December 17, 2017

Antique Automobile Club of America

Posted on March 29, 2013 by in Classic Rides

Antique Automobile Club of America

 Antique Automobile Club of America

Hershey, PA

1934 Ford Pick-up truck

1934 Ford Pick-up truck, this was the Bosses favorite vehicle in the entire museum. I think she has great taste, and I’d be happy to drive her around in this fine classic ride.

The Antique Automobile Club of America is a fine museum that features beautiful examples of automotive history from around the world.  The have Car, Bus, and motorcycle sections as well as a few trucks, the Kissmobile and a few other oddities.  This modern museum is three floors and around every bend there are more treasures.  There is a small admission fee to view these classic cars, but it’s well worth the price.  I must have taken several hundred photographs, but here are the best ones.

1980 Rolls Royce Corniche Convertible

1980 Rolls Royce Corniche Convertible

 

 

 

Kissmobile

 

1960 Ford T-bird made entirely of stainless steel

In 1960 the Allegheny Ludium Steel Corporation ordered two 1960 Ford Thunderbirds custom made with T306 alloy and T304 stainless steel. The body panels were made by Ford and the assembly was done by Creative Industries in Detroit, Michigan. The cost $25,000 plus $5,000 for polishing. Truly unique automobile.

These are just a few of the photographs in the article.  To see all of the beautiful Classic Rides go to the March 2013 edition of the Santa Fe Good News Magazine by clicking the link at:  http://santafegoodnews.com/issues/March2013.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Classic Corvette Convertable

Posted on November 19, 2012 by in Classic Rides

Classic Corvette Convertable

Earlier in the week I saw a very small sign about an upcoming car show, but I was headed somewhere else and I didn’t have time to stop. Saturday morning I got on my new I-phone 4 that the Boss bought me for work and I asked Siri if there was a car show in Dickinson today.  She came up with an internet page entry confirming that it was indeed this Saturday.  I got there a little early and the vendors were still setting up.  There were only a few cars display and my eyes were quickly drawn to a bright red Chevy Corvette. I located the owner, Gary Kirkland nearby and explained to him who I was and what I wanted and he readily agreed to the photographing his car.  This car is a 1962 model Chevy Corvette convertible.  Kirkland explained that he bought the car about seven months ago out of Minnesota. The color is an OEM Roman red and the interior upholstery and carpet are also red.  Roman red is one of seven factory colors that were offered on the Chevy Corvette in 1962.  This 1962 model is the last year of this particular body style for the Chevy Corvette.  Kirkland explained that his Corvette had been completely restored in 1997 by the previous owner.

Interior:  By today’s standards the interior of this sports car is spartan to say the least.  It has no power brakes or steering, and no air conditioner.  However there is a 160 mph analog speedometer, and factory 6000 rpm (red line 5000 rpm) tachometer, (mounted just below

Interior

Fast interior, red, 160 mph speedo, tachometer, bucket seats, panic bar, Borg-Warner four speed, oil, fuel, temp, engine temp guages.

dash on steering column), nice bucket seats with lap belts, and a panic grab bar on the passenger side for those quick acceleration starts.  It also has the required analog gauges: oil pressure, fuel, volt, engine temperature, which allows the driver to keep an eye on it’s high performance engine.  There is a factory (optional) four speed Borg-Warner transmission, and signal seeking AM radio.  Kirkland explained that the transmission leads to a posi-traction rear axle with a 3.08.1 gear ratio. The steering is a race inspired rack and pinion type with a ratio of 21:1 standard, (16.3:1 optional), and a turning circle of 39 feet.

Suspension:  The front end features are: independent upper and lower A-arms, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, antiroll bar, and tubular hydraulic shock absorbers which were the top of the line for 1962 sports cars.  The rear suspension features are: a rigid live axle on semi-elliptic leaf springs, tubular hydraulic shock absorbers, and trailing radius rods.  This is the suspension that makes this roadster hug the road and ride like it’s on rails as they used to say.

