Dallas Area Classic Chevys
September 2007 Feature Car
A Hot Rod Family Car!
In 1956, I went with my Dad to purchase a 1956 Chevy. That’s when I first saw the car of my dreams! In 1962, that '56 Chevy became mine and with the help of my brother Charles (who drove and raced a '55 Chevy from '58 to just a few years ago), we built a nice car that could hold its own at the local drag strip. New paint with ‘rolled & pleated’ interior in a '56 Chevy, I had all I ever wanted!
Dianne & I dated in this '56 for four years making all the Pig Stands and cruises in Beaumont, Texas. We married in 1966 and sold the '56 to buy a hi-performance '66 Mustang, Yes, a F&#D! Then the babies were born and station wagons were soon to follow! Well, 40 years later the Mustang and station wagons are both gone. My wife bought a ’49 Chevy pickup so I could relive my old hot rod days. Soon after we got the pickup, she decided that she wanted a ‘hot rod’ that would now carry all the grandchildren. We decided on the 1957 Chevy Bel Air; but I wanted a two-door and she wanted a four-door. I told her that if she could find one, in our budget, we’d get it! Well two days later we were headed to Corpus Christi to pick up this red and white 1957 Chevy Bel Air….the four-door hardtop, of course!
.Car restorations and hot rods have been great projects for my son Tim and I to share some quality time together. We started with his 1972 Chevy Pick up, then my ’49 Chevy Pick up, then his ’56 Chevy car and finally our ’57 Bel Air. Our next project …..?
I have replaced the tired 283, 3 speed with a new 350 and 700R4 automatic transmission with a Hurst floor shifter. Next, the rear end was replaced with a new posi-trac, new heavy duty drive shaft, new rear leaf springs, coil over shocks and traction bars. A new engine needed better cooling so the old radiator was replaced with a new aluminum radiator and electric fan. I have added an extra transmission cooler and filter to help keep the transmission cool and clean. My wife wanted an original steering wheel and found a completely reconditioned original one. This was attached to a new chrome Ididit steering column and tied into a CPP 500 power steering unit. The interior has been restored to the original factory specifications and a custom five gauge panel installed under the dash. A new 2 ˝ inch exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers and Boyd Codington wheels were added to complete the exterior appearance. New paint will be the next step I will take on this '57 for the finishing touch.
It’s a continuing project that we enjoy together and with our son’s family. The club has been a real source of encouragement for us to help focus on the finished product and enjoy the fruits of our labors as we go!
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