General Motors launched this high performance family car in 1964 by chief designer David North, now retired and living in Billings, Montana. This car was to provide the excitement we needed in the '60s at a time when our boys and girls were returning from a very unpopular war. The 60s proved to be the start of the true muscle cars. The cost of a car was a big factor, about $.87 per pound compared to $10.78 today. For our returning men and women from overseas it was a car that they could afford. If you wanted a GTO equipped the way you wanted it, no problem. You could add the following to your basic car: floor shifter, 389 cid V-8, quick steering, stiff shocks, dual exhaust and premium tires all for about $300. A 4 speed gear box $188, Metallic brake lining, heavy-duty radiator and a no-slip rear end $75. Some people referred the Ferrari to the GTO, the Ferrari cost $20,000 and the Pontiac GTO $3,800. In a drag race the GTO would be the winner, the down side would be it would lose on a road course. When the '66 came out, the body had been extended 3 inches, the rear fenders had a "coke bottle" appearance along with smoother body lines. Vertical head lights would remain until the '67 production year. These cars have long been the choice for the serious car enthusiast who wants quality, styling and true performance for all occasions. Another important factor, as the family grew you did not have to deprive your self of your dream machine.
1951 Mercury (more than a mild custom)
From the time this body style came off the production line it became a car of choice to customize. In the early days they gained the name "lead sled" because so much lead went into the process of customizing cars like this. This car is a work of art from the interior to its fender skirts. Mercury did not have a two door hardtop until 1952. Even the designer of this car referred to it as an "inverted bathtub styling that originated in the sporadic war time work." The styling was massive, streamlined and very clean. Many who customized these cars used the grill from a 1948 Desoto. Driving was made much more like sitting in your favorite chair due to the fully independent suspension. The rear end was a live axel on parallel longitudinal leaf springs. This Mercury was not going to be the stepchild of its sister Ford, it received a stroked V-8 255.4 cid with a two barrel downdraft Holley carburetor giving it 110 bhp. If you wanted an automatic overdrive transmission it would cost an extra $97. New this car sold for about $1950 or about $.58 per pound.
1964 Chevrolet Impala Convertible This Impala for 1964 offered more luxury and style than any Chevy ever built. The interior was spacious with large bench sets. They offered foam cushioned seats, deep twist carpeting for that rich feeling. Chevy offered 7 engines ranging from 140 to 425 bhp 409 V8 which inspired the most popular song of the 60s, "409." Their heavy duty coil springs absorbed the shocks, comfortilt steering wheel just added to the driving pleasure. From the top of the line "Impala" to the plain Jane "Biscayne" the cost was only $230. Production for the year was about 1.6 million cars. This Impala Super Sport was the envy of the drag strip and could hold its own with the best muscle cars of its day. This car being long and low makes it a prime choice for the collector. Add west coast skirts and a wheel kit and you are back in the 60s.
1926 Ford Model A
It may not look like the famous "A Henry Ford Model A." This one has been tweaked out. Who would have ever believed 89 years later we would be savoring this car that sold new for $350. This car has been transformed into a true hot rod. Modern suspension, a Chevy small block lots of other goodies. In 1926 this car was transformed in a Roadster Pickup, a 2 door Roadster and a 2 door Coupe, and yes even a tractor. A quote from Henry Ford "I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed from the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one-and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great open spaces."
The body's on these cars were steel with wood used for the pillars along with other parts. When you use wood in production you are going to have a lot of scraps left over. Henry Ford had a plant called "Ford Charcoal" His brother-in-law E.G.Kingsford brokered this selection and changed the name to "Kingsford Charcoal"
Owner : Truman Rogers Billings, Montana
1950 Studebaker Starlight Coupe
A car that was ahead of its time by many years. Yes, there were a lot of jokes about which way it was going. Like many other cars of its day it has weathered the test of time. To find a "Starlight Coupe" today is very rare, yes there may still be one in some ones barn just waiting to see daylight. In the 50s an after market headlight could be used to replace the center grill piece. It had springs that would hook to the tie rods and would turn with the steering wheel. Just like a Tucker but with a lot less money involved. Another accessories was Venetian blinds for the wrap-around rear glass. After this car was designed Lowery - Exner Studios became known nation wide for this excellent work. This innovative design eliminated the bolt on fenders that were used on the pre-war cars. Many things changed for the 50's model, coil springs, automatic transmission with "Hill Holder." This envelope style body allowed them to extend the front seat six inches and the back seat 10 inches. New this car was about $1600.