Brakes:  Kirkland explained that the car has original factory 11 inch drum brakes on the front and rear.  Remember drum brakes are more mechanically efficient than disc brakes, and Chevy made them appreciably larger on this 3,137 pound sports car in 1962 to assure that it would stop as well as run.

Tires & Wheels:  This Corvette features P-205-75-R15 Coker brand tires with the wide white wall features.  The original tires were 6.70×15 and were nylon type.  Coker tires are probably the world’s largest supplier of collector car tires and wheels. http://www.cokertire.com/    The wheels are steel disc wheels with safety rims, which are the factory correct Corvette wheels for 1962.

Overall Dimensions:  This 1962 Chevy Corvette convertible has a 102.0 inch wheel base, and an overall length of 176.7 inches, and its width is 70.4 inches.

Engine:  Mr. Kirkland was well informed about the engine of this Corvette.  He explained that this 327 cubic motor is the original motor that came in the car, and it’s one of the four 327 engines available for this car in 1962.  This motor is a conventional, water-cooled four stroke, reciprocating pistontype with 8 cylinders in V configuration and its front mounted, longitudinal, and upright.  The heads are pushrod and rocker actuated ohv with two valves per cylinder, and bore and stroke is: 4.00 x 3.25 inches.

Motor

327 cubic inch, 300 horses, 4bbl carb, V-8.

His engine is the 300 horsepower motor (RPO 583).  It’s topped with an Elderbrock four barrel carburetor.  The original OEM carburetor would have been a Carter brand.  Spark is controlled by a coil and distributor, and if you look closely you’ll see a shiny chrome shield on the rear part of the engine that prevents the coil from interfering with the car’s radio. I located the engine specifications for the 1962 Chevy Corvette and the published performance numbers, and they are listed in the chart below.

Type ohv V-8 ohv V-8 ohv V-8 ohv V-8
Displacement, liters/cu inch 5.35/327 5.35/327 5.35/327 5.35/327
Bore x stroke, inches 4.00 x 3.25 4.00 x 3.25 4.00 x 3.25 4.00 x 3.25
Fuel Management 1 x 4-bbl. 1 x 4-bbl. (AFB) 1 x 4-bbl. (AFB) fuel injection
Horsepower @ rpm 240 @ 4400 300 @ 5000 340 @ 6000 360 @ 6000
Torque @ rpm, pound-foot 350 @ 2800 360 @ 3200 344 @ 4000 352 @ 4000

Published Performance Numbers *360 hp version

Acceleration 360 hp, 4-sp man.
0-60 mph, sec 5.9
0-100 mph, sec 13.5
1/4-mile, sec @ mph 14.5 @ 104

Being the old geezer, I am very familiar with the 283/327 Chevy engine.  The motors (283/327 cid) that my older brother built during his hotrod days were rock solid and dependable.  He probably built over 200 high performance motors from the 327 engine platform, and I know of only one catastrophic engine failure during all that time.  He had built a very high performance 327 engine, estimated horsepower 395, and installed it in a 1964 Chevy Malibu SS.  This engine blew up during a race between him and one of the new 454 cid engines in a Chevy Impala.  The race was from Houston to Beaumont on I-10, and the little motor imploded at about 140 mph near Winnie, Texas.

Sales numbers:  In 1962 Chevy made 14,531 Corvette convertibles, and their starting price was $4,038.00.  Needless to say, a pristine 1962 Corvette would sell for many times that price today.  Just goes to prove that some cars are worth investing in if you have the money.  

