Swope’s Vintage Cars

1941 Ford Super Deluxe

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If you only know Bill Swope from his collection of cars in the Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Museum, you probably realize that you don’t know the whole story. To really understand the history behind the museum and the business, you have to turn the clock back a little bit; 67 years to be exact.

It was May 8, 1945 and Bill was a young soldier fighting with the United States Army in Germany, when a strange thing happened. Everyone was cheering. The Germans were cheering, the Americans were cheering. For the Germans, as well as the rest of Europe, World War II was over. This day would soon be known as Victory in Europe day.

After V-E day, Bill and the other young American soldiers came back to the United States. The young soldiers were given 30 days leave before they were to be sent to train for the war in Japan. Many things happened when these soldiers returned for their 30 days leave. During his leave time, college sweethearts Bill Swope and Elizabeth Sanford (who we now know and love as Betty Swope) were married.

While Bill was preparing to train for the war in Japan, President Truman dropped the atomic bomb over Hiroshima ending the war in the Pacific. There would be no more fighting for Mr. Swope. Instead, he was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia where he was deactivated; returning then to Miami University of Ohio to finish his schooling.

In June of 1946, Bill went to work for a building of materials company out of Cincinnati, Ohio where he and Betty had their first of four children. Bill found that he was much more interested in his company car than the materials he was selling. He knew then that his calling was to be in the car business.

So the family moved to Winchester, Kentucky where he opened his very first dealership; a Dodge/Plymouth store on Main Street. It wasn’t long after he opened that he got a call from a friend, Pat Humphrey, who was a Chrysler dealer in Danville, Kentucky. Pat told Bill, “I’ve got just what you need, a 1918 Dodge Touring Car for just $250.” He told Bill that if he were to park it in front of his dealership it would draw in customers. Bill decided to pass on the offer. Pat then called Bill back and said, “I’m going to sell you that car for $200 and bring it to you on a flat bed truck.” What Bill didn’t know is that this 1918 Dodge would become the first car in his vintage and classic car collection.

Bill eventually moved his business to Elizabethtown, Kentucky where the Swope Family of Dealerships and Swope Motor Company still thrives today.

By 1999, Bill had acquired numerous vehicles for his collection and decided he needed a place to bring them all together. Central Kentucky had done so much for him that he wanted to give something back, so he opened Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Museum and made it free to the public as a gift.

Occasionally, Bill is asked if he ever sells any of his collection. His usual answer is; “very rarely”, but now he has decided to pick a select few gems from his collection and offer them for sale to discriminating buyers.

So welcome to Swope’s Cars of Yesteryear Working Garage and Vintage/Classic Car Sales. Bill Swope’s newest project.

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