Heather Schnare was reunited with the 1967 AMC Rambler American Rouge Convertible that she won that same year after a local car enthusiast tracked her down more than 40 years after she sold it.
In 1966, Schnare entered into a Kelloggs Cereal sweepstakes contest that was promoted on the back of Kelloggs cereal boxes.
“I can remember sitting on a winter morning with my two kids having breakfast,” she said. “And staring at this Kelloggs cornflakes box with this red car on it. And I thought, ‘oh what the heck, I’ll fill out the form.’”
She was informed via telegram months later that she had won.
“By this time I kind of forgotten all about it,” she said. “But we made arrangements with the Kelloggs people and in 1967 it arrived.”
This particular Rambler was quite rare. With its engine and specific trim package making it one of only 921 manufactured like it.
“I enjoyed it for about 12 years,” she said. “There’s nothing more fun than driving a convertible. It’s a very classic look.”
Schnare decided to sell the car before her son got his license, for fear that it was not safe for a new driver, especially a teenage boy.
“I thought we’d be would be wise to sell it,” she said. “It was just far too powerful of a car and I didn’t think it was wise for a young man to be driving that, there could be an accident.”
“I don’t think he’s ever forgiven me for that,” she said laughing.
The Rambler went through several owners before coming into the possession of Gord Gieni, a Regina car enthusiast.
“It’s been well taken care of with the people from before,” he said. “I’m the fifth owner. I bought it, last month was 20 years ago.”
The documentation that came with the car showed it was originally won by Heather Schnare in 1967 in the Kelloggs Sweepstakes.
“I saw the whole story on it,” Gieni said.” And I was really quite excited about it.”
Gieni made it his mission to find Schnare and reunite her with the long lost Rambler.
“It took me a long time to find her,” he said. “It’s probably 10 or 15 years I’ve been trying to get a hold of her.”
His search was complicated by Schnare not having the same last name as she did in 1967 and the fact that she had lived in Saskatoon for a number of years.
Ultimately, it was luck that ended his search. A relative of Schnare’s saw the Rambler at the Access Communications Show and Shine on Labour Day and told Gieni where Schnare was living in Regina.
Gieni coordinated with some of Schnare’s friends to surprise her with the car. The effort worked, and the reunion was quite emotional.
“So, she comes out the door and sees the car, and that’s pretty much it,” he said while laughing.
“It was very exciting,” said Schnare. “And I was so happy that Gord was able to track me down.”
Heather Schnare (left) and Gord Gieni (right) get ready to drive in the Rambler. (David Prisciak/CTV News)
Schnare appreciated that the car was owned by someone like Gieni. Someone who would take care of it and enjoy it just as she did all those years ago. The whole situation was rather nostalgic, she explained.
“It’s just been nice to visit old days and think back,” she said. “I was only 28 years old when I won that car. And I look back at my young self and there are a lot of memories between then and now.”