Factory Options List – Production Numbers – Purchase Price – Colors

Here is a list of options available on this 1962 Chevy Corvette and what they cost:

Option Production Price
AM Radio, signal seeking 13,076 137.75
Rear axle, 3.08:1 NA 0.00
Positive Crankcase Ventilation NA 5.40
Wheels, 15 x 5.5 561 0.00
Power-glide Automatic Transmission 1,532 199.10
Auxiliary Hardtop 8,074 236.75
Power Windows 995 59.20
Direct Flow Exhaust System 2,934 0.00
340 hp Engine 4,412 107.60
360 hp Engine 1,918 484.20
300 hp Engine Fl 3,294 53.80
Power Operated Folding Top 350 139.90
Positraction Rear Axle 14,232 43.05
4-speed Manual Transmission 11,318 188.30
Metallic Brakes 2,799 37.70
Heavy Duty Brakes and Suspension 246 333.60
Black wall Tires, 6.70 x 15 nylon NA 31.55
Whitewall Tires, 6.70 x 15 NA 15.70
24 Gallon Fuel Tank 65 118.40

Color Choices and Production Numbers

Color Choice Production Color Choice Production
Tuxedo Black NA Fawn Beige 1,851
Roman Red NA Ermine White NA
Almond Beige 820 Sateen Silver NA
Honduras Maroon NA
Corvette

This what you would see if you tried to race this Vette in 1962.

Well that’s about all the space the Boss will allow me for this column, so I hope you enjoyed the review of this classic Corvette.  Till next time if you have the time and means, look around and find an old car or truck and restore it.

RESTORE IT, DON’T IGNORE IT”.

Juniors Boy

 

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1965 Ford Mustang

Posted on October 16, 2012 by in Classic Rides

1965 Ford Mustang Convertable

The Boss laid down the law and said, “We need something different for this month. You can’t keep running 55 Chevrolets every month, just cause YOU like them.  Get me a Mustang or something different”.  With my instructions firmly in my brain, I headed off to the annual Santa Fe Texas Chamber of Commerce car show.  I was impressed this year at the number of cars and trucks on display, (estimated at 100 entries) that’s quite a few more than last year.  It’s gotten so big they had to park some of the cars on the grass.

After perusing the entries, I saw just what the Boss asked for; a group of old Mustangs all parked together.  I looked them over and this Wimbledon White 1965 first generation Mustang convertible with Skyline Blue interior seem to be a winner.

Mustang                                   1st Generation 1965 Ford Mustang Convertable

I learned that these cars were part of the JSC (Johnson Space Center) Classic Mustang car club from the Clear Lake City, Texas area.  All of the members of this club either work at JSC or worked there previously.  The member’s cars run from model year 1964½ to 1982. The owner of this 1965 model, (Henry Rabago) explained that he bought this car from a fellow Mustang enthusiast in Lake Haven, New York about four years ago. Mustang Engine

                                     Almost Stock 289 cid 210 hp Ford Mustang Engine

This car is shown in the ORIGINAL class, and I was told that there can be only three modifications allowed on the car that are NOT OEM (Original Equipment Manufactured). Mr. Rabago said that the chrome valve covers, the chrome air breather, and the cassette radio are the only non-original parts on his car.

Starting at the front, the engine bay houses the original 289 V-8 engine that’s factory rated at 210 horsepower.  Mr. Rabago explained that although the top of the chrome air breather identifies the engine as a 289 high performance model, it is not true.  The chromed breather and valve covers were added as homage to what the hot-rodders of 1965 thought was cool back in the day.  Mustang Interior

                                                   1965 Ford Mustang Interior

There is no power steering, power brakes, or air conditioning on this convertible.  The engine block has been repainted Ford blue, and the carburetor and intake manifold are both OEM. The Skyline blue interior has bucket seats in the front and a small bench seat in the back. The transmission is the original C-4 Cruise-a-matic, a two speed automatic.  The blue steering wheel is the original, as are all of the dash gauges.  In the two seater back seat, the blue interior leads to the snap on cover for the convertible top.  Although the top was down when I photographed the car, Mr. Rabago tells me that it’s also the original skyline blue color. Mustang Trunk

                                                                   Trunk Area

The trunk has been adorned with several Mustang magazines, and the spare tire and trunk compartment has been covered with naugahyde for display purposes.  The chrome Ford wheels are the original Ford mag wheels that came on the car and the tires are new P195/5R14 Trendsetters. The car has the original drum brakes it came from the factory with and the brake drums were painted to match the paint scheme.  Mustang Drive Inn Tray

                                                             Drive Inn Tray

The most unique item added to show off this car is a drive inn diner carhop tray on the driver’s side window. It’s a nice reminiscent touch.

