Most of us dream of the fond memories and the great cars that we had in our youth. We long to recapture those memorable times by finding and restoring a car similar to the one we loved so long ago. Who can forget the girl, and the car that meant so much to us way back then. This is such a story, but with a slightly different twist.
In 1967, I was an Infantry Company Commander living with my wife and college sweetheart Anita stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas. In those days, most young men had a few other things on their mind in addition to cars and girls. I got a call from my dad, who was working at Paul Swint Motors in Ft. Worth. He had a pretty clean '55 Chevy hardtop that could be had for $700. Well, Anita and I drove the car back to Ft. Hood and the story begins.
The 327 was nice, and a $20 4-speed from the car of my platoon Sargent added a nice touch. He was about to have his car repossessed, and thought it would make no difference if it went back to the bank with a 3 speed - especially if I did all the work. In 1967 career Army sergeants had more to worry about than credit ratings.
By May of 1968 Uncle Sam was done with me, and I found Ft. Hood fading out of sight in my rear view mirror as we headed north on I-35 in my ‘55 Chevy. Once back in Arlington, I added a two four barrel intake system and a 4:56 Posi rear end, but my wife thought it a little cumbersome to drive on her daily trek to work. I got an offer of $1500 for the car, so I sadly took the deal. With gas at the outrageous price 32.9 cents a gallon, and Anita and I wanting to start a family, the little Bel Air needed a new home. I was even willing to take payments. I handed the gentleman the title with instructions to go to the county courthouse and transfer the title. Life moved on, and my little ’55 was history, but always in my memory.
Fast forward twenty six years to March of 1994. I got a call and it was Richard Holland, the owner of Classic Parts in Arlington. He knew how much I loved those old 1955 Chevys, and he had one that he thought I might be interested in taking a look at. He noted it was a little rough, but I knew these models were starting to get a bit rare. My temperature was only luke warm, and after three days he called back. "Mark, you really need to come look at this car", said Richard. My response was "I’ve seen plenty of ‘55’s, what’s so special about this one?" I nearly dropped the phone when Richard asked, " Did you used to live at 600 West Hallmark in Killeen, Texas? He didn’t just have a ’55 Chevy, he had MY ’55 Chevy. Seems as though the car had bounced around a little, making the local drag strips and such, but never changing the title into anyone else’s name.
Well, I had no trouble with the title because I just changed it to my current address. Times and costs have changed over the years. The interior cost more than I paid for the car in 1967. I got a few bids on a ‘frame-off’, and then began to wear out my checkbook. A nitrous boosted 750 cfm carb on top of a ZZ4 crate 350 adds a little punch, and air conditioning makes it practical to drive my '55 in Texas
I took delivery on my completely restored 1955 Chevy hardtop on the morning of my 35th High School Reunion. And, yes, I did arrive at the reunion that evening with the same lady that I drove back from Ft. Hood on that warm day in May of 1968. I may have gained a few pounds and lost a little hair, but 37 years later, I have the same car and the same lovely wife.
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