On March 15th 2008 I attended the Christian Classic Cruisers Show in North Richland Hills. I ran into a friend that I have known for the last few years, Don Kemp, who was there with a 1957 Chevy 210 Beauville 9 Passenger Wagon that he had just finished restoring. I spent the next hour visiting with Don and admiring his beautiful 210 Wagon.
Don told me that he found the 210 Beauville Wagon in Arlington, Texas sitting in the yard of a residence. Don said he knew about the 210 Wagon for quite some time and finally approached the owners about buying the car. When Don went to speak to the owners about the car, he found out that it belonged to a couple that had passed away and their children were managing their estate. The siblings met at their parent’s house regularly to manage the estate and at first didn’t want to sell the 210 Wagon, since it had been in the family since they were children. It turned out that the family had bought the Wagon new in 1956 from Vandergriff Chevrolet in Arlington, Texas. A true one owner car. The next day the one of the sisters to the estate contacted Don and said that they would sell him the car. Don went to work on the Wagon in 2007. He finished it in early 2008. Once it was finished one of the sisters came to his house to see the Wagon restored and to finalize some paperwork for the registration. The sister was amazed at how nice the Wagon turned out and asked Don if she could bring her brothers and sisters by to see the car. The next day they all came back. As they entered Don’s shop, one of the sisters began to cry when she saw the 210 Wagon. She went back out to her car without entering the shop to see the Wagon any further. Don inquired as to why she was so upset, and one of the sisters told Don that she used to ride in the back of the Wagon, the 2nd back seat, where she would make sandwiches for the rest of the family while on vacations. She would then pass the sandwiches forward to the rest of the family.
When I saw the 210 Wagon, I must say that I was very impressed and pretty much fell in love with it. It’s not every day that you see a nicely restored 1957 210 Beauville 9 Passenger Wagon. In fact I don’t know that I had ever seen one, and Don had done a very nice frame-off restoration on this one. The 210 Wagon had beautiful black paint with polished original stainless and re-chromed original bumpers. Don had the frame powder coated. The body had not been wrecked, but there was some rust in the floors from years of sitting in the weather with old door seals, so Don had them replaced. He set the 210 Wagon up with 2” drop spindles and re-arched the rear springs to give the wagon a slight forward rake. He added power steering, an “I Did It” tilt column with an original style 15” steering wheel and power disk brakes. The car was an original A/C car, so it was upgraded with a Classic Auto Air system. The interior was done with 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air styling with a 1957 red and black pattern. The wagon is powered by a 1963 model 283 cu in engine that is bored .060 over with a nice cam. The transmission is a 1975 Borg Warner ST-10 that Don had actually purchased from me in 2007. I had the tranny rebuilt, only to find out it wouldn’t fit in the console of a 1967 Camaro I was building at the time. Don set the Wagon on a set of 17” Boyd Coddington “Crown Jewel” wheels. Don finished the Wagon off by putting the Vandergriff dealership emblem back on the car because it was only fitting to do so. My only additions to the wagon were some minor mechanical work and the addition of some Billet Specialties items under the hood to dress up the engine compartment.
I have to thank Don and Sheila Kemp for selling this beautiful wagon to me. I had been looking at wagons for the last 6 months and I wasn’t having much luck finding anything I liked.
When I first saw this 210 Wagon in March of 2008, I think Don only had about 120 miles on the car. I really didn’t think he would sell it. Don and Sheila are truly sweet and genuine folks. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. I also have to thank my beautiful wife Stephanie for giving me the go-ahead to buy the 210 Wagon. I hope it will be fun for my two sons, my wife and I for years to come.
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