Letting Go:

LETTING GO: Over the years I have turned down a number of offers for my ’62 Bel Air- sometimes less than politely. Lately, I have had a change of heart- the old girl needs a new caretaker. Notice I didn’t use the word ‘owner’? There is no doubt in my mind the Bel Air will out-live me, just as it did it’s original owner. And, no. I’m not sick.

The fact is that I have a yard-full of projects and a hand-full of projects I personally want to finish for myself. The rest are FOR SALE. The Bel Air admittedly is my nicest and most valuable car. But, I don’t want to be the one to restore it.

I bought the car in May 1990 to resurrect the ’62 ‘Bat Outta Hell’ car you see at the top of the page. This was my favourite car of all time. I even kept the ‘killer’ 355 that I street raced the first Bel Air with. My intention was to get the replacement car home and build it like I would have if I had the means to keep the Bat Outta Hell car.

What I discovered while driving the Bel Air back from British Columbia (Where the original owner’s son in law had taken the car after the lady had passed away.) was that the car ran and drove beautifully. So much so that the car seemed to have a soul. How can you mess with that? I did for a while. I even had the Bat Outta Hell’s engine in the car and all I needed to do was wire it up. I never did. A traffic accident with the 4 door BelAir I dropped the original engine into convinced me to put the coupe back together- as GM built it.

Over the years, the old girl has worn some cool shoes (Cragar S/S and American Racing 200S wheels.) I also have Corvette rally wheels with ‘cheater’ slicks and cop-car hubcaps. I even gave it some jewellery in the form of crossed flags and 409 scripts. (I still have a 450 horse 409″ small block.) That’s not going to happen either.

One (Only one?) thing that really bugs me about all of the ‘restoration’ shows that we see on TV is that 90% of the original car gets thrown away and replaced with new parts- let alone some of these ‘resto-mods’. So much for preserving the car’s soul. My plan was to patch up the original sheet metal instead of wholesale replacement. However, I think one could be forgiven if the entire interior was replaced. The sun and mice haven’t been good to it, so, some new lingerie might be appreciated.

Sure, I have a ton of B.S. stories about the car that does nothing to increase its provenance, but it does deserve someone who will respect the car for its originality. It still has its original 283 and 2-speed powerglide transmission- NOT a 409! With a little work, the car could once again be a reliable driver. This is a rare car considering the natural attrition since 1962, the two-tone paint scheme was low production; (This is one of 3 I have seen.) and like an un-molested ’49-’51 Merc, an original small block car is now a rare sight.

It will take in the neighbourhood of $35,000. CAD to be the Bel Air’s next owner. (For any would-be low-ballers out there, that is the OFO price.) Sure, I’m placing a high value on the car, but if you are going to be its next care-taker- so should you. Have a look on the Chrome N Rust feature page for photos of the Bel Air

Written by chromenrus826675

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