My Chevy Memories
written by Carl:
Your comments about this column are welcome ~ e-mail Carl at
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Driving down to the freeway, I passed by a restaurant that has old car shows every Tuesday afternoon,
and was immediately carried back to my first car. I spied it from the street and pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant, and
there it was, a 1953 Chevy Bel-Air 4 door sedan, in Driftwood Grey with whitewall tires.
16, and my dad said I could look at used cars as long as he was with me. We went all around the area, and found a lot of used cars
for sale, but nothing caught my eye, or available funds I could spend. A few days later, we heard that a friend of my father, had
a 1953 Chevy Bel-Air for sale, that was in great condition and not too expensive. We saw it, and it was love at first sight for me,
sleek, grey, and with beautiful whitewall tires.
We tried it out, I loved it of course, and my dad negotiated the price. Off we drove
with my new car, proud was an understatement, I was ecstatic, and of course had to show it off to all my friends the minute we got
I was in high school during the late 50’s in Southern California and all of us looked and acted
like we then belonged in the movie Grease. Most of my friends were on the football team with me, and we thought we were too cool!
After school, and on free periods in school, we all met at the local hangout, “Bob’s Big Boy.” We probably spent as much time there
as we did in school. Food, friends, and fun, was the theme of that era for all of us.
We loved showing
off our cars. Most of us tried to outdo each other, and would do whatever we could to our cars to be different. I worked for my dad
in his cleaning store and at a local market part time as a box boy. Saved up some money, and with three of my friends we drove down
to Mexico on a weekend to have the interior of my car redone. It was well known that we could go there and have all kinds of things
done to our cars at cheaper prices.
There we were across the border looking for an upholstery shop that
took out the standard cars seat covers and put in leather “Tuck and Roll” upholstery. Tuck and roll was just as the name sounds, it
was a tuck and roll pattern made up by using either a foam or padding, and then sewing the material into that pattern. When completed,
the covers white and grey with the smell of new leather were put back on the seats, and for all of us we were again too cool!
next week was a plethora of showing off to everyone I could find but being cool about it. Meeting daily at Bob’s Big Boy and having
many friends drool over my car was very exciting.
Most of the week went well until one Wednesday a couple
of weeks after we came back from redoing the interior; I had left my car on the sidewalk outside school where most of us parked. Came
out of school to find my car had been hit, smashed on the driver’s side from the front to the back doors. My life was over that terrible
day, and nothing anyone could say would help me to get out of my funk.
My car was taken to the repair
shop, and there we were told the horrible news that my car couldn’t be fixed and it was totaled. I had no insurance as yet and my
world sunk even deeper. No car.
I finished high school without a car, and learned that my life would
go on. Driving down the street the other day and seeing a 1953 Chevy Bel-Air in driftwood grey again after all these years brought
some bitter sweet memories back. Guess I choose to remember the brief good times I had with my first car, and look upon it as wonderful