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop
Grace & Elegance, these are the two words that tell it all when it comes to describing the '57 Chevy. I had the chance back in 1957 to purchase a car like this and I have regretted it ever since. The distinctive body lines are like no other car ever made. This car has become so popular that you could order enough parts to completely assembly a '57 from scratch. This car more than any other defines the "Fifties," you knew what it was a block away. This car did not come with romance buster seats (Bucket seats) as later cars did. GM produced 166,426 Bel Air sport coupes with most of them loaded with all the GM extras. The engine choices were very good and ranged from a straight 6 to the fuel injected V-8 283 bhp power plant. Body paint was toned down from the '56's three tones to just two tones for 1957. All cars had extra attention given to matching interior designs. In the 50s and 60s our automotive designers were given the chance to show their talents. I feel sorry for the designers of today where every car looks the same from year-to-year. We as the buying public always looked forward to the new styles. Anymore, a car designed in 2000 could be mistaken for a 2015.
1967 Chevrolet Nova
The Chevy Nova has become the classic car of choice for all ages, its appeal spans the generations. It will always be a question we have for the auto designers, why they gave up on the work of design starting just a few years ago. Cars of this age were what we liked, not so much the upside down effect that we have today. Place a 350 small block cid producing 370 BHP using a 5 speed floor shift with a 3:08 Posi rear end and you have a true Hot Rod. General Motors awarded the Chevy II (Nova) with its "Award for Engineering Excellence" for the design of this classy car. The publication "American Automotive Field" gave it very high marks. This car drove so well on the track with the quarter mile clocking in at 91 mph, it proved there was no limit what it could do. A comment was made by GM that if you put a stick shift in it the demand would increase the sales. Another source said they would sell like "cold beer on a hot Fourth of July."
1970 Chevrolet El Camino SS
This power house has a LS1 engine for power. This is a top show car that will never have to take a back seat to any car. The Super Sport has a double dome hood, along with black-out grill which was European inspired and displayed the now famous "SS" emblem. Other options included power windows & locks, back-up lights which were moved from the bumper to the tail gate. The down side was they could not be seen when the tail gate was down. With production of this new model sheet metal changes gave it a more squared look. The graphs on the tail gate of this El Camino are striking to say the least.
1957 Buick Special
Buick, a car for all seasons. Cars produced in 1957 are becoming very rare to locate for the collector. Many of the style lines were carried over from the 1955 and the 1956 like the fender wells and the wrap around windshield. The new grill resembled an electric razor to many. Added was the pillars to the back window. Buick has retained the well known portholes that sets it apart from any other car to date. The sculptured hoods and fussy decks were abandoned for the '57. The heavily chromed tail fins and the three piece backlight made this car destinct from the average car. A bigger engine was available for 1957 along with a more ambitious restyling over earlier years. Many standard luxury features were standard, not air conditioning as it would be some time before the public would demand it. Dynaflow transmissions, power steering and brakes, dual exhaust, automatic windshield washers and backup lights were in. The ladies loved the plush carpets and the seats to match. There were only 59,739 of this model produced selling FOB for $2,660.
1950 Chevrolet Deluxe 2 door post As with any project, restoration of an old classic can be a challenge. This car was no exception. It sat in a grove of timber for more than a quarter century waiting for someone like myself to come along. It never was on a paved road, never had a radio, and a half bale of hay was still in the trunk. There were no brakes and needless to say the tires were all flat. A home made trailor hitch hung sadly from the bumper.
Our goal when we started this project was to keep this "old school" like we had it in the 50s. We replaced every component. We installed a GM small block 305 cid, turbo 350 transmission and a nova rear end. Without any rust the body work and paint were relatively easy. The interior was done to reflect the 1950s. We added disc brakes, air conditioning and seat belts for safety.
In 1950, gas was 21 cents per gallon and the license plates were only $3.50. A drive-in-movie was just $ .50 per person. Many a teen would hide in the trunk to get in free. Often times, entertainment during the intermission involved a rabbit running around on the big screen while the cars with spotlights would try to "catch it". Like many teenagers, Joanne and her girlfriends would put $ .50 worth of gas in her dads car and cruise the drag for a couple of hours!! Off the show room floor, this Chevy sold for $1,523 ... you can hardly buy a TV set for that today.
1934 Master Deluxe Chevrolet 4 Door Sedan
Back in 1934, Chevrolet was considered the best car of the day. They had to be built with quality to accept the harsh conditions of country roads. Tires, not what they are today. If you expected more than 10,000 on your rubber then you were dreaming. Basic, yet elegance all in the same car. This was restored to exact factory standards in detail. It has matching numbers, production 1333 out of 4901 built. General Motors referred to this car as a "Series DA" with a 112 inch wheelbase. The engine was a Stovebolt Six with 206 c.i.d. 80 horsepower.
