ďPee Paw, letís go to Braums for ice cream and
can we take the cool carĒ? Those words came from my 4 year old
grandson, Caden, meaning he wanted to ride in my 57 Chevy.
Heís ridden with in it several times over the past year and seems to
enjoy it. But can you picture a tri-five with a child safety seat?
Actually the two share a special place in my life. I bought and took
delivery of the 57 on Monday, October 21, 2002 and Caden was born
four days later on Friday, October 25. Afterwards I carried around
pictures of both for weeks showing them to everyone I knew or met.
Being a grandparent and classic car owner gives one a double dose
Iíve owned several Chevys years past. A Ď56 BelAir, '64 Impala, '67 Chevelle, '68 Camaro, '85 S10 Blazer and a '62 Impala, in that order. The Blazer is a story unto its self to be shared at a later time. But like a lot of guys and gals, I love the older cars and really wanted a '57. Finally after about two years of searching I found this little jewel in Royse City and the price was right. The prior owner had taken fairly good care of her but I did find a bees nest on the rear axle housing and there were a few other problems which needed attention.
The windlace and carpeting was in bad shape as was the paint and both doors had their glass cracked. The left front brake would lock up from time to time and I could hear a tappet or two clattering. But overall she was and is a pretty solid car. However the biggest problem I faced was me. I had forgotten what little mechanical skills and knowledge I had learned in my younger days. In fact, one day after I had gone through the cooling system replacing hoses, anti-freeze, new belts and reinstalling the radiator - I decided on a test drive. Less than five houses down the block I threw both belts which I had installed wrong. A few days later I had forgotten to tighten the radiator cap and it came off and I ran over it. But eventually with the help of a couple good mechanics, time, a lot of patience and money she was running and looking good.
She came with a 283 engine, vintage 1966 I believe, a Carter AFB sitting on a Weiand intake manifold, headers, pipes, TH350 transmission and a Ford 9 inch rear end. The prior owner had also installed vintage air which was not working too well and Dakota Digital gauges of which the gas gauge and voltmeter were not working. I had the voltmeter replaced but still have the gas gauge to work on. So far, Iíve only ran out of gas twice. I added front disc brakes, replaced the windlace, carpeting, new glass in both doors, electric cooling fan for the air conditioning, new AM/FM Cassette sound system and a new radiator. Vickie, my lady, really appreciates the air conditioning! The looking good is the result of a set of TA Radials wrapped around new 14 inch Crager SS's and a beautiful paint job by Gutierrez Auto Body Repair in Rowlett. The original color of the car was blue but someone years ago had painted her gray. I liked the gray but went a little darker using a GM 94 Dark Metallic Gray for which I get a lot of compliments.
Iíve had her in a number of local car shows and gotten several plaques, trophies, door prizes but never the 50/50 money. In fact the second show I entered was the shocker. There were over sixty entries including fourteen in the 50ís class. First place went to a Ď55 and second to a Ď57. The last award announced was a Kids Choice. Yep! We won the Kids Choice. A big 6 foot trophy which took some doing to get home now sits proudly in my living room. But then kids and having fun with these cars is what itís all about. If you donít drive a classic car and share with your family and friends, why even have one? Not only does my grandson like the car but I get as many remarks from the kids I see as the adults who wave, honk or give you the Ďthumbs upí. I also enjoy entering the car shows in which a charity or community organization will benefit. A chance to show the car, meet and make new friends and help a good cause!
As with most of these classic cars they are never ďfinishedď. I still have some more work to do and want to make some changes in the future. Iím planning on retiring soon and should have more time to devote to both her and my grandson and his new little brother, Carson. Looks like Iíll need two child safety seats in a couple of years.
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