CANTON, Ohio – A taste of South Florida has arrived for this weekend’s Pro Football Hall of Fame bash, compliments of Edgerrin James.
It’s a “doped up’’ 1975 Chevy Caprice convertible James had customized to commemorate his enshrinement as a member of the Class of 2020.
Like James, it’s one of a kind. The base is dark brown-ish with a mustard-like interior to match the gold jacket James will pull on during Saturday evening’s ceremony at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Gold figures dance across the sides of the Chevy and the Pro Football Hall of Fame shield is on both doors, the trunk and hood.
And, oh yes, there are the 28-inch gold Dayton Wire Wheels.
“It’s actually pretty dope,’’ James said.
While most enshrinees will be perched on the back of snazzy convertibles during Saturday morning’s parade, James will stylin’ in his unique Hall of Fame-mobile.
The idea of turning one of his cars into something to remember hit him shortly after he was selected as part of the Class of 2020. That class’s ceremony was postponed from last August to this weekend by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’ve always had old-school cars and when they talked about there’s going to be a parade and all that stuff, I’m like, ‘Let me do a car. Let me do one that’s gonna be pretty dope,’’’ he said.
“My thing is those cars are South Florida. That’s our culture. It’s just bringing the South Florida culture to the Hall.’’
He’s hoping to get as many Hall of Famers as possible to autograph the car and auction it for charity. He’s already received numerous offers.
James wouldn’t mind if whomever bought the car donated it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“It’s be pretty dope if the Hall was to say, ‘Hey, we want to keep it here,’’’ he said. “Me adding it to the Hall would be dope.’’
Auctioning the ’75 Chevy also would help defray the cost of the major customization.
James wouldn’t reveal the final tab.
“It’s up there,’’ he said. “That’s why the auctioning part has to be there.’’
James is committed to helping local businesses in the Miami/South Florida area, and turned to Nakia Lambright, the owner of Masters of Body, when he put the wheels in motion for the fixer-upper.
The finished product, Lambright insisted, doesn’t resemble what James brought to him.
“It was bad,’’ he said. “It was rusted out.’’
James provided the general Hall of Fame motif and turned things over to Lambright, who’s been in business since 2013.
“I told him, ‘Just let me work my magic,’’’ he said. “I just put it together.’’
The finished product arrived in town on a trailer from South Florida.
The ’75 Chevy has been part of James’ life for as long as he can remember. He owned it while at the University of Miami and occasionally had it with him when he was with the Colts.
“It was white and blue,’’ he said. “It has so much hidden value in it. I had it in Indianapolis. I used to go to parks and deal with everybody in the city and the neighborhoods and go hang out. I used to take that car.’’
Saturday’s parade figures to be more interesting than normal. Along with James’ entry, Jimmy Johnson informed Hall of Fame officials he’ll be riding in a personalized car. Alan Faneca is adding a Mardi Gras-type float.
Previously, Paul Krause (Class of 1998) drove his motorcycle.
Peyton Manning, who’ll be inducted Sunday as part of the Class of 2021, appreciates James’ creativity, but has no plans on riding in on a Peyton-mobile.
“I will not be in a gold convertible,’’ he said. “I’ll probably go with the standard car they usually have people in.
“Somebody asked me if I wanted to do the same thing and I said, ‘Nah, that’s a little over the top for me.’’’