I hope that you and the Boss, enjoyed my review of this car. Go green and look around for a classic car to restore rather than crush.  They aren’t making any more of them and they are a form of classic Americana that deserves to be put back on the road for all of us to see and envy. Till next time drive safely.

Juniors Boy

The first generation Mustangs created the “pony car” class of American automobiles—sports car-like coupes with long hoods and short rear decks.  It was initially based on the second generation North American Ford Falcon, a compact car. Introduced early on April 17th, 1964 and dubbed as a “1964½” model by Mustang fans. The 1965 Mustang was Ford’s most successful launch since the Model A.

mustang

The new car was introduced to the public at the New York World’s Fair. Executive stylist John Najjar, who was a fan of the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter plane, is credited by Ford to have suggested the name.  Original sales forecasts projected less than 100,000 units for the first year. This mark was surpassed in the first three months from rollout.  Another 318,000 would be sold during the model year (a record) and in its first eighteen months, more than one million Mustangs were built.  The sales may have also been boosted because a Ford Mustang appeared in the James Bond film Goldfinger, in September 1964.

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Old School Cool

Posted on August 23, 2012 by in Classic Rides, Man Cave

Old School Cool

1955 Chevy Belair

My #1 son- in- law called me last Friday afternoon and told me of a local car show in nearby Alvin, TX, so I packed up my camera and met him and my daughter at the show. This show was a combination of early and late model cars, trucks, and motorcycles and it was in full swing when we arrived.  Despite being only 9:00am the Texas heat was oppressive.  We strolled around for a bit before stumbling into a black and white 55 Chevy Belair.  I’m drawn to the tri-fives because it’s what I grew up seeing my older brother (Skipper) driving and working on all of the time. The simplicity of the black and white color combination belies the real beauty of this 55 Chevy.  It’s like someone had taken a classic car and updated it with all of the modern amenities to make it faster, safer, and more comfortable, while keeping it showroom new.  The car was built by Johnny Patke and his son’s Donnie and Ronnie of Pearland, Texas over an eight year period.  Let’s break it down and see how they did it.Big Head Caps

 If you need a hat that fits…this is the place to go! www.bigheadcaps.com

Exterior:

The two tone paint job was painted by Eric’s Custom Finishes 1806 Stone Road in Pearland, Texas.  It features GM white on top and GM black on the bottom.  When purchased, the body and front clip was acid dipped to remove the years of accumulated paint and rust.  Mr. Patke said that when he bought the car some eight years ago it was maroon and gray and had some problems with rust here and there.  He said that he had to cut out and replace the trunk deck floor area due to rust.  He and his sons worked many hours sanding repairing and smoothing out the body to get it ready for paint.

Frame:

This was a frame up restoration. After taking the body off the frame, it and the front suspension as well the rear end were powder coated black for rust prevention.  The rear end is a 12 bolt posi-track with 3.73 gearing off of a 1969 Chevy Camaro.  The rear end has drum brakes and the front brakes are hard stopping disc brakes.  The front suspension is an updated version of the factory suspension.

                                                             Engine:1955 Chevy Belair

The small block 350 cubic Chevy was over bored .30 making it a 355 cubic inch motor.  It has a very healthy cam lope at idle.  The engine features an Elderbrock high rise aluminum intake and four barrel carburetor.  The valve covers are aluminum, and spark is provided by a MSB brand ignition and a Continental 12 volt battery.  The battery is concealed by a chromed battery box from Classic Chevy Parts.  The engine was dyno tested at Pearland high school after it was installed in the car and showed 335 horsepower at the rear wheels, with an estimated 400+ hp at flywheel.   It was assembled by Dale Bridges of Custom Performance Engines in Houston, Texas.  The cooling for this small block power house comes from a Griffin aluminum radiator, and two 10″ electric fans.  Moving rearward from the engine is a Performance brand clutch with a (Scatter-shield) bell housing, and then a Muncie four speed manual transmission.  The transmission is topped with a Hurst brand chromed shift lever and white shift knob.

