Doane Yawyer: Cars

My Favorite Ride: 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air

John Hardy of Merced has a 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air two-door hardtop that reminds him of his days as a high school student.
John Hardy of Merced has a 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air two-door hardtop that reminds him of his days as a high school student.

The car: 1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air two-door hardtop

The owners: John and Sylvia Hardy, Merced

What are the key features of your vehicle? It has a 350 cubic-inch V-8 engine, four-speed manual transmission, power steering, power brakes and 2-inch dropped spindles.

What did you have to do to get it in its present state? I replaced the wiring harness, resurfaced the brakes, and repaired and leveled the side windows. The primary focus was on safety more than appearance.

What else do you want to do to it? I consider this car a driver rather than a show car. No major modifications are planned.

How did you acquire your vehicle? I saw an ad in the Merced Sun-Star by a local individual. I was surprised to see a 1955 Chevy in a local newspaper.

Why did you pick that particular vehicle and what do you find appealing about it? The vehicle for me is definitely a classic. It takes me back to my days in high school.

What started your love affair with cars? I have loved cars all my life, from toy cars to the real ones. I like muscle cars from the 1950s through the mid-1970s.

What advice would you give others about starting such a project? It was almost a turnkey car. Be willing to take your time to find parts. We are blessed in Merced to have a number of people with good mechanical knowledge. There is always some help available in the city.

Do you have any other collector vehicles or project cars? I had two 1931 Ford Model A’s, one a deluxe roadster and the other a sedan. Years ago I had a 1972 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400.

What’s your favorite memory about this ride? Somehow it just makes an old man feel cool, driving my high school car. I really enjoy the camaraderie of the car club and going to shows. Seeing the reaction of people to the car is awesome.

Submit Your Favorite Ride

To have your favorite ride featured in the Merced Sun-Star, please answer all of the questions in the column and send them, along with your name, address, phone numbers (daytime and nighttime) and email address, to or Answer each question in 50 words or less. The Sun-Star will edit answers to meet space limitations. A time will be scheduled to take pictures of your vehicle at the Sun-Star office. Photos and the article will appear in print and online.