"But I have two more in the garage I'm working on," he adds.
Those garage cars have their own stories. One is a 1949 Chevy Coupe; the other is a 1928 Model A Ford that is "in a thousand pieces," which Cooper bought about a month ago. The Model A has one particularly rare feature - a cloth top.
"I have never seen a car in so many pieces," Cooper says of the Model A. "Over the years, I've built seven or eight '32 Fords - they're similar to Model As. ... I know quite a few Fords. I fool with them quite a bit."
The '49 is much closer to completion, and it'll be next year's ride to the cruise-in, Cooper says with a grin. He bought an '85 Chevy Caprice Classic, and put the '49 body on the '85 frame.
"It has a brand new motor, a 350 (cubic inch) engine, air conditioning, power steering, power brakes, power windows - all the goodies. I've changed the gauges.
"That car is about 60 percent done. ... It's all modern running gear."
Renovation doesn't come cheap
And all the renovation doesn't come cheap. A large chunk of change went out for the aluminum radiator and the grill as well as both bumpers. He sent off to Tennessee for the tires. An even larger chunk of change is going to go toward the "Flash Red" and black vinyl upholstery, which will be done at the end of the renovation process.
The '49 also features a V-8 engine, and ultimately will be Chrysler Viper Red. It should be done by the end of the year, after a couple of years work on it. "It usually takes two years to restore," he says. "It'll be an eye-catching car when it's done."
Cooper says a lot of work goes into the renovation of the cars, but it's his hobby and it's what he likes to do. He's been working on old cars since 1970.
"There's no telling how many I've had," says Cooper, a professional truck driver who is retired from the Teamsters Union.
"Always, since I was a young boy in high school, I've loved old cars. I have bought '32 Fords for $25 - and they were driving cars. I'd get in and drive away. I've just always loved old cars."
Old looks and modern drive trains
Starting in 1970, his likes evolved to old looks and modern drive trains. He likes V-8 engines, air conditioning, and power steering and brakes.
"I want the outside appearance original," Cooper explained. "I want the inside modern. That's a street rod."
Cooper said he is a charter member of the National Street Rod Association, and at one time was the state representative for the group.
"I just love 'em," Cooper said of the classic cars. "You can get in a street rod and go anywhere. I've been to Michigan, Florida and Texas.
"One time, I was going up Jellico Mountain (Tenn., in a street rod) - and these old cars will go 60, 70, 80 (miles per hour) - and I passed a Cadillac. I stopped at a gas station and the Cadillac owner asked me if the original motor was in the car. People can't get over how fast these things run."
He's also had a 1941 Chevrolet that belonged to Mr. Sellers of Sellers Engineering, before he died. He had it four years before he sold it in April. Cooper likes to stick to the NSRA's theme: "Have fun with cars."
He likes building them
But he likes to build them more than own them. He'll build an old car, keep it four to six years, then sell it, which funds the purchase of another old car.
If he had his choice of car, he says as he points to a picture of a 1932 Ford Roadster, it would be this one. He'd have it again in a heartbeat, he says.
"The Roadster is an open car, like a motorcycle - you're in the elements," Cooper said. "If I had the money, and I was thinking this was the last car I'd ever have, I would want a '32 Ford Roadster. But they're outrageously high now."
In addition to the multitude of classic cars, trucks and motorcycles, a deejay will play music from the 1950s, '60s and '70s. Food booths will be open, door prizes will be given, and many downtown businesses are extending their business hours for the event. The first 100 cars or motorcycles participating will receive a free dash plate. Rain cancels the event.
The Classic Wheels Cruise-In kicks off Harrodsburg's 2005 Downtown Summer Entertainment Series.