Owners: Ralph & Sharon Hanser Billings, Montana
1955 Dodge 1/2 ton Pickup
Ken & Vicki have owned this truck for 2 years. At the age of 14 Ken became the proud owner. As you can see a lot of work has gone into it to bring it to where it is today. He replaced the old mill with a Chevrolet 350 cid, 700 R4 overdrive transmission, Ford 9 inch rear end and replaced the front suspension with a Mustang II clip.
The series "C" was a completely new design for the Dodge pickups and was sold from 1954 thru 1960. The cab was referred to as a high visibility "Pilot - House design with a wrap around windshield that was new for '55. Dodge had a very good reputation as a rugged work horse. They were assembled in two locations, LA, California and Warren, Michigan.
1935 Hudson Terraplane Business Coupe
Yes, this was an all steel body, built so strong. It was this body that was also used on their Terraplane trucks.Roads back in the 30s were not much to brag about, dirt and gravel and a few miles of pavement if you could find them. Small towns were the hub of life across America. Cars like these had to be built tough, Most cars today will go 200,000 miles, back then 50,000 and a car was worn out. Look at our speeds today, back then 40 mph was the norm. Air conditioning was rolling out the front windshield. A car like this is becoming very hard to find. They came with a Power Dome 6 cylinder engine and a floor shift 3 speed transmission. Mohair cloth was the interior of the day. Options were white side wall tires, hub caps, rear fender skirts, suicide doors, original owners manual.
1933 & 1934 the cars produced were named "Essex-Terraplane" when the 1935 rolled around the name "Essex" was dropped and the car became just "Terraplane." Due to the weight of these cars they never joined competitive events. One of the reasons was the 6 cylinder engine just did not have enough horse power. The Hudson and Essex were not built in America, England and Australia made most of them.
1958 Chevrolet Cameo Carrier 1/2 ton Pickup A collector pickup, finding one of these is very hard for the one who wants a classic. It was 1958 when Chevrolet changed the numbering system giving the 1/2 ton the number 30. Larger trucks had other numbers. Another name for the “Cameo” line was “Apache.” The Cameo line started in 1955 with designers charting new ground with its smooth car lines like never before. It was late in ‘58 when GM replaced this design with the well known Fleetside pickup box which became the standard for the industry. In making this change GM referred to this as “Jet-Pod” sculpturing. Cameo was the driving force behind the Full Width Rear Body and the chrome grill with built in parking lights. Pricing of the Cameo was modest and only 1,405 were built. One of the reasons production was low the rescession was in full speed for 1958. GM did many up-grades for ‘58 like all new sheet metal, redesigning the grill by incorporating the parking lights. The hood was reshaped to make it level with the cowl. Also new was the series-designation name plates. 15 solid and 15 two-tone colors were available with colors like; Polar, Dawn, marine blue, Oriental, Glade green, Kodiak brown and Tartan turquoise. White side-wall tires were the norm during these years. Deluxe features were a full wrap-around rear window, chrome bumpers and a high quality interior.
1967 Plymouth GTX
Many cars meet an untimely demise due to neglect. We are very fortunate to have those among us who still love this old iron. This car you see sat in an open shed for eleven years taking the brunt of the weather year after year. It was purchased from the original owner for $300 as it was very rough shape. The car had flared wheel wells and someone had installed a spoiler on the trunk for racing. The back seat and door panels were in great shape -- guess they never went to a drive-in movie, (we weren't always this old). Money remains an important part of restoration, they purchased parts for a year that they would need before starting the work. When they started they had two very good friends and had it together in a matter of two days. When they were ready they drove it to Virginia Beach, Virginia from Montana. For those skeptics who wondered if they would make it they were reminded back in '67 cars drove across the nation with out any problems. Matching numbers, a 375 horsepower 440 cid engine, 727 transmission and 325 posi-track rear end made for a great power train. The drag strip called and it answered with a 14.10 sec at 98 mph, not bad.
The GTX has proven to be a car that can stand on its own when it come to performance on the drag strip or the oval track. When this car was in the show rooms of America a sales tactic was to lay a $5 bill on the dash, on acceleration if the customer could reach it they could have it, none ever could. The senior designer Mr. Bruce Ryniker of Billings, Montana was a top designer of the GTX also he was the designer of the "Roadrunner." There is a passion to find and restore this car more than any other of this class. Restoration can cost up to $100,000, most will cost far less, how many of us car afford a $12,000 paint job or all leather interior, we do what we can with a lot of sweat and tears and don't forget to hide the costs from you know who.
