Memories. We all have them. Some are good, and some, well, not so good. For car guys, the memories we seem to gather most, revolve around those personal conveyances that either family members or friends had while we were growing up. I can say that with some certainty, because I’m a car guy, and my head is full of memories that involve many hot rods.
I can remember the first car that made me say, “wow” when I saw it. I can remember more than one experience that occurred in my first car. I can also remember many of the cars that I drooled over when I first started hanging out with the older car guys in the area of Hughesville, Pennsylvania, where I grew up. One of those cars was owned by a gentleman named Bob Neuhart. I didn’t personally know him very well, but his car is one that stands out in my early hot rod-filled memories. His ’57 Chevy is one of many that always made me wonder “where are they now?”.
It was during a chance conversation with Wilbur Shaner, caretaker of the Eagle’s Mere Auto Museum, that I finally learned the car had survived after all these years, and was infect, part of the museum collection. “The car has always been local, and we thought it would be cool to keep it in the area,” Wilbur said.
When the museum acquired the car, it was in “decent” shape, but did need some TLC. The car was taken to Cranmer’s Auto Body, where the quarter-panels and trunk floor were replaced. Since the car was a maroon/burgundy color while Bob owned it, it was painted a 1987 Dark Garnet Metallic. The frame is still stock, and simply received a refresh. One deviation from stock started many years ago, and remains today. When Bob was rebuilding the car, he had installed disc brakes that he removed from a ’72 Chevelle. When the museum rebuilt the car, those brakes – and the 12-bolt Nova rearend – were rebuilt and remain on the car.
The interior was also brought back to like-new condition with the help of Weaver’s Auto Upholstery in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. There never was anything overly flashy or fancy about the car’s interior, and it was basically restored to the same condition as Bob had done years ago. A few things that do stand out are the three-spoke Moon steering wheel, vintage Sun Super Tach, Hurst four-speed shifter, and the two-knob stereo.
The small-block engine that Bob ran was missing when the museum rebuild began, so another 350ci “motorvator” was acquired and installed. The new engine was removed from a show-worthy street rod, so no rebuilding was necessary. While the internal parts of the engine are unknown, it runs and looks great. The Saginaw four-speed connecting the engine and the 12-bolt is the same one that Bob rowed so many years ago.
While this particular hot rod does not surround a memory of a car that I once owned – which means it probably never participated in an legally questionable activities – it is still one that I am glad I had the opportunity to reconnect.
Now I want to hear from you guys. I am certain that there are a few special cars that spark a memory in you. We’re all car guys, and the memories of the hot rods we connected with while we were younger can cause us to recollect some great stories. Some of them might not even involve some of those questionably legal activities.