Interior:1955 Chevy Belair

He used a black and silver color scheme for the upholstery. The black and silver bucket seats are out of a 2005 Pontiac GTO. The rear seat is upholstered to match the front and the custom made console, (complete with convenience lights) is from Salbana Custom and Classic upholstery. It is well appointed indeed and features an under dash air conditioning unit from Vintage Air. The windows are from Classic Chevy Parts and were tinted light black by John Simmons of Tomball, Texas.

 Wheels & Tires:1955 Chevy Belair

The front tires are (2.25 x 60 x R-17) by Extreme Performance mounted on a special 8″ custom ordered American Racing Mag wheel. They features a custom offset so the larger tires could be used on the classic 55 Chevy without tubbing the wheels wells to make them fit correctly. Custom order 10″ (offset) American Racing Mag wheels are mated to (2.75 x 75 x R-17) Extreme Performance tires are mounted on the rear.

Mr. Patke said that he got some help with this build from Wayne’s Hotrod Shop in Pearland, Texas but most of the work was done by him and his sons in their large man cave. And their man cave is something else! I had the pleasure to see it during this photo shoot, and it had all of the amenities that a man could want to be happy.

 “The only thing I didn’t see in this man cave was a juke box.”

 Till next time, be safe out there and if you see this 55 Chevy cruising by, take time to wave, honk and give him a thumbs up, because it’s really a GOOD THING to save cars like this from metal recyclers.

 Juniors Boy

Tractor Ad

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Classic Rides – 1957 Chevrolet Sedan – December 2011

Posted on January 4, 2012 by in Classic Rides

The year is 1957 and in January the United States was rocking to the sound of a youthful Elvis Aaron Presley on the Ed Sullivan show. This was the crowning year for what we car guys call the Tri-Fives. Arguably the classiest of the 55-57 production years was the 1957 Chevy Bel-Air Coupe. It was sleek, long, powerful, stylish, and heavily adorned with scads of chrome plating. Its stylish tailfins, toothy front grill, powerful V-8 (283cid with 283bph) engine bespoke volumes of the American youth culture of the time. People loved their cars and President Eisenhower or “Ike” as he was called was building and inter-state highway system. It would allow the motoring public to drive from coast to coast on a smooth ribbon of concrete highway. The wide expanse of the new super highway would allow you to “Open it up” if you so desired and the local highway patrol wasn’t watching too closely. Malt shops were rocking to the sounds of “Buddy Holly”, “Chuck Berry”, and “Little Chubby Checker”.

Poodle skirted teenage girls were doing the bop, jitter-bug and the peppermint twist. Each of them trying to catch the eye of that “Back Seat Romeo” leaning against the juke box in his chino’s, white t-shirt, and sporting the latest duck-tail haircut who happened to have a 57 Chevy idling in the parking lot. America was in love with it’s cars. This was the time of drive in movies, drive inn diners, and parking in the moonlight down by the bay to watch the “submarine” races. This month’s featured car is a 1957 Chevy Sedan belonging to longtime Santa Fe resident Wayne Kessler. Mr. Kessler explained that he bought this beauty in its current condition and just enjoys driving it for nostalgic reasons. He went on to explain that he had a 57 Chevy when he was in high school and another one back when he was serving in the military. He likes to load up his family in this sedan and drive to get do-nuts on Saturday morning and go to church on Sundays. When I first spotted this beauty several months ago I approached Mr. Kessler and asked him if he would agree to allow me to feature this red and white sedan in the December edition. I thought it would make a great ride for Santa Claus, and sure enough a picture of the car and Santa made the front page of the magazine. The 1957 Chevy sedan is almost completely stock. The only major difference is the power plant. The original “Blue-Flame Six” has been replaced with a late model 350cid Chevy small block. Atop this mill sets an Elderbrock 4-barrel carburetor and high flow air breather. The exhausts are duals with “Cherry Bomb” glass pack free flowing mufflers that emit a deep mellow tone until you accelerate.