Mike Hicks & Marilyn Moe, owner
1956 Ford F-100 Pickup
Yes, the color is "Planetary Green" a unique color with a special paint from (House of Kolor) that has proven to be very hard to lay down. Not long ago there was a car show in Idaho where this truck took number one for paint out of about 1200 entertainers. When the restoration started this was an old $100 farm truck that had seen its share of work. A complete frame off restoration was to be done and I mean every square inch was attented to. The old suspension was replaced with a Volare front end, a 350 Ram Jet engine with a 700R4 transmission and a custom built exhaust system. Ron Tesinsky, a professional craftsman designed the consol adding a pearl inlay grip to the Lokar shifter. This pickup has real leather to top off this gem.
There was something special about the 1956 Ford pickup that made it special. yes, it was very well built to take the work load that would be required of it on the ranches and farms. It was a good looking truck with its new set back front axel and styling which gave it a nose heavy look. Safety was becoming an up front issue in the automotive industry and Ford was at the front of the line. Items like energy absorbing steering wheel and double grip door latches and an up-grade to 12 volt electrical system. If you were wanting a full rear window it would only cost you $16 more. The dash board sported a car-derived hooded instrument panel. With a base price of about $1589 we should have purchased several of them. The outlook for the collector of these trucks ranks very high, you can't get any better than that.
Current owner, Don & Marilyn Brocopp Billings, Montana
1934 Chevrolet 3-Window Coupe
Dennis happens to be one of those boys who grew up with the dream of owning a '34 Chevy 3-window coupe. By sheer luck, one parked next to him at the Denver drag races. He tried to now show his excitement as he studied this beauty. Small talk turned serious when Dennis decided to make the man an offer.
Determined, Dennis hung in there until he was able to convince the owner his interest in the car was restoration, not using it for a donor car. But purchasing the car isn't the same as making it your own by completing the restoration.
The old dash was upgraded with new Dakota Digital instruments and a new interior was topped off with an Alpine sound system. The 17-in front and 18-inch rear wheels are from Boyd Coddington. He installed a whopping 383 GM crate engine that produces 425 BHP, and a 350 turbo automatic with a 9-inch rear end. If you ever get a chance to see this car, you will understand just why it is always in the winner's circle! Dennis & Sherry Varner - Baker, MT
1947 1/2 Ford Coupe
This car brings back many memories of the days when life was simple and carefree. This car was originally built in Great Falls to be used on the drag strip. We may never know the reason why it sat in total seclusion for about six years hidden away in a dark storage space. It did not have an engine, only a two speed transmission for drag racing, a Dana 60-C 4:10 posi-traction rear end. When you are born in 1947 it only makes sense to own a car the same year as yourself.
This little Ford has had its life changed for the better with an Eldelbrock '79 4 bolt main 350 Chevy small block engine. Added was a mildly beefed up 350 Turbo 350 transmission, new Gear Vendors Under/Over Drive. With this option it will cruise at highway speeds and not use a lot of gas. And yes, put your peddle to the metal and you are gone.The wiring from the 40s had to be replaced, Dakota Digital Dash, electric windshield wipers, Vintage Air Gen II air conditioning was a must. Topping off this restoration was a Walker radiator, front disc brakes and a Monte Carlo front end clip with GM leaf rear springs.
During the years of World War II there were no cars built as all the metal went into tanks, planes, etc. When Ford resumed building cars in 1946 they did many major changes that would do battle with Chevrolet on the sales rooms of America. Ford Deluxe and a Super Deluxe along with a convertible called the Sportsman designed by Bob Geogories from war time sketches and would have white ash and mahogany wood trim. An easy was to tell a '46 from a '47 was the parking lights, '46 were about 2 X 5 inches while the '47 were lower mounted round and round. A Super DeLuxe Coupe sold for about $1,251 or about $ .41 per pound.
Current owner : Mike & Laurie Antonio Billings, Montana
1961 Chevrolet Impala
The Impala has proven to be a car for all the ages, you may be a blue collar worker, farmer or a teacher, the Chevrolet is a car that will fit into your life style. GM during the 60s would have their marketing follow the trend of Ford, they have proven to have their ducks in a row. When William L. Mitchell took the helm as GM Design Chief he toned down the cars for a complete new concept of smoothness. His approach was to make a Chevrolet for every type of market. Every model used the same 119 inch wheelbase, this was a new length for these cars. The width was increased be 11 inches from the 57's which also added about 300 pounds. Chevy offered many engines with the 409 Big Block that was so popular that it inspired a song that went to the top of the charts. They were to add stiffer springs and shocks, and ultra fast steering to become the best performing cars of its time. The price tag F.O.B. the factory was about $2700 or about $ .78 per pound.
