MAY 24, 2014 (JUNE 2014): A CAR GUY SON DOES AN AMAZING THING FOR HIS CAR GUY FATHER

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The 1955 Chevy is the first year model of a trio of consecutive year Chevy models that remain the most popular vehicles ever built by the General.

 

They are known collectively as the Tri-fives and many car guys would love to own one.

 

We spotted a beautiful 1955 Chevy at a car show and wanted to find its owner among the crowd of onlookers.

 

 

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His name was Walter Klukas and he had a great story to tell about how he became the proud owner of this ’55: It was a gift from his son.

 

Walter’s son Don decided to surprise his dad with one of the most memorable gifts of his life when he handed Walter the keys to the Chevy. Don was well aware of his dad’s fondness for Chevys from that mid-50s era and knew how much Walter had wanted to own one.

 

It will come as no surprise the process to complete the car project was a lot more complicated than Don’s initial forecast.

 

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Don purchased the ’55 as a car “ready for paint”, according to the previous owner, and instead found a car that “came home in boxes”, in his words.

 

One of the biggest challenges in the car hobby is to sort through the carnage of a foolish decision to strip a car down to its parts with no real game plan.

 

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These are giant puzzles with scattered pieces because the previous owner took a post-fall Humpty Dumpty approach to his car and this scenario was the start line for Don and his good friend Rick Schmaltz.

 

The two buddies began the project in 2010 and finished the ’55 in 2013, a remarkable achievement, given the condition of the car when they first started the adventure.

 

They did a frame-off restoration on the Chevy and even powder-coated the frame before they put the body back on it.

 

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Don had always been interested in cars and developed a sizable array of skills since he first worked on his high school car years ago.

 

One of the strongest characteristics of a good builder is patience because things will take longer than anticipated almost every time.

 

A case in point was the bright work on the Chevy because the stainless steel trim took three months to straighten and polish before it was ready to put back on the car.

 

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The ’55 retains most of its stock appearance, even its paint scheme is an original color combination from the factory.

 

However, Don added a few modifications like a 350 Ram Jet crate engine and a 700R overdrive transmission to make his father’s new present a very driveable road machine. In fact, Walter drives the ’55 to the golf course as part of a regular routine.

 

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The car also has power disc brakes added into the mix because Don wanted Walter to have every safety advantage while on the road with his Chevy.

 

We make no secret about our mission to find the story behind the car and run with that idea as the basis for our storyline in our articles.

 

Congratulations Walter, you raised a great son and gave us a great story.

 

Jim Sutherland

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