J and R Vintage Auto Museum
Gab & Evonna Joiner, native New Mexicans, have called Rio Rancho home for the past 18 years, after living in the South Valley of Albuquerque for 20 years. They have two children, daughter, Melvonna & husband, Bobby Roy, son Bill & wife, Evonne, three grandchildren, Chris Joiner, Shane & Devonna Roy.
Gab bought his first antique car in 1959, a 1926 Model T Ford coupe, which he later traded for a '28 Chevrolet. He also bought a 1918 Model T Ford that had been made into a pickup from a touring car the same year in Raton. Gab's love for old cars has grown ever since. Evonna says "back in those days, all we could afford was basket cases" he would bring home to restore. He bought their first Model A Ford, a 1928 Special Coupe, in parts and pieces from a friend of his in Trinidad, Colorado in 1963. He restored it and they drove it on several tours and it now sits on display in the museum. Since 1985 he has collected all makes and models of cars and trucks, most of which are restored to original condition. The 1918 Model T is on display, along with about 70 other cars and trucks.
They began their Great Race career in 1987 when Evonna and a friend, Melba Anderson, decided if their husbands didn't want to do it, they would. The two women brought a 1931 Ford Cabriolet and were dubbed the "Golden Girls", this car is still on display in the museum. That year the race began in Disneyland, but due to a death in Evonna's family, they had to drop out in Albuquerque. So in 1988 they were back in, going from Disneyland to Boston, becoming the first all-female team to finish the race. Back then there were very few women even in the race. Their husbands, T.J. Anderson and Gab Joiner were their support crew. After going as support that year, Gab decided he would like to do it. So in 1989, Gab, son Bill, and son-in-law Bobby drove a 1931 REO truck from Norfolk, Virginia to Disneyland. Evonna, daughter Melvonna, and four month old grandson Shane went as support this time. By the end of the race, Gab & Evonna knew that they both wanted to be in competition and not on the supporting end. Gab and Evonna ran the race together from 1990 until 2007 and following the 2008 Great Race; Great Race went bankrupt ending 25 years of Great Racing. The Joiners drove a variety of cars over their 19 years of Great Racing including: a 1931 Model A Ford Roadster pickup, a 1932 Packard Cabriolet for three years, a 1932 Hupmobile for two years, a 1917 Marmon for four years, a 1934 Ford Roadster, a 1916 White for three years, a 1922 Marmon for two years, and a 1932 Ford the last year they ran. They won the 1995 race, which ran from Ottawa, Canada to Mexico City, Mexico, in the Buick Sportsman's Class and were given a new Buick Riviera. All of the race cars are on display including the 1917 Marmon which they won the race in.
The Joiners decided to build a building in 1995 to display their cars after selling their home where there was room to store all the cars in the basement. It started out as just a building to display the cars and since has grown into a museum with approximately 70 vehicles on display, along with some other auto-related memorabilia. There are some cars for sale or trade. There is also a book store with mostly motor-related books, die-cast toys, and some porcelain signs. The cars range from a 1912 Buick to a 1969 Mercury Cougar, which was daughter Melvonna's first car she bought when she was a sophomore in high school. Gab also has a large restoration shop where you can often times find him tinkering with his cars.
J and R Vintage Auto Museum is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media