Friday, November 16, 2012

1955 Chevrolet - The Dream, The Possibility and The Reality

If you were brought up in a General Motors family, a 1955 Chevrolet Convertible was every kids dream....well not exactly a dream, because you could build yourself a $1.98 model of one with the actual dream of possibly owning one at some point in time during your adult life.  As most of you know I became a hard nosed hot rod builder through the years, but MY dream was to own a 1955 Chevrolet...not just any '55 Chevy, but a convertible.  Read on and click all pictures to enlarge them.

This following photo is the start of the story.  By clicking on this picture, you can see a building here on the corner of Syndicate Ave. and Donald St. called Noll's Motor Company.  This is a photo of the 1939 King George Visit and motorcade as it cruised through Fort William many years before I was born, but Knoll Motors(a Studebaker dealership of the day) would be the place I would view my first 1955 Chevrolet years later.
 If you look closely at this photo and the one below, it is one and the same building.  Kam Motors, where my father was the body shop manager for 30 years had purchased this building in the early 1950s.  They later filled in the gas pump fill area to make a show room and called it Kam Motors Depot(the main business was on Leith Street)......story to continue below.

This is how the corner looks today!

In late September of 1954, Kam Motors was having their annual new car showing and 1955 was a banner year for Chevrolet as they were introducing their revolutionary new design and new V8 engine that became the iconic V8 that most hot rodders used until this very day.  My father had taken myself and a couple of friends to the depot a few days before the showing to give us a teaser of what we were to see in the show-room a few days later.  The cars were all covered up and when he took the cover off one of the cars, it was the very one shown in the brochure page below.  It was a two-tone Tahiti Coral and Charcoal Grey Iridescent 2-door hardtop with which I instantly fell in love with and still feel the same about to this day.

 Here is the RM page 1 and 2 colour charts  showing both colours on the second page.  I was only 10 years old, but I knew from that time forward that I would love the '55 Chevrolet.  The following portions of a mint brochure and these colour charts are in my collection.

Before we continue, check out this cool 1955 Chevrolet commercial, and if you had a colour television at the time, this is what it would look like.  If any ads appear while watching this, just "X" them out, and click on the arrow to view.

I made many drawings from this brochure and had it tucked into a school book or two to admire it back in the day!


So here I was 10 years old....6 years to go to drive and wanted one of these.....Now that was a huge DREAM for sure.

 Well....this is what I found so many years later right here in Fort William, well actually rural Port Arthur.  A wonderful friend of my dads and my own who just passed away earlier this year, Ed Maybee had this great but rough '55 Chevy Convertible.....and of course I had to bring it home.  WOW...look at that '57 Chevy more-door hardtop up on the hill...It looked just like the one I owned in 1964.

 I did bring it home to find that the exterior was in fairly good condition, but the chassis was terribly rusted out as well as the floor boards and trunk.  It also had a ton of bondo(body filler) all over, with chunks actually falling off.  This was the mid 1970's and there wasn't much in after-market components....just a few patch panels and that was it.  Today you can purchase every single individual part on this car if you could afford it.   Well...Yes, I did purchase it for only $100., but however, spent about $600. on it and turned a hundred dollar profit and sold it for $800.  I wish I had it today as it would have been a lot easier to restore, but alas, I didn't keep it and went on to build some hot rods.

The only 1955 Chevrolet I owned was a sedan delivery, back in the late 1960's while I was still dreaming of my convertible.  My wife and I loved this car.  We used it for camping and also for hauling my stock car to Riverview Raceways

Well here I am...still a gearhead at heart and would still like to own a 1955 Chevrolet Convertible......which is pretty much out of reach now, but not for trying.
I hope I didn't bore you with this little story but it does fit nicely into the title of "Hot Rods and Jalopies"
Thanks to all of you that send emails from near and far....I always read them all, enjoy them immensely and answer what I can.....Dave


Bob Parkins said...

Great post. Brings to mind 1960, when this Westfort dude was going out with a girl from the north end of Port Arthur -- 13 miles away. She, however, had her own car -- a 1955 Chev, pale green and white, given her by her mechanic father. It was an absolute joy to drive. And it meant we could get around without the 10-cents-a-mile tariff levied by my father when I used the family car.

Dave Cano said...

Been there - done that too, but soon after I was 16, my dad did me up a '49 Chevy so I wouldn't use the family car at all, and had to buy my own insurance to boot!