Then they roar to let the losers know you were there and now you’re pulling away. Mr. Kessler explained that as the speedometer goes towards the right, the fuel gauge goes towards the left, as his “57”, is not the most economical car to drive.

The manual transmission is the three on the tree variety, which means it’s a three speed mounted on the steering column. Most people under the age of fifty wouldn’t have any idea on how to shift this transmission, as today’s youth are used to automatics. As I recall, pull it towards the driver and down towards the floor is first, up, slightly back and then up towards the roof gets you to second and straight down from second gets you into third gear. Reverse is pull towards the driver and straight up. Neutral is in the middle. The last three on a tree that I owned was a silver 1975 Chevy C-10 half ton pickup truck. My parents gifted it to me for graduating high school, and the third day I had it, I was down shifting from third to second coming off IH- 610 in Houston and for some reason it hung up in second gear. The dealership sent out a wrecker to tow it, and the necessary adjustments were made and it never happened again. Mr. Kessler’s 57 sedan has a bright red and white paint scheme and this continues onto the red and white interior. During the photography session he opened up the trunk. It was cavernous, and it made me recall that one time my brother had me, my sister, and a girl cousin hide in the trunk so we could all get into the drive in without paying the additional dollar a head fee. I also seem to recall a strong gasoline smell, and remembered that the gasoline fill port was located under a piece of tail fin trim just above the driver’s side tail light. I checked on this 57, and the builder left it as it came from the factory.

The front grill is adorned with copious amounts of chrome as well as two protruding bulbs on each side protected by black plastic tips. I’ll leave it to the reader to visualize and imagine what those look like. Without question the beautiful front grill and the tail fins on the 1957 Chevy are the two most visually stylish parts of this car, and what almost anyone of a certain age can identify as a 57 Chevy. I’ve actually seen booths in diners and bars that utilize the tail fins of this car as part of their construction. Mr. Kessler’s sedan is not encumbered with power steering, and he explained that this necessitated the largest diameter steering wheel that Chevy ever equipped a production sedan with to turn the car.

There are also no power brakes or air conditioning in this car, although both were available at the time of production for an additional charge. Maybe this sedan started life as a police car, as they were usually ordered stripped down to reduce costs. When you see this beautiful 1957 Chevy Sedan tooling around the roads of Galveston County, just smile and wave and realize that a man is reliving his youth and I personally wish him well. Maybe one day I’ll join him in my own Classic Ride if I can ever get the Boss to buy me one. Till we meet again Classic Ride fans, here’s wishing you happy motoring in whatever you choose to drive.

Juniors Boy

You can read about and see photos of our previous classic rides at www.santafegoodnews. com.

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Santa’s Classic Ride

Posted on December 11, 2011 by in Classic Rides

The year is 1957 and in January the United States was rocking to the sound of a youthful Elvis Aaron Presley on the Ed Sullivan show. This was the crowning year for what we car guys call the Tri-Fives. Arguably the classiest of the 55-57 production years was the 1957 Chevy Bel-Air Coupe. It was sleek, long, powerful, stylish, and heavily adorned with scads of chrome plating. Its stylish tailfins, toothy front grill, powerful V-8 (283cid with 283bph) engine bespoke volumes of the American youth culture of the time. People loved their cars and President Eisenhower or “Ike” as he was called was building and inter-state highway system. It would allow the motoring public to drive from coast to coast on a smooth ribbon of concrete highway. The wide expanse of the new super highway would allow you to “Open it up” if you so desired and the local highway patrol wasn’t watching too closely.