1973 Fiat CS124 Spider Convertible
The 124 Fiat Sports car is considered to be one of the greatest cars for hill climbing, it was very quick to respond to the curves. The 1600 cc 4 cylinder overhead twin cam produces great performance. The 5 speed transmission is smooth and very quick to respond when going thru the gears. The first Spider 124 was introduced at the Turin Auto Show in 1966. The 1973 still had chrome bumpers that were styled for the car, in 1975 government got involved and made them have large tubuler bumpers. Starting in 1982, the name Fiat was changed to Pininfarina. For those who would like to own a true Italian sports car the '71 thru '73 are considered some of the best. Performance est. only: 0-60 mph 11.5 seconds, 0-90 mph 32.3 seconds, 1/4 mile 18.6 seconds @75 mph. with a top speed of 108 mph. The light weight of this car at 2,355 pounds makes it like a rocket on a feather.
1960 Ford Thunderbird Convertible The Ford Thunderbird has become very rare to find these days to restore. This also was the last year the seats were in the same configuration in the last 3 years. This was not a retractable top, however the trunk had its hinges at the rear like the retractable. this would allow the trunk to lift up when putting the soft top down. The 1960 T-Bird was known as the square bird, it had only minor changes from the '59 Bird. Substantially this Bird remained the same for three years. The '60 had a new grill with a main horizontal bar bisecting the three vertical bars ahead of a grill insert. Also added were new triple tail light clusters.
This car underwent a frame-off restoration starting in 1992. When you do a restoration and you live on a large Montana wheat ranch several miles from town you get to know your UPS driver on a first name basis. There was never a week that went by that they wouldn't receive parts for this car.
1953 Fat Fender Ford Pick-Up
I bought the 1953 Ford pick-up in Pasco, Washington and drove it to my home in Laurel, Montana. It still had the original 170 6-cylinder engine with standard transmission (3 on the tree). We used it for a few years until I retired in 2004. I had little knowledge of rebuilding old cars, but here we go. I was fortunate to meet so many car guys who helped me in many ways with rebuilding this Fat-Fender pick-up and fulfilling my dream.
I cleaned and resealed the original frame. We installed a rebuilt Ford 1970 351W engine and a Ford C4 automatic transmission. We added a K-Clip front suspension, which gave me power steering and disk brakes, and a Chrysler posi-tract rear end, 2.94:1. I added a Holley carburator, HEI electronic ignition, aluminum radiator with 16-inch electric fan, and tilt steering column. I purchased a complete wiring harness with breaker box and rewired the entire truck. I then converted the original instruments from 6-volt to 12-volt. We added an awesome sound system, and for comfort "air conditioning."
We did the necessary body work on the hood, fenders and cab. The original box could not be saved so we purchased three panels and the tailgate new. The box flooring is solid oak stained ebony and sealed with clear coating. A friend did a carving of the pick-up, which we inlaid into the center of the box floor. The paint color is "Red Fire," which came from the 2007 Ford Mustang. The interior upholstery was done in black Naugahyde (Tuck & Roll), which includes the seat, the door panels, headliner, also the box tonneau cover.
I drive it as much as I can!! I tell people my job is to kill bugs! Ha!
Karl Dan Koch & Jeanette Koch
1962 Willys Wagon - Considered the first SUV
World war II was coming to an end in 1945 when this Jeep Station Wagon was produced for the first time. American's were changing their driving habits with camping and recreational use getting popular.
The United States had a very large number who live in the rural heart of this great nation. Willys Jeeps sold more units in Lewistown, Montana during 1947 & 1948 than any other part of the country. They came with a four-cylinder 230 cid overhead cam that would produce 140 bhp with 210 pounds of torque. They had a Hi-Lo transfer case which was very strong with only one weak part, if you were in second gear Hi range 4 wheel drive you may chip a tooth in 2nd gear. 1962 Willys added the model name "Jeep Traveler" to the station wagon line which also came with new color schemes. They were made with strong steel and held up under the worst of roads and weather conditions
1957 Ford Thunderbird
The legend of the Ford Thunderbird is that of a true sports car. This bird had both the comfort and the styling of the European sports cars. With the owners wanting more trunk space the continental wheel kit became the answer to more trunk space. For the '57 they added a softer suspension, which gave it a much smoother ride. The portholes were so popular that they were now a no extra cost item. With a decrease in production for 1957 of 15,631 sales were still five times that of the Chevrolet Corvette. In 1958 the Ford Thunderbird true sports car enthusiast were dismayed to see their sports car become a four door sedan. In '57 Ford motor Company once again placed the spare in the trunk, also giving it a longer deck and a new bumper and grill. Black has always an expensive looking color going back in time to Henry Ford when he said "you can have any color you want as long as its black." This Bird was a great buy for a sports car with an average cost of under $3500. This car is completely factory original with matching numbers, soft top, hard top, and racing top cover.
