Carl F 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 2dr Sport Coupe

The "One" that didn't get away.

I can't remember how old I was when my father brought my Mom a 57 Chevy 2dr sedan. Dad did all the work on it to make it run like a top. It was a 2 tone black and white. We had it for years and enjoyed it so until it was stolen. After that he brought a 65 Chevy for mom but I made myself a promise to find myself a 57 Chevy for my first car. Well before I got my license my sisters boyfriend and his friend came home from the Navy. They drove up from Virginia, one in a 1965 Chevy Impala SS, and the other in a 1957 Chevy 2dr hard top. The 65 was parked in the driveway and the 57 was parked in front of the house in the street. It was blue with a white top. I just sat there on the stoop and said to myself the car came to me. My car came to me. Some time later the car was offered to me for $500. So I was off to Orange N.J. with a tow truck to bring it home. I was around 19 at the time and I have owned it ever since. The one thing that I left out I did buy and sell several cars hoping to have enough money to buy the car when it did finally come up for sale. My plan worked. It was a good thing that I towed it home. The engine had a knock that turned out to be a connecting rod bearing. So my father and I tore down the engine in place, checked it for wear, polished it up, balanced and blueprinted the engine, I forgot to mention that my father was a machinist engineer and he taught me a lot. As we were reassembling the engine my father, for some reason, wanted to check the oil pump. His hunch was right. It turned out that the oil pump was changed and was a high pressure pump sending all this oil to the heads with no way for the oil to return keeping enough oil in the pan for splash needed to keep the crank and pistons lubricated. With that problem solved and now knowing how the engine was damaged to begin with we continued to reassemble checking everything to the last nut and bolt. Then we turned to the transmission. Well it turned out that the problem with shifting was caused by a worn pilot bushing in the end of the crank shaft which wore the end of the shaft coming from the transmission. So here we go tearing down the transmission. It was not easy getting that shaft but once we did everything went together great. Then after a complete check of the car inside and out fixing what I would call a bad attempt to repair even the littlest of things the car was road worthy. Let me tell you over the years its been great and full of adventures. The memories made traveling any where with out a worry because of the attention paid to the repairs and maintenance. I now have had the car for 42 years and it is in its final restoration. This time it's a complete body off the frame rotisserie restoration with a complete mechanical over haul to. It will have all new sheet metal where necessary, which to my surprise has been minor, and a return to an automatic, according to the serial number, new glass, re-chromed parts, straighten up and polish all the stainless, new interior and a return to its original color, a Canyon Coral with an Indian Ivory Roof. There are minor modifications but none will change the beauty and originality. Most of them will make it a fun and safer car to drive and enjoy for many more years to come. And I am hoping to enjoy it as much as I can before my kidney condition ties me down to dialysis. It indeed has been a long and happy, enjoyable friendship. Classic cars will always be the "The Heart Beat of America".

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