JULY 2017: ’56 DODGE REGENT—THIS PLODGE WILL NEVER LEAVE THE FAMILY

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There’s a commitment hierarchy in the car hobby and it runs on a scale from 1 to 10.

 

‘If you’re at a commitment  level of 1 this means you have so little attachment to old iron you’ll sell it before the ink on the bill of sale is dry—in fact, you’re working the room for potential buyers within seconds of the transaction.’

 

A commitment level of 10 means you’d have to pry the old car or truck from the owner’s cold, dead hands.

 

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Kevin Halwa is at a 10 level of commitment to his ’56 Dodge Regent 4-door sedan because this car has so many important family connections it’s part of the Halwa genealogy.

 

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Kevin explained how this old Dodge came into the family. His grandfather was visiting his sister in Victoria, BC, Canada when the park brake quit on his Chevy so he pulled into a dealer near his sister’s place to get the car fixed.

 

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Kevin’s grandfather was walking off the lot because his sister only lived a few blocks away when the dealer stopped him and told him, “nobody walks off my lot” so he tossed him the keys to a brand new ’56 Dodge Regent.

 

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Kevin admitted his grandfather was a self-described “Chevy guy” but the dealer’s sales instincts were good because Grandpa came home to the family farm in the new Dodge.

 

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Kevin’s grandfather started a trend in his hometown when he added the aftermarket rear antennas to the car. Kevin said, “Every guy in town had them two weeks later”. 

 

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He enjoyed many happy years in the ’56 Regent but eventually the car went through the “shove it to the back 40” farm recycling program.

 

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Kevin’s father used the Dodge as a wedding car so he had a strong attachment to the car and Kevin’s own wedding was coming up back in the late 90s so the two of them took on the big job of reviving the ’56 Regent.

 

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Kevin said his dad got the idea to restore the car back in the mid-80s and he handled all the mechanicals but he realized he “knew nothing about body work”. The project went into a hiatus until the whole family pitched in to finish the job.

 

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Kevin and his dad took on the rest of the car and his mom jumped into the upholstery side of the project.  They had the deadline looming for the wedding and they cut it close, as Kevin explained; “We had it done two days before the wedding” and there was a bit of scare when the car “wouldn’t start because the starter was gone”.

 

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Kevin had some serious luck with a new windshield because no one would take the risk to ship one to Canada from California so he phoned a local wrecker. Even though the guy laughed he looked in his yard and found two of them and sold them for $50.00 apiece.

 

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He took the starter to a local guy and the guy told Kevin he’d get it back in “a couple of weeks” and Kevin told him about the wedding so the guy told him to come back after lunch. He not only had it done—he wouldn’t take any money for it. He called it a wedding present.

 

Kevin was lucky enough to give his grandfather a 90th birthday ride in the ’56 Dodge and he said the old guy “really enjoyed it”. Unfortunately, Kevin’s dad and his grandfather are both gone now but they both had time to enjoy the revival of this family heirloom.

 

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Kevin loves the fact he’s the third owner of the Plodge (Canadian Dodge) and his son will be the 4th owner.

 

‘That’s a level 10 commitment because this Plodge will never leave the family.’

 

Jerry Sutherland

 

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