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Old 01-08-2017, 01:51 PM   #38


Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Newberg, Oregon
Posts: 7
Member #31265
Post CPP Contest: It's A Wonderful Story

One Christmas morning many years ago, we were opening our gifts when a friend knocked on the door and excitedly said she had a special present for my wife, but she would have to leave with her momentarily, which she did. I soon heard the inviting rumble of a V8 idling in our driveway and when I looked out the window, I saw a black, 1957 Chevy Belair with a white bow ribbon on the windshield and my wife behind the wheel. She was delivering the best Christmas present I had ever received. It was a 4-door hardtop with a 283, automatic, glass packs, and rally wheels. I was nearly speechless. When she handed me the keys, she said, “If you don’t like the color, we can sell this one and get one that is a color you like.”

I washed dishes at a restaurant after school and bought my first car when I was 15. It was a ’55 Chevy and it cost me $75. About 30 years later, after marriage, a house, babies to teens, and several “family cars,” I wanted to own a tri-five again. But, whenever we looked at one for sale, I would find myself repeating the same three things: it costs too much, I can wait, and, I don’t really need it. My father-in-law spotted this ‘57 for sale and told my wife. She bought it and hid it at a friend’s house until she gave it to me that Christmas morning. It was fun to drive and it turned heads. I felt like I was in a parade where ever I went because so many people would smile and wave.

It wasn’t long though before I realized the car had some serious needs, mostly related to rust, and that I shouldn’t put much money into it unless I was going to commit to a full restoration. About a year later, we saw a very nice (nearly finished) red 57 Belair, 2 door hardtop at a local car show. The For Sale sign on it included, “327 – Muncie 4 Speed.” I was looking it over and asked the owner how long he’d been working on it, he said 13 years. I thought to myself, maybe in 13 years, my 57 will be this nice…… Wait a minute! I’m 50 years old! I’m not going to wait 13 years, I’m going to buy this red one and sell the black one. And that’s what we did.

Now, I’ve been driving a great looking and great sounding car for 13 years instead of rebuilding it. It’s always been on my list to put in electric windows when I eventually replace the side glass, and on the way to doing that I have rewired it bumper to bumper, replaced the missing door panels and arm rests, added power steering, tilt column, and a radio that plays MP3’s. I completely reconstructed the radiator and set up an electric fan, replaced some chrome and the fuel tank, swapped the Headman headers for a pair of Patriots that would actually clear speed bumps, and topped it off with a set of Dakota VHX gauges that glow red……. Wait a minute! If I list every improvement I made in the last 13 years, you’re gonna think that I did commit to a full restoration!

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