1953 Studebaker #2411 " A Bonneville Salt Flats Car"
In June of 1999, Gail & Ron purchased this Studebaker from Gene & Betty Burkland of Great Falls, Montana. This Studebaker was in Wendover, Utah Museum for 18 years. They were able to acquire this car when the Museum ceased operation. Burklands started running this car in 1971 obtaining a top land speed record of 255.863 miles per hour.
Gail & Ron knew the car would need substantial safety upgrades to make it ready to return to the Bonneville Salt Flats. By August of 2000, all of the required updates and were completed by Gail's husband Ron. One of the major updates was the extra interior roll cage and the spoiler on the rear. All new Lexon windows and roof rails were also required. The 1st event on the Salt Flats was a World of Speed in September 2000. A reunion with all 3 of Burkland's salt cars (Studebaker, Datsun & Streamliner) was great.Finding the Hemi to run in it again was a must. They found a 1954 - 336, after lots of work and 9 long years of trial and error, Gail received her class "A" license ( which means speeds no less than 200 mph and no more than 250 mph), during Speedweek
2009 with exit speed of 221.808 mph. Ron has been a master car builder most of his life knew cars but needed to learn the skills he would need to build and tune racing engines. He would continue to learn this engine rebuilding to be able to afford the cost so that his wife (Gail) could accomplish her goals on the Salt Flats. During the next nine years of running the Studebaker, she managed to ruin 4 transmissions, more pistons and valves than they could count and completely blew up a fresh 372 cid donated by Bob Lindstrom. They battled with the "salt germlins" on many issues. With the nine years it took for Gail to get her class "A" license she was able to get the experience needed to become a professional driver. To drive this Studebaker, practice is out of the question, when you get on the Salt Flats you must be at your best.
In 2004 they were invited to be part of a movie, "World's Fastest Indian" starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, a documentary of Burt Munroe. Their photos with A.Hopkins will always be treasured, as well as his autographed signature on their car. Gail's goal when they purchased the car was to hold the record again in honor of the Burklands. Through the passing of time, technology has boomed, and with that the record has increased to over 300 mph. They have been asked to place the Studebaker in the new Wendover Museum when it is completed.
In 2010 Gail was offered a ride by some great friends that have a lakester to go after a landspeed record, once again the weather and germlins slowed her down. In 2015 they are hoping for a great year!! All in all they have an amazing opportunity and a unbelievable experience - so fortunate and yet so blessed to have this virus, "Salt Flats Fever".
Gail & Ron Tesinsky Billings, Montana
1947 Chevrolet Fleetmaster
Mother nature works in very strange ways. We are talking about a man who dreamed of owning a "Chevrolet" from even before he was able to have his own driver's license. One day the traffic was very heavy and he missed a turn he had to make. This was before the time of GPS. It was with this miscalculation he was to find the car of his dreams.
It happened to be a car that had a full frame-off restoration; a 1947 Chevrolet Fleetmaster. For a car that is over 65 years old, it is no small task. This car has been lowered to look like the old school era of the 1950s. Some of the modified items include a Griffin all aluminum radiator, Mustang II Fat Man Fabrication suspension, and air conditioning. Chevrolet in their wisdom to produce the 350 small block (390 bhp), never knew the popularity this engine would have for the classic car builder. The automatic transmission along with the 10-bolt rear end makes this a driver's dream come true which is just what his vanity plate stands for " DMCMTRU" .
By the end of WWII, the '46 to the '48 Chevy's were given slight modifications from the 1942 model year. The grill medallions and some of the exterior trim was added, while the basic power train remained the same. Only 59,661 cars were produced in the year following the end of the greatest war ever fought by the United States. With the selling price of $1,281.00 it was still out of the reach of many because there was no financing of cars.
Owner's Truman & Carol Rogers Billings, Montana
1967 Ford Galaxie XL
A couple of years after Sandy and Roy got married, they bought a 1968 Galaxie XL GT 428 cid with a four speed, it had a white interior with bucket seats and a console. The car was all red with a gold stripe at midline for the full length, It would be a gorgeous car and fun to drive. They kept it until their twins were born and then with three girls in tow, they jumped into life.
