Think of it as kind of like an automotive version one of those makeover shows, when they take a frumpy housewife and transform her into a pinup model.
Case in point, check out this 1951 Chevy Bel Air. Obviously an older build with billet wheels and red lines, yesteryear build tolerances and an unfortunate color combo. It was spotted on CL Los Angeles and the seller touts the following attributes:
1951 Chevy Two-door Bel Air Custom
- “Family Jewel, ” a tribute car paying homage to a late ’50’s/early ’60’s custom that graced over thirty magazine covers of the era.
- 1974 Corvette chassis, 327ci V8 with 350TH automatic
- ’60 Olds grille
- Rounded hood corners
- Nosed and decked
- Two-Tone paint “Burgundy Mist” and White
- 1956 Chevy rear quarters
- ’61 Comet taillights
- One piece windshield
- ’56 Olds front fenders
- Fuel cell
- Custom interior
- Colorado Custom Wheels
The seller is asking almost $80,000.
After you recover from the sticker shock, we ask the question, what would you do with this car?
If it were us, we’d have to put on our thinking cap. Regardless of tack taken, we would run this old sled through a safety check, with the brakes first thing on the list. This is obviously a home built rod so we’d make sure we had a fully charged fire extinguisher on-board at all times. We’d clean the thing from stem to stern, and access what works and what doesn’t.
Having said all that, here are the options:
Option A – Leave it as is, hoping that, like 60’s bell bottoms, car fashion makes a 360 degree loop and all of the sudden this thing is cool again. The ’80 Olds Cutlass steering wheel, the big Kleenex box console and the old school billet gauges would be hard to co-mingle with harmoniously today. Because this is a tribute car, one can argue it has little provenance to preserve. Also the most prudent thing to do might be just drive it for a year and see what it “asks” for. Old mechanical devices have a remarkable ability to transmit their needs, aka, leaving you on the side of the road.
Option B – First off, we would ditch the billet wheels and replace with Detroit Mobsteel wheels, Tru-Spoke wires or Supremes mounted on medium width whitewall tires. The next item launched into the dumpster would be the late model Olds steering wheel. We’d custom build a CON2R wheel and match the pink and white interior. The console is really bad and it takes up a lot of room as well. We’d nix the”Family Jewel II” moniker on the fender as well.
Option C – Enter it in the next demolition derby, jump 10 school buses in the thing, or drive it off a cliff?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section? ‘Til next time!