Todd Puzey is a City of Calgary, Alberta Canada firefighter (a city of over a million people) so it’s more than fair to say that he’s seen a significant amount of action on the job.In fact, he’s literally pulled people out of burning buildings during the course of his career.
The public at large recognizes the built–in dedication, training, mental and physical skills that firefighters bring to work every day.
We truly respect those traits as a constant in an occupation where life and death decisions are routine.
Todd decided to apply his dedication, training and organization to an outside activity-a car restoration.
It was a great decision…
Most firefighters have outside activities for a very solid reason-stress relief. In Todd’s case, climbing under a dirty, greasy car was a welcome sight after a tough shift.
Believe it or not he found that taking on a nasty job like scraping decades of grime off a rusty undercarriage “was a great escape after a tough day”. As we all know, a tough day for a firefighter is a lot worse than a paper jam in the copier.
But Todd had another reason to take on his first restoration as he explained in his own words, “As a tribute to my late father who passed away when I was 17. We all have sign post memories of childhood, whether it be Christmas, birthdays, an old pet etc; a very early imprint for me was my Dad’s 1967 Dodge Coronet 500.
It was my first “date” with a car, and I loved it immediately. Why? Maybe it was the great color combination; red car, black top and black interior with chrome accents.
Maybe it was the very cool console and shifter which I can vividly remember like it was a favorite toy of childhood.
Or, maybe it was the fact that the car was my chariot and stood in the driveway for all of my favorite childhood memories.
Maybe because I also remember for the rest of his life if you got a few drinks into my Dad and got him telling stories, he inevitably talked about his regrets of selling the Coronet (he hit the famous “family man” wall that has been the downfall of many cool cars over the years so when my sister came along the Coronet was parlayed into a station wagon). That car is still like an old friend.
So it was always at the top of my list when I started the hunt for a good project car to restore”.
Like most car guys, Todd’s personal link with the past was a huge factor for choosing this particular project-a 1966 Coronet 2 door hardtop.
Cars like non-hemi Coronets won’t grace the front pages of most car magazines but in actual fact taking on a more obscure car like a 66 Dodge Coronet more correctly represents the true essence of the hobby.
Less glamorous cars like 66 Dodges are much harder to part source but a quest to bring one back to honor a father’s favorite car is the purest motivation you can have in old car world.
Unlike a 1971 Hemicuda recreation, Todd’s Coronet 500 is a tribute car in the truest sense of the word-look for Part 2 of the 66 Coronet project very soon.
Jerry Sutherland @mystarcollectorcar.com
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