Looking ahead in time with the kids on their own, they got to thinking how fun it would to be to have a car like that again. Many sales and shows later, they came across this car at a weekly Saturday McDonald's Car Show (billed as the longest continuous weekly car show in the nation) in Scottsdale, Arizona. They looked at the car but thought it wasn't quite what they wanted (a '67,not a '68) and left. They drove a couple of miles down the road, looked at each other and said they better go back and get serious! It was gone.
The following Saturday, they returned to the show on the chance the car might be there again. It was! After looking at the car again and getting as much info from the seller as they could, they told him they wanted to look at it again in the daylight and if it looked as good as it did at night they would take the car and yes it did. The car new was sold in Winsted, Connecticut, They get a lot of enjoyment showing their car. The car is completely original.
There were only 18,174 made and sold for $3,243.
Owners: Roy & Sandra Rose Livingston, Montana
This is an original 1979 factory Corvette T-top. This car was acquired in September 2004, the actual miles was an buyers dream with only 1,596. It was located in the small town of Crosby, North Dakota, a small town of about 1300 population. It proves a dream can sometimes be located where you least expect it. To make it even better the storage was also heated for the 25 years until it was sold. The only time this 'Vette saw the light of day was a home coming parade for the local high school.
This is a Third Generation, which covers the years of 1979 to 1982. When this sports car was new it came with every option GM had to offer, the engine was a L-82 / V-8 350 cid (5.7 L.) 370 bhp. GM was able to perpetuate the rumor "there will be a brand new Corvette next year" every year. By 1983, there really was a new Corvette, this was a plan to up-grade the chassis at the end of 20 years. The upheaval the industry went thru proved the Corvette body was on the fast track to becoming a major player in the sports car field. In 1979, lighter seats, designed for the pace car, became standard along with bolt on spoilers as an option. The wind tunnel proved effective in reducing the drag by 15%, which helped in the sales with 53,807 Vett's to come off of the production line.
Owners: Craig & Karen Swenson Billings, Montana
1929 Ford Model A
The secret to building a street rod is to make it different than anything you have ever dreamed of in your lifetime. Take a step back in time to the 1981 U.S. Nationals in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This street rod was judged good enough to qualify as one of the top 10 in the entire United States. It is cars like this that set the standard for the best there is to offer in restoring and rebuilding the classics for many years to come.
This 1929 Ford Model A with its 5-inch chopped top is a far cry from the days when it rolled off Mr. Ford's assembly line. The engine is a 327 cid Chevy with a 400 automatic transmission coupled with a 9-inch Ford rear end. The front end has a Kugel independent suspension with disc brakes. The man who owns this classic purchased it in 1989, with the reputation of being one of the best painters in the area he gave it a stunning paint job. The Opal "Signal Green" was a very popular color in the 1980s. Drive this car in a parade and you will be sure to have heads turn only to dream of the day they will have their own classic.
Owner: Ken & Dilys Neibauer Billings, Montana
1955 Chevrolet BelAir Hardtop
Life can be good and it has been great for Charlie who has earned his retirement. He now has the time to devote all his attention to his classic 1955 Chevrolet BelAir. He has never used the term "Classic" lightly, this car has been restored from bumper-to-bumper, iron frame to the front suspension. When this car was purchased it required a fair amount of work, every part was rebuilt or replaced with OEM parts. He also replaced the 327 cid small block, its 350 turbo transmission along with the 3.08 rear end.
1955 proved to be a great year for Chevrolet, Two-tone paint was all the rage, including pastel shades with matching interior to match. The egg crate grill was inspired by the great sports car "Ferrari." This application helped to keep excess chrome to a minimum. Point of sale by GM said it was a "Blue Ribbon Beauty" when it introduced in the fall of 1954. GM also liked to use the term "Motoramic" when they talked about their new found success. The image of stodgy associated with the past several years was now fading away with the birth of this new model. Style and power were to be the next standard to captivate a new generation of buyers who were making more money. Back then this car sold for $1,888 or to put it another way $.60 per pound. On November 23, 1954 a 1955 Chevrolet BelAir hardtop gold-trim rolled off the line which was the 50,000,000 car produced by General Motors .
Owner: Charles Deshner Butte Montana
1940 Ford Sedan Delivery
The chances are very slim that you have ever seen a 1940 Ford Delivery like this, Mick was able to purchase this in '75. It was the victim of major vandalism by someone with a hammer who just liked to destroy everything they could. A complete restoration would be needed to bring this Sedan Delivery back to its formal glory. it now has a 350 cid/396 bhp, a turbo 400 automatic and a '68 Corvette rear end. One man's opinion, "The beautiful lines of the 1940 Ford coupled with the reliability of all Chevrolet power train. It doesn't get any better than that." (Author unknown) Many designers said it was the best body ever built. The lines were smooth and had an art deco dash-board with contrasting colors. the post was era proved to be some of the greatest and lasting designs made. Restyled, the Delux had a lowered vee'd grill, clean front fenders with head lights set into the fenders. Hydraulic brakes and a column shift was added.
