My name is John Green; this is my story about my love and my fascination of the ‘55 Chevy.
I was truly born in the wrong generation. I was born in 1974, but I’ve always had a fascination with older cars. I have brothers and sisters that were much older than me. The youngest sibling up from me was 14 years older so by the time I was 4 or 5, I had been exposed to the world of Hot Rodding. One of my neighbors had a ‘68 Chevelle with a 396 in it, another neighbor had a top fuel dragster … I’m not really sure which one of my brothers it was that was watching American Graffiti, but I was 4 or 5 and that was my first introduction to the ’55 Chevy. I thought that was a cool movie with all the cool hot rods, deuce coupes, and that amazing ’55 Chevy! I didn’t see many ‘55’s around my area, but occasionally I would see a ‘57. Then, I got to watch the greatest car movie ever made - Two Lane Blacktop. That was the movie that just wrapped me in and sold it, from the time I was 6 years old I have always wanted a ‘55 Chevy - In my opinion the most Iconic car of Americana. I didn’t know how I was going to get one but I was determined that someday I was going to have one.
A few years later I came across a movie on TV with a bright yellow ‘57 Bel Air in it with a very young Don Johnson called ‘Return to Macon County’ - that was a cool car I thought, yet I still wanted a ‘55. I also knew that a ‘55 Chevy wasn’t cheap, my first car was a ‘78 Trans Am… far from a ‘55 Chevy. Life seems to throw things in the way of your dreams like children and bills that always take precedence over dreams but I got the pleasure of buying a 1971 Pontiac GTO like the one in Two Lane Blacktop, only blue in color when I was 23 or 24 years old. I completely redid the car and made it a daily driver until I moved 50 miles away from work and it just wasn’t feasible to drive it anymore. So it sat and sat and I finally couldn’t bear to see it go to rust - so I sold it. I never quit looking for that ‘55 of my dreams. It wouldn’t be until many many years later and with my children grown except for a Senior in high school that I would have the chance to get that ’55.
A year and a half ago I lost an older brother, he lived in Florida. I was the executor and beneficiary of his estate. I made several trips to Florida over the next few months dealing with his estate. On the last trip down there to get the house packed up and the contents shipped to Dallas, a couple of neighbors came down and was buying a few things that I couldn’t ship like lawn mowers and what not. I had rented a 2015 Camaro SS convertible for the week, one of the neighbors - Charlie is his name, asked me about the Camaro, I expressed how it would be okay for a week or so but I couldn’t imagine owning one, he said well you should see my ‘55. At that point things got serious I stopped him got real close eye to eye and said “ you have a ‘55?” the other neighbor said yeah you should see it is really nice. I told him I don’t care if it’s a bucket of rust I HAVE to see it! He told me to come down later I said I will be there. It wasn’t but maybe 20 mins later I looked up and here comes this gorgeous red ‘55 down the street………. Charlie pulled into the drive and my jaw hit the floor I couldn’t believe my eyes this is one of the nicest ‘55 Chevys I have ever seen and it’s like right in front of me!!!! I couldn’t get over this car he was telling me about the build and how he had done it I think I might have heard a dozen things he said but, it mostly sounded like the teacher from Charlie Brown, I was in heaven when he told me to sit in it… here I am sitting in literally the car of my dreams the smile on my face probably looked like the joker from Batman. I told him thank you for showing it too me and that it was my favorite car of cars, he told me ”John we can make a deal and you can drive this car home to Dallas”… I said “yeah I bet“. I’m thinking there is no way. I can’t afford this car not in a million years; he reiterated that he was serious. I thanked him again for letting me see it.
