One of my first postings in the Suede and Chrome blog involved a HUGE 1985 Dodge 15 passenger van my family has affectionately dubbed "GREAT WHITE". The van was given to me by a high school friend of mine.
When I got the van, it had no passenger seats. My father and I made a 1-day trip to Nashville Tenn. to pick up a set of seats for the van I bought on eBay for $50.00. I've had the van tuned up and we have used it as a truck to haul various things...(mainly items to and from garage sales, etc.)
Originally, when I got the van, the previous owner (Northern Kentucky University) had spray painted black paint over round Kentucky State Seal decals on the doors. I used a blow dryer to heat the decals and remove them, put a lot of the black paint remained on the doors. My father was able to remove the black paint this summer, however the decals removed some of the paint on the doors.
I've been looking on eBay all summer for a set of decals that would cover an 8 inch circle on both doors. Last week, I found a set of 12 inch mooneyes decals that would do just the trick. Today, I put the decals on the doors. They look pretty good...I'm thinking about taking the hubcaps off of the van, painting the rims a bright yellow to match the decals and having my chromeplating buddy plate the lugnuts. Maybe I'll look for some more vintage racing decals to put on the windows or rear doors of the van...I could easily make this thing look like a dragstrip push vehicle! Maybe some young kid will see it sitting in my yard and make me an offer!
During the multiple bike rides I took today, I stopped at a couple of my neighbors houses to see how their projects are coming along. My friend that is always trading cars has had a 1939 Chevrolet pickup and a 1971 Chevrolet pickup since my last posting. The '39 was in and out of his possession during the week I was on vacation, so I didn't even get to see it. I looked at the '71 today...longbed, light blue in color. It's a driver.
This evening, I rode my bike past another neighbor's house who has been working on a 1953 Chevrolet 4-door sedan. I've been curious as too his progress and was excited to see him driving around his barnyard! He has the entire chassis off of the car. He has restored the frame and drivetrain. He has a late model bench seat and the gas tank temporarily mounted with two x fours on the frame so he can drive it around the yard. I stopped to talk with him and he told me a little history on the car, and why it is taking so long to restore (he has had it for about 6 or 7 years).
The car is a 1953, but it was built in 1954 in Africa! GM sold the tooling to Canada, then Canada sold the tooling to Africa. He has some of the original paper work from Monacco. A lot of the paperwork is in French. Because the car was assembled in Africa, it has some "odd ball" parts that did not appear on American built 1953's. The car has a 235 straight 6 with a powerglide transmission.
The story is that he bought the car at a local auction. The guy who owned the car before him had supposedly bought it from a sailor. The original owner had served in the Navy oversees in Africa. My neighbor has the paperwork showing that the car had been shipped by the Navy from Africa to New York. From there the original owner brought the car to Indiana.
My neighbor has tried to learn the history of the car by using carfax.com. However, since the car has an African serial number, the website doesn't recognize it. He also told me that he took the paint number off of the car to a local auto paint store. The guy told him the paint number matched a paint code for a Plymouth, not a Chevrolet. Obviously the African built car is quite unique.