Malt shops were rocking to the sounds of “Buddy Holly”, “Chuck Berry”, and “Little Chubby Checker”. Poodle skirted teenage girls were doing the bop, jitter-bug and the peppermint twist. Each of them trying to catch the eye of that “Back Seat Romeo” leaning against the juke box in his chino’s, white t-shirt, and sporting the latestduck-tail haircut who happened to have a 57 Chevy idling in the parking lot. America was in love with it’s cars. This was the time of drive in movies, drive inn diners, and parking in the moonlight down by the bay to watch the “submarine” races.

This month’s featured car is a 1957 Chevy Sedan belonging to longtime Santa Fe resident Wayne Kessler. Mr. Kessler explained that he bought this beauty in its current condition and just enjoys driving it for nostalgic reasons. He went on to explain that he had a 57 Chevy when he was in high school and another one back when he was serving in the military. He likes to load up his family in this sedan and drive to get do-nuts on Saturday morning and go to church on Sundays. When I first spotted this beauty several months ago I approached Mr. Kessler and asked him if he would agree to allow me to feature this red and white sedan in the December edition. I thought it would make a great ride for Santa Claus,and sure enough a picture of the car and Santa made the front page of the magazine.

The 1957 Chevy sedan is almost completely stock. The only major difference is the power plant. The original “Blue-Flame Six” has been replaced with a late model 350cid Chevy small block. Atop this mill sets an Elderbrock 4-barrel carburetor and high flow air breather. The exhausts are duals with “Cherry Bomb” glass pack free flowing mufflers that emit a deep mellow tone until you accelerate. Then they roar to let the losers know you were there and now you’re pulling away.

Mr. Kessler explained that as the speedometer goes towards the right, the fuel gauge goes towards the left, as his “57”, is not the most economical car to drive. The manual transmission is the three on the tree variety, which means it’s a three speed mounted on the steering column. Most people under the age of fifty wouldn’t have any idea on how to shift this transmission, as today’s youth are used to automatics.

As I recall, pull it towards the driver and down towards the floor is first, up, slightly back and then up towards the roof gets you to second and straight down from second gets you into third gear. Reverse is pull towards the driver and straight up. Neutral is in the middle. The last three on a tree that I owned was a silver 1975 Chevy C-10 half ton pick-up truck. My parents gifted it to me for graduating high school, and the third day I had it, I was down shifting from third to second coming off IH-610 in Houston and for some reason it hung up in second gear. The dealership sent out a wrecker to tow it, and the necessary adjustments were made and it never happened again. Mr. Kessler’s 57 sedan has a bright red and white paint scheme and this continues onto the red and white interior.

During the photography session he opened up the trunk. It was cavernous, and it made me recall that one time my brother had me, my sister, and a girl cousin hide in the trunk so we could all get into the drive in without paying the additional dollar a head fee. I also seem to recall a strong gasoline smell, and remembered that the gasoline fill port was located under a piece of tail fin trim just above the driver’s side tail light. I checked on this 57, and the builder left it as it came from the factory. The front grill is adorned with copious amounts of chrome as well as two protruding bulbs on each side protected by black plastic tips. I’ll leave it to the reader to visualize and imagine what those look like. Without question the beautiful front grill and the tail fins on the 1957 Chevy are the two most visually stylish parts of this car, and what almost anyone of a certain age can identify as a 57 Chevy.

I’ve actually seen booths in diners and bars that utilize the tail fins of this car as part of their construction. Mr. Kessler’s sedan is not encumbered with power steering, and he explained that this necessitated the largest diameter steering wheel that Chevy ever equipped a production sedan with to turn the car. There are also no power brakes or air conditioning in this car, although both were available at the time of production for an additional charge. Maybe this sedan started life as a police car, as they were usually ordered stripped down to reduce costs. When you see this beautiful 1957 Chevy Sedan tooling around the roads of Galveston County, just smile and wave and realize that a man is reliving his youth and I personally wish him well. Maybe one day I’ll join him in my own Classic Ride if I can ever get the Boss to buy me one.

