Iconic California customs set for HVA displays in Washington

The McGee Roadster is the embodiment of early hot rod design | Historic Vehicle Association photos
The McGee Roadster is the pure embodiment of early hot rod design | Historic Vehicle Association photos

Three iconic pieces of California custom-car culture take center stage next month on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as the Historic Vehicle Association displays the latest vehicles to be commemorated and recorded in the HVA National Historic Vehicle Register and archived in the U.S. Library of Congress.

The privately owned cars will be shown at separate times during the month in the HVA glass case on the walkway between the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum and the National Gallery of Art for passersby to see and admire. Continue reading

My Classic Car: Roxy’s 1950 Chevrolet Deluxe Business Coupe

$200 Chevrolet has a 409 under its hood
$200 Chevrolet has a 409 under its hood

I was 21 years old in 1963 and working at a bank when I was drafted. Naturally, I had to sell my 1962 Corvette.

Then, a couple weeks before I had to leave, the vice president of the bank pulled some strings and got me signed up in the National Guard, so my draft orders were cancelled. But I was left without a car. Continue reading

Unique ’57 Corvette prototype readied for Amelia Island Concours

The Corvette Super Sport prototype was introduced at the New York Auto Show | Amelai Island Concours archive
The Corvette Super Sport prototype was introduced at the New York Auto Show | Amelai Island Concours archive

After more than a half century of obscurity, the rarest of Corvettes will make its 21st Century debut March 12 at the 22nd annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Florida.

The 1957 Chevrolet Corvette Super Sport prototype was built for General Motors’ iconic Motorama shows in the 1950s, appearing for the first time in January 1957 at the New York Waldorf Astoria Auto Show, and then at the Chicago Auto Show. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1974 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

The Chevrolet Camaro Z28 is a second-generation coupe
The Chevrolet Camaro Z28 is a second-generation coupe

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the legendary Camaro, an event being celebrated at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in March. With that in mind, the Pick of the Day is a 1974 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 located in Fairfield, Ohio.

Model year 1974 was a watershed time for cars in the U.S. with new federal emissions and safety regulations. It was also the year that Ford delivered the downsized Mustang II and really started focusing more on economy than performance. Happily, Chevrolet did not follow suit and still offered the full-size Camaro with the V8-powered Z28 version for those of us who wanted a performance car. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS5

The Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 is said to be a well-preserved, all-original muscle car
The Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 is said to be a well-preserved, all-original muscle car

The Pick of the Day is one of the most desirable of big-block muscle cars, a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 coupe, which the seller says is an all-original survivor that looks as good and runs as well as when it came out of the factory.

This is the 360-horsepower LS5 version of the Chevelle SS 454, one tier down from the Holy Grail LS6 with its solid-lifter 454 that cranked out a conservatively rated 450 hp. Still, this LS5 with its heavy-duty Rock Crusher manual transmission should provide plenty of performance satisfaction. Continue reading

Amelia Island Concours to host Camaro’s 50th birthday party

The first Camaro ever built will be part of the concours display | Historic Vehicle Association
The first Camaro ever built will be part of the concours display | Historic Vehicle Association

General Motors was chasing the runaway success of the Ford Mustang when its designers began developing the prototype Chevrolet Camaro. Behind closed doors, a dream team that included such GM stars as Pete Estes, Ed Cole and John DeLorean quickly created a sports coupe that ran right to the heart for Chevy fans.

The design phase was very hush-hush, according to GM insiders, with even the skeptical company brass kept in the dark until the completed Camaro prototype was revealed to them. They were wowed by the sophisticated design of the four-seat coupe, which had been honed by wind-tunnel testing.

For 1967, Camaro was added to the Chevrolet lineup as an unprecedented sixth model. Continue reading

Restoration starts on last of the repairable sinkhole Corvettes

1962 Corvette is pushed from the Skydome to the garage where it will undergo restoration | Corvette museum photos
1962 Corvette is pushed from the Skydome to the garage where it will undergo restoration | Corvette museum photos

Three years after the sinkhole beneath the Skydome opened and swallowed eight cars at the National Corvette Museum, work to restore the last of the restorable cars has begun at the museum, where visitors can view that work in progress. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1979 Corvette ‘Speed Racer Mach 5’

The Speed Racer Mach 5 is a drivable custom treatment of a 1979 Corvette
The Speed Racer Mach 5 is a drivable custom treatment of a 1979 Corvette

If driving a collector car is all about fantasy and nostalgia, then here’s a unique sort of custom Corvette that knocks that into the next galaxy.

“Go Speed Racer Go!” everyone would shout when they spot you in the Pick of the Day, an actual Speed Racer Mach 5 like the one featured in the Saturday morning adventure cartoon. The seller, a dealer in Katy, Texas, assures us that this is just a replica and not the real thing, although it sure looks like it just drove out of the Anime world. Continue reading

My Classic Car: Chase’s 1947 Chevrolet Thriftmaster pickup

'Old Blue' has been owned by two families since new
‘Old Blue’ has been owned by two families since new

Hi there. My name is Old Blue. I was bought brand new at Tommy Thompson Chevrolet in Ulysses, Kansas, in 1947 by Arthur Newby. I am 69 years old and am only on my second family.

I have been passed around and through those two families.

My original owner, Arthur, wasn’t very good about changing my oil. He would buy one quart of oil, drain a quart out of me and add the new quart. Nowadays, I get my oil changed on a regular basis, every spring Chase pulls me into the shop and changes my oil and checks me over. Chase and Gary take wonderful care of me.

I have a 6-cylinder, 216-cubic-inch engine, three-speed transmission and absolutely no rust anywhere on me.

Chase and Grandpa
Chase and Grandpa

I was originally maroon, but that faded pretty quickly, Arthur had me painted green. After Arthur passed, I was passed on to Willie Patton, Arthur’s nephew by marriage. Willie didn’t like me green, so I was painted blue. That was 40 years ago.

I am still original, except for just a few little things like my water pump and fuel pump.

Willie traded me in for a newer Chevrolet in 1987. I was traded into Riley Ford. Sherie, the owner, thought I would be a great gift for her husband, Gary. After I was traded in, Alvin Lance came to talk to Gary, he was afraid that Gary was going to turn me into a hot rod. Gary promised Alvin that he would not do anything like that, he said that I would stay exactly as I was.

But he did say that if he ever did anything to me, he would restore me back 100 percent original. Alvin and Gary became great friends, when Alvin and his wife were chosen “pioneers of the year,” Gary drove them in the parade. Alvin and his wife wanted Gary to haul them in my bed but it was too hot that day so Alvin’s grandson drove me while Gary hauled Alvin and his wife in a newer air conditioned car.

While I was still being taken care of by Gary, a kind employee decided to clean my engine bay up, in the process of that he spilt brake cleaner on my right front fender. That is why it looks like my paint job isn’t very good on my fender.

Gary has taken care of me until his grandson, Chase, got his driver’s license. That was 2013. Then, later in 2013, I was passed along to Chase.

You may have noticed that my driver side windshield wiper is broken off. When Chase was about 3 or 4 years old, he was playing in me one night. I guess it was raining in the garage, because Chase was leaning out the window and ran the wiper with his hands. Needless to say, he got a little violent with me and broke my wiper off.

Unfortunately, Arthur passed away in May of 1982 at the age of 67. Everybody else who has owned my is still alive and well. Harold Lance, Willie and Marcella Patton are now well into their eighties but still come out to see me when their grandkids, who are now fully grown, come back to town.

That is my life story, thank you for taking the time to read it.

— Chase Trahern, Ulysses, Kansas

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