with the black and white interior looked exactly like the one that Axmacher's father had purchased about 30 years earlier, so much so that Axmacher asked the owner where he got it.
He told her that he bought it from some residents of Hillsboro, who in turn had purchased it from a professor in Oxford. Axmacher's late father, Ted Perin, had been a professor of psychology at Miami University, as well as a car buff.
"I just started shaking and said, 'I think that was my dad,' " says Axmacher, a 53-year-old retired PNC Bank executive.
The car happened to be for sale, but Axmacher went home to discuss things with her family first. After about half an hour, she called the owner and gave him his asking price.
They had the car, but part of Axmacher was doubtful that it actually had belonged to her father because she couldn't find any paperwork on it.
So she wrote a letter to the people in Hillsboro who had previously been listed on the title and told them that she thought she had purchased her father's car. A couple of days later she got a phone call, and the man on the other end of the line said, "Nancy, you have your father's car."
Today, the car is much the same as it was when Axmacher's father owned it, with the exception of a modified engine that runs on unleaded fuel, an AM-FM radio and side turn signals on the bumper for safety.
Axmacher's husband, Bruce, drives it every week or so to maintain it. Occasionally, they take it to the drive-up Dairy Queen in Woodlawn and have a nostalgia night.
Her 14-year-old son, Daniel, says he wants to take it to his prom.
"My father would think that it was absolutely meant to be," Axmacher says, "or that we were absolutely out of our minds."