January 2020


Charles & Veta Gemsheim's
1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop


Charles has had a lot of cars and they have come from all over the country.  Here is a brief history of those cars, including this fantastic ’55 Bel Air!


When we started collecting cars it was with an ’85 CJ7.  This one was hopped up with a 454 suspension, 1 ton gearing, a 350 hp engine, custom exhaust, 35.5 tires with Dick Cepek wheels, 4 inch lift, and 5 speed transmission, which would definitely run.


Next, we moved to our ZZ mobile.  It was a 1930 5 window Ford coupe with dual 4 barrels and automatic transmission. This car had 18” rear tires, 8” dual rims, Weld wheels, electric cutouts, and dual exhausts, Mustang clip, and Mustang bucket seats.  This car wound up being the most reliable hot rod of the group.  We still own this car but intend on selling it soon.


Next was probably the most unreliable car we bought; it was a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air that stayed in the shop for several years and cost lots of money.  It had a 350 engine, a 4 speed Muncie transmission and Edelbrock intake, carburetor, and alternator, ceramic coated headers, and new exhaust, 4 rod suspension, and coil over exhaust.  This car had the engine fail after 9 miles.  The motor was replaced without asking which drove the price to double. An old boy offered to purchase the car for half; and at the time, I was ready.

Paducah, Kentucky

1990 SS 454 Chevrolet pickup – This was the only pickup we bought (with the exception many years ago of a daily driven 1956 GMC pickup that belonged to Veta’s grandfather on a farm in Denton).  These trucks were only manufactured as a single cab, all black, red interior, and 454 engine for two years.  The truck was all original, had the factory stereo with the “learn your Chevrolet” cassette tape and was driven from St. Louis to Plano upon being purchased.  The truck did have some trouble with the transmission and it had to be replaced.  The truck was a favorite in the neighborhood and had a number of people anxious to buy it.  The last interested party came to the house one morning begging to sell him the car because he didn’t want it sitting out during storms; and 30 minutes later, he was back at the front door with cash.

Rio Vista, Texas

The next one was a 1966 Pontiac GTO convertible.  This car went through a 3 year conversion with PHS (Pontiac Historical Society) review and certification.  This car has the 389 Tri Power and 4 speed Muncie transmission along with full options and canary yellow paint.  This car was in perfect condition, but we could not keep it in pristine condition and drive and enjoy it.

Washington (California car)

Our next and final car and our current car is a ’55 Chevrolet Bel Air with everything on it.   It has a 383 stroker engine with approximately 400 HP, 700R4 automatic transmission, Edelbrock 4-barrel carburetor and intake, custom tuned headers, 4 bar suspension, 01A adjustable shocks coil rear end, lowered front end with tubular A-arms, CPP 500 series steering box, Lokar shifter, RainGear wipers, vintage tilt wheel, restored 15” custom steering wheel, Custom Autosound stereo.  It also has power steering, power disc brakes, upgraded electronic dash, ice cold air conditioning, and a heater. The paint job is a beautiful and unique Gray and Canyon Coral with American Rims. We bought it from Re-Tired Klassics in Washington and had it shipped the 2,000 miles down here to Plano.  It’s an easy driver, a lot of fun, and we are happy and hope to enjoy many adventures in it!

My wife informed me several years ago that I was good at buying cars but that I had not learned how to sell them.  After having owned 5 cars at once we worked to deplete the herd.  We really like the Tri-Fives and enjoyed our first meeting with the Chevy Club!