Doane Yawyer: Cars

October 3, 2013

My Favorite Ride: 1957 Chevrolet two-door hardtop features 'automotive artwork'

An original fuel-injection 1957 Chevrolet hardtop is a Merced man’s prized possession.

The car: 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air two-door hardtop

The owner: Robert Anderson, Merced

1. What are the key features of your vehicle? It is Mercedes-Benz silver with original pattern black and silver interior. The engine is a 283 V-8 with the Rochester fuel injection. It has a three-speed transmission, column shift with overdrive. I’ve added air conditioning, front disc brakes, sway bars and American Racing 200S (period-correct) wheels.

2. What did you have to do to get it in its present state? I totally took the car apart and rebuilt or repaired everything on and inside of it, doing most of the work myself.

3. What else do you want to do to it? I’ve been thinking about changing the rear gears to a highway-friendly ratio; 4:11s reside there now.

4. How did you acquire your vehicle? I bought the car in the 1970s through a friend, locating it in the San Jose area.

5. Why did you pick that particular vehicle and what do you find appealing about it? I have always liked the 1957 Chevrolet style and body lines. They are just automotive artwork.

6. What started your love affair with cars? I started working on cars because I couldn’t afford to have others do it for me. I then got hooked on them.

7. What advice would you give others about starting such a project? Have plenty of space to work and organize a plan. Decide what you want to use the car for (drive, show, trailer), prepare to do some jobs over and expect mistakes. Get away from the TV and spend the time working on the project. Once the car becomes a “storage unit” and boxes are stacked on top of it, nothing happens.

8. Do you have any other collector vehicles or project cars? I have owned many other older Corvettes (1955-63) but I have since sold them. My last one was a nice original 1962 Corvette that I owned 37 years.

9. What’s your favorite memory about this ride? Driving it on the highway and having people give you the “thumbs up” while cruising along – that’s cool.

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