Shawn and his wife, Lorraine picked up not one, but two cars at an auction in Dallas not too long ago. This is exactly what happens when car lovers to go to an auction – you just never know what you might run into…and what you mind end up driving home!
Shawn was actually there to buy this beautiful Viper.
But then, Lorraine, all of a sudden, spotted a 1956 Belair that she immediately fell in love with. She loved the looks, the Saturday Night Red color of the Belair and bid on it. It just so happened that the body of the car was in great shape but the interior and engine needed some work. No big deal – Shawn knows a lot of people in town who work on cars, so they drove the car back home.
Here it is all fixed up…lookin’ good!
Shawn spent about $5K on the 350 cubic-inch short block motor in the car which provides a decent amount of power – definitely enough for a car like this. You can hear and feel the exhaust because it’s right underneath you! And that is a good thing since it adds to the driving experience of a ’56 Bel Air.
Shawn’s team did a great job overhauling the interior – I’m glad they didn’t really mess with the interior by modernizing it. Most of the dash is still original and you can easily tell that this car was built in the 50s. This restoration was a job well done.
The ’56 Bel Air is now Shawn and Lorraine’s show car which has already won a couple awards. They created a fake tray of food to put on window just like you would at the drive-ins of the 50s and 60s; they even created a brochure – “Lorraine’s Drive-In”. Back then, the car was such an important part of your life – it is part of what you defined. I sound like I know what I’m talking about, but I really don’t.
As you would expect of a car built in the 50s, you sit on these big couches inside which are pretty comfy without any seat belts. It has an open airy feeling in the interior. When we were driving around, it felt like we were relaxing in a living room on wheels and instead of a TV to stare at we were looking out onto the open road. I just wish I had a burger from Lorraine’s Drive-In to chomp on.
It was a nice ride. Without any power steering, it’s not the easiest to drive but once you get moving, steering isn’t a chore anymore.
Think of all that the car has witnessed over almost six decades. Can you imagine some of the stories the past owners of this car would share?
Here are some of the interesting things Shawn showed me about the car.
– The gas tank opening is through the rear taillight.
– The original spare wheel is still there! It’s lasted almost 60 years – unbelievable!
– The best part? Shawn has a little 1:16 die cast Belair inside.
I think anyone can appreciate these older classic cars, especially one that looks as good as their Bel Air. They got a great deal on it and with the work they’ve put into it, they could easily turn a profit if they sold the car. And who knows what the value of the car might be years from now.
After the Bel Air, Shawn took me out for a ride in his convertible Viper and his Carrera 4S. I’m jealous that he gets to drive three such totally different cars. He’s got his classic car, his speed demon and the ultimate driver’s car.
It’s not every day that you meet a true auto enthusiast that can appreciate cars of all kinds. Shawn is one of the few.
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