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I have a fine example of how being patient will pay off. The year was 1977 and my best friend and I rode out into the sticks to look at a 55 we had heard about. Sale price of $225 was shown in the local newspaper. My buddies dad drove us to this man's house to see what condition the car was in. As we turned into the man's driveaway, the most beautiful yellow 210 I'd seen was sitting outside his garage. Of course this wasn't the car for sale but for a split second we thought we were in heaven. As I recall, Rusty liked the 55 all original. He had purchased a 210 that had a 265 in it but had discovered the car actually was originally a 6 cyclinder so he wanted to find another car to do his ground-up. Rusty paid $400 for this 210 with a running 265 and Powerglide. My buddy struck up a deal and this guy agreed to deliver it to his house. My friend paid this Rusty a total of $175 for a 210 that was complete minus engine&transmission.
The entire neighborhood was waiting for the delivery of this 55. That summer we had as many as 7 kids ranging from 10 to 14 sanding the car's original paint. I'm sure we all had different visions of what the finished car would look like.
Well as most of you guys probably know, a year to 14-year-old is like 5 to an adult. We found a 327 that burned oil, rebuilt with parts from NAPA and even found a sweet manifold with 3 - 2 barrels. I rewired the original generator harness to work with a 70's era alternator and we were off and running.
The first time we took the car out, we backed the car out of the driveway, put it in first and dropped the clutch. The next thing we saw was the headliner. The front seat had been unbolted . As soon as we stepped on the gas the seat flipped back onto the floor.
By this time we were Seniors in high school. There were jobs,girlfriends and college tuition to think about. We never really did drive the car much after we got it running, what it took me years to realize was working on it with a couple of buddies was as much fun as driving it.
Now the price of gas and a hot start problem forced the 55 to into retirement or "I'm gonna fix it up someday mode".
I'd check on car's status when I came home from college. First year the 327 was pulled and put in a truck that my buddies brother was selling.
A few years later, the Centerlines were sold for a down payment to something. Every other year I'd check with my friend about what was going on with the car.
The 55 sat covered for 17 years... I found another 55 and started working on it. It was rough, what I would have considered a parts car in 1977 but in 1998 the price of these cars had gone thru the roof. I pulled the body off the frame, welded in the patch panels where the rust had won and started getting my 55 back together. I got my Bel-Air running in 2001 and had just pulled a TPI motor out of a wrecked Firebird when I was giving an update on my project. I found out that my buddies car had been moved because his parents were selling their house. Then came bad news, there had been a fire at the house where the car had been taken.
It turns out that my friend's dad had raked the leaves around the 55 that felt like part of the family. The fire had burned around the car, the tailights actually melted but the car was still intact! The "Nickle" had been saved.
I got a call from my friend just after the New Year, he said he wasn't happy about where the car was sitting. His uncle was throwing birdfeed on the car. Sounded like he didn't want it sitting there and probably wished it had burned. My friend said, you know I'm thinking about selling the car".



I picked it up the next Saturday. I waited 24 years to get that car. It's in my garage and my wife's new car sits outside. Every time I open the driver's door, I swear I smell the summer air on the day we rolled it off the trailer.
 

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That's a great story -- should be reprinted in our newletter! I especially love the last sentence....what a visual conjured through the sense of smell! Thanks for sharing.
 

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Great story Flatblack!
Every once in a while something will trigger a memory for me and my first '55. Lots of good memories I might add!!!! Thanks for sharing.

Tom
 

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That is a pretty interesting story. Glad it didn`t wind up like the 55 parts car i have sitting out back, burned inside to a crisp. Don`t know the story on this one just wanted the front end and other parts. Now you get to rebuild another gem.
Terry
 
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