Later that night at dinner as my wife and I talked about things I said “I think Charlie was serious about the car” Molly (my wife) said yeah she thought the same thing. The next day I saw Charlie again, he was asking about a couple of antiques my brother had and wanted to know if I’d sell them to him, I said Charlie let’s talk about your car, what did you mean by make a deal and are you serious? He said yes he was serious and then he said I built your brother’s house that we’re standing in and I want it, I’ll trade you the ‘55 and cash to make up the difference in the house. I was floored he wanted the house as is, I didn’t have to keep making trips to Florida, no realtors, no nothing just make the deal and walk away. He told me to think about it and think about numbers. I had already got an appraisal when all this stuff started so I knew what the property was worth. Again at dinner I asked Molly what she thought and what she thought I should do. What would my brother tell me to do? She said to me “you know you want that car and that’s your dream car, your unicorn.” She told me that cars like that don’t come around every day and reminded me of just how long I’ve been searching for this 1 car, and that I would kick myself if I didn’t get it” I said yeah I know but,…… she said “no buts you know you want it, just do it! Make the deal and get your unicorn, she said we can’t take your brother’s house back to Texas with us, but in a way it’s possible to bring a little bit of Florida back to Texas with you.”
The next day Charlie came down we talked numbers for about 10 mins or less, we both agreed on the value of his car and my brother’s house and worked out the details about closing costs, shook hands and made the deal. We flew back to Dallas that Saturday and on Tuesday I got the contract in the mail from Charlie’s attorney. I looked it over and it was exactly as we had discussed, I signed it and overnighted it back to him. I had to wait on the courts to get the house deeded in my name which delayed things a couple months longer than I had thought. I finally received the deed and did the closing on the house, the money was transferred and the titles and keys shipped. I had a transport company pick the car up and it was delivered to my house later that week. Once I got the deed in my name the whole deal happened in less than 5 days… my ‘55 is the car of my dreams, but it also has a really special meaning and holds a very special place in my heart. It’s like having a little piece of my brother with me all the time; there is no way to place a value on it.
The car itself was a complete frame off build that was completed in 2003, it is painted with PPG 2001 Corvette Torch red, it has a 383 stroker motor with modern Vortec heads with a mild cam from GM performance, true dual exhaust with Flow Master mufflers that are not loud but not quiet and has a very nice tone to them. A 700R4 trans is coupled to a Ford 9 inch rear end spinning 3.55 gears, it has a Vintage Air A/C system, also has a serpentine belt drive system from Vintage Air with a one wire alternator, the front end is from an ‘87 Monte Carlo, if I remember right, but is has rack and pinion power steering, tubular A-arms, coil over shocks, 4 wheel power disc brakes, 17 X 10 inch American Racing polished Torque Thrust D wheels with 255/50ZR17 tires tucked up nicely in the rear wheel wells, and 17 X 8 American Racing polished Torque Thrust D wheels wrapped in 235/45ZR17 tires in the front. It has a new “original style” white wall spare tire in the finished trunk along with a 10 disc cd changer hidden beside it. A Holley 750 carb fuels the beast, MSD HEI ignition supplies the spark, everything has been cleaned up and is neat and tidy under the hood, the gauges are all new but have that vintage look to it. The car in general is pretty much all modern but was done as to keep the original look and appeal, if you look closely you will see it has electric windows in front, it only has 7500 miles since the build and has numerous show wins.
My wife, children and I love this car it has been a source of happiness and excitement. I love taking it to shows and sharing it, seeing someone’s face light up when they see it or when someone comes up to me and tells me about how their dad or grandfather had one and tells you a story about a moment in their life is the greatest feeling I’ve ever known and means way more than any trophy. Although, the trophies are cool too, the people and the stories are what I love the most. The license plate is the yellow ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ Texas plate that reads 1BAD55, it is kind of cocky in a way but it fits. When Charlie built this car, he had a hitch installed which is awesome because when I go to the show I can pull my Chopper to the shows at the same time. I truly believe in fate and that things will happen when they are supposed to happen if you just let them. If I had not decided to rent that Camaro that week I probably wouldn’t have my ’55. It was destiny, I truly believe that.
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