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1957 Chevy Is Car of a Lifetime

By Mikey Jones

Please tell us a little bit about yourself:
As long as I can remember I’ve been into cars, probably because my dad was a mechanic and owned his own shop for most of my childhood. When I was 14 I started to really show an interest in vehicles. I had earned up some money doing side jobs, and had about $1000 saved up so I told my dad I wanted to restore something. He told me he would help me and teach me everything he knew about vehicles, but he made me promise to never become a mechanic as a profession— he didn’t want me to end up hating something I loved so much. Although, when he asked me what type of car I was looking for I said “I want my favorite car; I want a ‘57 Chevy,” he responded, “good luck with that, everyone wants that car”. But, after patience and persistence I found myself a 1957 4-door sedan Bel Air.

How did you first learn about Cool Rides Online?
On a ‘57 Chevy owners group on Facebook, someone posted his ride for the ride of the month to vote. I voted for his car and started taking a look at the website.

What Cool Rides do you currently own?
1957 Chevy Bel Air 4 Door Sedan (finished)
1957 Chevy Bel Air 4 Door Hardtop (this is a back burner project, the wife made me promise I can’t really jump into this build until our now 10 month old son is old enough to help me).
1954 Nash Metropolitan (this car is in the middle of restoration, my wife said she wanted one and I told her I would find one and restore it for her).

Now tell us a little about your favorite “Cool Ride”; what makes it special?
The ’57 Bel Air the car I fell in love with ever since I can really remember. What makes my finished 4 door sedan so special to me is that my dad and I restored it together when I was a teenager and into my early 20s.  When most teens want nothing to do with their parents, that car helped me continue to stay close to my dad. Although we had struggles with the restoration process, there is nothing I would have changed about the process.

What’s next for your Cool Ride?  Planning additional work for it or maybe a special trip/cruise?
Although a classic car is never done, for the most part my 4 door sedan is “done”. Although just about every year I find new additions to add to it. This past Christmas my dad bought me fender skirts for it. I haven’t put them on yet because I’m in the process of painting them and I want it to match perfectly to the paint job already on the car, so I’m just taking my time. Eventually I would love to put a continental kit on the car as well as add AC to it, because living in the Phoenix AZ area, driving the car in the summer can be difficult.

What’s your favorite memory involving your Cool Ride?
Although restoring it with my dad was the first awesome memory with the vehicle, I’ve made sure other very important memories have been made with the car. The wife and I (at the time she was still my girlfriend) would like to go for cruises on the weekends in the car.  One day when taking her for a drive I thought I heard something knocking around in the trunk, so I pulled over opened the trunk and asked her to come help me. When she got to the back of the car I was down on one knee and had a ring in my hand and asked her to marry me.

In recent memory making, our son was born March 2016, and I drove him home from the hospital in my Bel Air. Not many children today will ever be able to say the first vehicle they rode in was a 1957 Chevy.

What was the most difficult modification you’ve completed on any of your Cool Rides?
For the 57, it originally came with the inline 6 235 motor and standard transmission. A friend of mine had a 1979 3/4 Ton van he as getting rid of that had a 350 motor and a 400 transmission. I asked him if I could have the motor and transmission, he said “if you pull it, you can have it” so I went out and bought an engine hoist and pulled it out of the van before the junk yard came to pick up the van.

At this point I decided to put the motor and transmission in my ’57. The car was already painted and “done” at this point but now I was basically going to gut the drive train and spruce it up. Changing the motor and transmission, I figured if I had everything out already, this would be a good time to put rack and pinion steering in the car. Since I was doing that I should put disc brakes in it, along with a power brake booster.  It became a domino effect, because now that I had power steering in the vehicle I had to put a new steering column in.  Needless to say a free motor and transmission (that I still had to rebuild) ended up being a very long process, but worth every minute and dime.

What is your dream car to own if money was not an issue?
I already own my dream car, but if money was not an issue I would like to continue my collection, since I already have 2 body styles (4 door sedan and 4 door hard top) I’d like to get a 2 door hard top, 2 door sedan, convertible, nomad, truck and corvette—just to have the complete ‘ 57 Chevy collection.

Taking care of collector vehicles is not easy.  Do you have any special tips on how to take care of your Cool Rides in and out of storage?
Sometimes in the Phoenix summer I don’t get a chance to drive the car, and she stays parked in the garage for weeks at a time. To make sure the battery doesn’t drain, I have a kill switch on the battery to make sure it does not get drained. If I know it’s going to be sitting for an extended period of time I will put the car cover on it just to keep the dust off.

When I decide to wash and wax her to get ready for car show season, it typically takes me 4 – 5 hours to clean, wax and make her look spotless. As a result I tell people that my car is made of sugar and I do not take it out if there is even a hint of rain.

Is there anything else you’d like the Cool Rides Online members to know about you?
If you’re in the Surprise AZ area, or know someone that is, I’m trying to start a limo service with my car for wedding or other special events.

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