01 February 2014
1953 Chevy 1/2-Ton
"A Family Addiction"
From Larry :
This 1953 Chevy 1/2-ton is my Father's old truck. He bought it about 10 years ago half finished. He put in a 355 Chevy motor with a 350 automatic transmission. He installed a Camaro front end and a Nova rear end, and a bunch of other stuff. So, obviously, he finished the restoration!
Dad calls it his daily driver. The paint color is a medium Scion Blue Chevy.
Dad also has a 1951 Merc and a 1931 Plymouth that he still works on.
Dad has always been a wrench turner. When I was real little, he worked at a body shop painting cars. When he got a job with Caterpillar, he still painted cars on the side.
Dad is over 70 years old and just this weekend, he put a new dash in the Merc -- even when it's this cold! (But he's got a nice, heated garage!) When he was going to take the tranny out of the '53, I asked him when he was going to do it and I'd come over and help. He's about 70 miles west of me in Decatur. He said, "Already done!"
I learned a lot about these old vehicles from Dad. I wouldn't be into this hobby if it weren't for him. We believe it is a family addiction (as my son is about to finish Cleveland Technical School -- and we are looking at a '65 for him!).
Dad influenced me in my car career. In 1980 I got my first car -- a 1968 Camaro. We had to re-do a lot of sheet metal work on it. It had a vinyl top and we made it a hard top. When it was done ... it got me in a lot of trouble. So we sold it.
In 1970 I had a Challenger for a while. I got in trouble with that one too -- Dad caught me drag racing.
When he painted my Camaro, I was the sander ... He taught me how to paint but I haven't done anything yet. I think he'll let me paint my own truck! He's gonna supervise, he said. I think he just doesn't want to paint anymore.
My Dad has a Mystery Cruise around here in the Fall when the leaves are changing colors. There are about 25 to 30 classic vehicles that cruise around. We end up at the state park with a picnic.
We also go to the "Newport Auto Antique Hill Climb." It is an international antique auto up-hill, timed event held each year in the small Indiana town of Newport, an event that attracts huge crowds to a town with a population of less than 600 people. Automobiles, trucks and motorcycles from the steam, brass, vintage, antique and classic eras, make timed runs from a standing start, up a steep hill to a finish line 1,800 feet away.
This Hill Climb is an Indiana auto event second in size only to the annual "Indianapolis Speed Way" events.
In 1909, Newport Hill was part of the main road running north to south that connected Northern Indiana and Terre Haute. The hill had been used from time to time by a few automobile manufacturers for testing their cars. Maybe, that is what triggered the Hill Climb contest idea.
The first Hill Climb contest took place in 1909 and was promoted by local merchants. There were large crowds in those early years. People came by horse and buggy, automobile and chartered train. One newspaper wrote that every Danville, Illinois automobile was in Newport.
By 1916, other auto racing events took attention away from the Hill Climb and it was discontinued. In 1963, the Hill Climb was resurrected by the Newport Volunteer Fire Department. The crowd was estimated at 7,500 the following year, but the VFD lost money and the event was discontinued after two tries.
In 1968, a new Newport Lions Club was chartered by a group of local area men. One of the charter members asked fellow members to sponsor the defunct Hill Climb. The 1st annual Lions Club Newport Hill Climb took place the following month. There were 80 competition entrants in the 13 classes that first year.
Today's Hill Climbs have evolved into technically sophisticated events with hundreds of supporting volunteers and huge international crowds all stuffed into a small town for an entire weekend! (Taken from the Newport Lions' Club website -- check the website. It has some cool pictures of the vehicles that enter the Climb and a great long-shot of the hill! ~ Editor).
My Dad and his '53 Chevy truck. I loved it so ... I started looking and found my 1940 Chevy 1/2-ton.
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