Junior’s Boy

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1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

Posted on March 11, 2011 by in Classic Rides

Car Logo Photo

Last Sunday I took a drive down Hwy 6 and spoke to a fellow named Norman Johnson who owns this pristine example of the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air two-door hardtop. This car is a custom version of the original with many modern upgrades and unusual custom features. Starting at the front this yellow beauty features the grill out of a 1956 Buick that looks like many chrome teeth. Under the hood sits a 383 cubic inch stroker motor pushing over 450+ horsepower with (Nitrous Oxide) enhancement. The engine bay has lots of chrome and stainless jewelry that gleam in the sunlight. The side flow radiator and its components are stainless steel while the engine itself is an assortment of chrome and stainless pieces. Behind the engine is a 350 turbo automatic transmission with a 2500 rpm stall converter. The rear end is geared at 3.50.1 to transfer the engine’s abundant power to the pavement. The exterior door handles and the trunk latch have been shaved and now the doors and trunk open with electronic locks. There is a custom designed billet dash with an Ididit steering column and billet steering wheel and door sills. It has a Dakota digital dash that displays all of the necessary information to inform the driver how this yellow [Show-n-Go] Chevy is running. The front bucket seats are from a 1971 Mitsubishi and the rear seats are out of a 1968 Chevy Camero. There are custom consoles both front and rear on this interior and overhead it features stainless steel 1957 Pontiac Roof Bars that add a touch of class to the light gray roof material. The beautiful tail fins of the 57 Chevy Bel Air are brightly chromed and two chrome slash cut exhaust tips protrude out from under the rear bumper. The driver’s side two radio antenna’s have been “Frenched” into the fender just behind the door and the Texas antique car license plate that has been “Frenched” into the trunk. This custom 57 features front disc brakes and 17” American Racing Mag wheels. The overall stance of the car has been lowered for that low sexy look. Mr. Johnson said that he has been working on this beauty for six years. He has won three awards at 2010 car shows. This car is scheduled to be featured in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Houston on March 12th. I appreciate all of the hard work that Norman Johnson and his lovely wife have put into this Classic Ride and I hope you enjoyed viewing it too. On the way to photograph this car I spotted a 1957 Chevy Two-Door body, sans engine, all ready for paint for sale on the side of the road. I wonder if the Boss will sponsor it if I have, “Read the Santa Fe Good News Magazine” emblazoned across each side of the tail fins? Hmmm!Known as one of the Tri-5’s, the 1957 Chevy’s styling looks to me like someone took a right triangle and tried to draw a car with very few curves. Tail fins were in vogue and this year Chevrolet was right on the money in their design. Considered a classic design, this tail finned beauty set the standard in automobile design for many years afterwards. The 1957 Chevy as it was called was first introduced to the publicin September 1956, two months before I was born. It was available in three different series; the Bel Air, the 210, and the 150 series. The famed and highly sought after Nomad two door wagons were produced in a Bel Air trim package. There was also a limited upscale edition called the Delray available at extra cost.The 57 model had an entirely different dashboard, sealed cowl, and the relocation of air ducts to the headlight pods, which resulted in the distinctive chrome headlights that helped make the 57 a classic. The 57 had fourteen inch wheels that caused it to have a lower stance that 55 and 56 models and a wide grill that made it look wider in the front. The famous 1957 Chevrolet tail fins were also designed to make the car look wider in the rear. The V-shaped trim on the tail fins were filled with a ribbed aluminum insert exclusive to the Bel Air. The driver’s side tail fin had a chrome section that opened to allow access to the gas tank. I recall as a child, my mother had to call my older brother to get him to tell her how to put gas in the car because the service station attendant didn’t know where to put it and neither did she. Of course that’s back when a lady wasn’t supposed to know how to put gas in a car because no gentleman would ever allow such a thing. Till next time make sure to either refurbish that classic sitting out in the hayfield behind your grandpa’s barn or at least advertise it in the Santa Fe Good News Magazine and we’ll sell it to someone who can make it a Classic Ride.

Juniors Boy

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