In 1997, Shade Neace was asked to “come on down” and play the Price is Right with Bob Barker. Neace, a resident of Fifteen Mile Branch, won a gas grill and a bedroom set before making it to the Showcase Showdown. All of the prizes in the showdown were trips, and he said he decided just to let the other guy have it because he didn’t want to go anywhere. He later found out that his initial guess would have won him both showcases.
Fast forward 15 years, and Neace’s luck has not quite run its course. Just this month he won a 1947 Frazer Manhattan valued at around $40,000. This fully restored luxury sedan was won in a raffle hosted by the Oleika Temple Shriners of Lexington. Neace said he did pretty well on his $20 raffle ticket.
Buryl Thompson, a banker from Lexington, donated the car to the Shriners with the stipulation that they sell enough raffle tickets to raise $40,000. That money was then used to help out the several Shriners hospitals and burn centers.
“The man just drove in to the Temple one day and said ‘Do you take donations?’ and they said, ‘Well yeah we take donations,’” Neace explained. “They went outside and this was sitting there.”
Neace said that his wife had read a magazine sent out by the Shriners and found out about the raffle. He went to a Shriners event at Buckhorn Lodge and bought a chance on the car. While the raffle was open to anyone, Neace is himself a Shriner, a fact which he doesn’t mind sharing.
“Well, I am just proud to be in the Shriners,” he said. “They help kids and people in need.”
It seems that this new car is almost as lucky as its new owner. The Shriners took the car to a show to sell raffle tickets, and the organizers convinced them to enter the car in the show.
“It won and took first place,” Neace noted. When he got the car, it was already a winner.
Frazer Manhattans were only manufactured from 1947-1948 by the Kaiser- Frazer Company. They began making cars quickly to fill the need for transportation for men coming back from war. The company started making cars called Kaisers after the first two years, but only made cars until 1955.
The car sold for around $2,600 new in 1947, which would be about that same as a $30,000 car today, and making it on the higher end of the luxury scale for the time. The car had a three-speed transmission and overdrive, and an early form of air conditioning.
The car was found in a creek bed and restored by Thompson before it was donated to the Shriners. Neace was only five years old when the car was originally sold, and said he is excited to start driving it around since he had not gotten to yet.
“I just got the title fixed yesterday,” he noted on Wednesday. “I wouldn’t drive it because I was afraid I would get the Shriners in trouble.”
Now that the car is legally in his name, Neace said he is excited to get it out and start driving it, and expects that it will make an appearance during the Black Gold Festival parade in September.
Neace said that even without driving the car it has gotten plenty of attention as neighbors have been stopping by asking him about it when they see it in his carport.
He is glad that the money from the raffle went to a good cause in which he is so heavily involved. He has been helping out raising money for the Shriners hospitals for years, and noted that they now need money more than ever.
“Right now times are tough and you see us out there road-blocking, we are keeping those hospitals going,” said Neace.
The Shriners will be hosting a road block locally at Walmart this Friday to raise money to benefit the Shriners hospitals.
“When people see us out beside the road, if it is a penny give it to us,” said Neace. “If they want to, but it is all freely given we don’t want nobody to give money to us that don’t have it.”