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Love of classic cars keeps Montana family close

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Posted at 4:11 PM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 18:31:58-04

HELENA — The cars we drive say a lot about us and for the Osborne family, it means reviving a piece of history and it all started with Frank Osborne.

"I started doing it on my own in the garage with the kids' help then my grandkids all helped it's a heritage is something you know keeps going and going we're not the owners, we are the caretakers and so you know somebody has to take care of it,” said Frank.

The Osborne's have restored dozens of vehicles. Frank says restoring a car can take years to complete depending on its unique challenges.

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“Maybe five years or couple of off and on not steady but most of the time I would have like two over time in the garage, you get confused and fed up with one problem go to the other one and think about this one while you're working on something else,” said Frank

For Frank’s son, John the passion for the classics kicked his love into full gear, as well as a classic late 70’s TV show.

“Dukes of Hazard, the Roadrunners the Chargers, and when I was a kid going through high school, I had a bunch of the Roadrunners and the Chargers and I've always been fond of them,” said Frank.

Now Frank’s grandkids have joined in by painting the cars.

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“The orange car is my favorite because it has stripes and it spray painted like the stars. It reminds me of the stars and the big scooper, the Big Dipper, "said Christian

Eight-year-old Christian and 11-year-old Zoey enjoy learning the craft of restoring vehicles from the beginning to the end.

“I like to help out to learn how to rebuild your cars when it gets broke down or like designing when, like, you want to dress up,” said Zoey.

Tanner Osborne, President of the Helena Street Rodders, says the ability to build the car himself, with help from his family means a lot more to him than having a shop do it.

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“It's something else to be able to go to a shop and say they can you do this and it's a whole another something to go to your dad and say 'hey I've got this issue with my classic car can you help me figure it out' and doing yourself,” said Tanner.

Tanner says building the cars from the ground up is what keeps him going.

"We turned cars into our own type of tapestry we start out with a blank sheet you go step by step and you figure out how you want to go about it and then you apply it,” said Tanner.

The Helena Street Rodders will be holding an event supporting local businesses on Sept. 7 at Highway 55.

Currently, the Osbornes have six fully restored cars, a 1956 Hudson Wasp, 1952 Ford Crestline Victoria, a 1946 Plymouth Coupe, 1953 Ford Mainline, a 1972 Dodge Charger and a 1965 Pontiac Bonneville.

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