A writer always has her eyes/ears open for stories. When I began writing profiles of classic car owners, Ed Higgins’ great looking car jumped to mind. Parked outside of the public library that I frequent, it was one of my first stories for the publication. Ed is a friendly guy and loves to talk about his car and The Andy Griffith Show. He makes interviewing fun. Enjoy.
Ed Higgins of Bluffton, Indiana, has been a lifelong fan of The Andy Griffith Show. Besides owning copies of nearly all of the show’s 249 episodes filmed between 1960 and 1968, Higgins has been a faithful attendee of the Mayberry Days Festival in Mount Airy, North Carolina. Since 1991, he has only missed one festival.
While on one such trip in 1998, Higgins spotted a 1963 Ford Galaxy replica of the squad car driven by Sheriff Andy and Deputy Barney Fife, played by actor Don Knotts, in The Andy Griffith Show.
Higgins liked the car complete with siren bubble and “sheriff” decals, a 390 engine, black and white paint job, and big tires reminiscent of the era. He bought it and with the help of family members, drove it back home.
The car had been restored prior to purchase to its potentially original condition. As such, the car has no power steering, power breaks, power windows, or air conditioning. When the red leather upholstery gets hot in the summer, Higgins lays a towel on the seats.
Higgins, 72, doesn’t drive the car much because of the engine. “It’s made for the road, not parades,” he says. “It gets too hot when idling.”
Higgins admits he plays the Mayberry theme song through two speakers in the front of the grill. “The whistling people hear at the end of The Andy Griffith Show plays through the front of the car,” he says. “That gets a lot of attention.”
During the year, the Galaxy sits in Higgins’ driveway next to a sign post he had designed with the names of Mayberry characters on it. He has additional Mayberry character posters and memorabilia inside his home.
Higgins is unabashed in his love for The Andy Griffith Show. “I like it because it came out when my own kids were young,” he says. “I like to think I raised my kids the way Andy raised Opie.”