David North, Chief Designer for General Motors got it right when he designed the GTO. The timing was perfect, many of our military were in the process of returning from overseas and in need of good transportation. The "GTO" would provide just that—style, muscle, performance and lots of power. There were several add ons you could get to make this a first "Factory hot Rod." The cultivated image, the "GTO" or even better known as the "Goat" which to this day is as well known as the letters "GTO". They started with a 325 bhp engine sporting a standard 4-barrel carb, next you could get a 348 bhp with a triple 2 barrel carb setup which this car has. To make it your own you could add a heavy duty suspension and brakes, bucket seats now referred to as romance busters, and a floor shift in manual or automatic. Fast? You bet is is. It would 0-60 mph in 6.6 seconds thru a quarter mile at 14.8 sec doing 95 mph. When the "GTO" was sold they called it a Hard Top, GM in their wisdom had based their sales at just 5000 GTO's however the "GOAT" struck gold and sold over 32,450, it was to set a new record for Pontiac for production in a given year. During production the wheelebase was extended to 115 inches which placed it in the intermediate size range. The body was actually shared by Buick, Olds F-85 and the very popular Chevelle. The "GTO" was to be the first of the true "Muscle Cars." Yes, when you put your foot in the gas it was like flushing a (you know what) however gas was only about $.22 per gallon back when this car hit the show rooms. Ferrari was a fast car until it came to a drag race, that's when the "GTO" would come out on top. At a $1.08 per pound selling price it was a great buy.
Current owner: Roy R. Wherley
1956 Ford Thunderbird
This is a sports car that Ford was very proud of. If you dream long enough, the day will come that your wishes will come true. Wendy's dream was to own a "Baby Bird" a Thunderbird to the rest of us car enthusiasts. When they were married in 1999, her husband promised her he would fulfill her dreams. Imagine Wendy's stunned surprise when she got her '56 Baby Bird for their 7th wedding anniversary. This car was purchased from a wonderful couple in Arizona who had completed a complete frame off restoration in 1978. During the winter months, Baby stayed in a heated garage waiting for the spring rays of a warm sun before getting out among the public.
The 1956 Ford Thunderbird offered "flipper" vent windows, a continental wheel kit and vents on the front fenders. It came with two tops, a convertible soft top and a hard top with "port hole's" for windows. The engine was a 312 cid V-8 with an automatic transmission, which produced 225 bhp. New, this car sold for just $3,151 dollars with a limited production run of just 15,631 vehicles. The color of this Bird is very rare, and yes it was a factory production.
Owners: Terry & Wendy O'Neill Belgrade, Montana
1956 Ford Victoria "Thunderbird"
When the '56 Ford Victoria came out the changes were minor from the 1955. Safety was on the mind of the designers with a dished steering wheel, break away mirror and crashproof door locks that all became standard. If you wanted a padded dash and sun-visors you would have to fork out another $16 dollars. Factory installed seatbelts were not considered a large item however if you added them from the factory that would add $9. The 312 cid "Thunderbird " engine produced 225 bhp using an automatic transmission and was a factory limited package. One of the big selling points Ford used was "performance" for '56. Financing a car was something new to the public, Lee Iacocca came up with an idea of offering a "56 Ford for $56 per month. Three tone paint was common on all cars and white side walls were the norm. The chrome was real and excellent quality that would last, not like the paper covering of today.
This car was placed in a museum with only 11,000 miles where it stayed for the next 39 years, after that it was moved to a private home for the next 9 years. When the current owner found this car it had not enjoyed sunshine for 48 years. A heavy layer of dirt was on the outside and the covering plastic was still on the floorboards, even the tires were in good condition. This car received a good bath and a much needed polish before entering its first car show.
Owners: Jerry & Kim Watson Billings, Montana
1956 Ford Crown Victoria
This 1956 Ford Crown Victoria was one of the most exciting cars built during the '50s. They offered a bold "New Lifeguard Design" to protect both driver and passengers. This design was the culmination of two years of research by a university, medical associations and safety experts. They made a dish steering wheel, added safety door latches and cushioned the hard surface of the dash. Seat belts were available for only a few dollars. Most dealers, however, did not order them with their new cars because of the up-charge of $9.00
This car has Ford's top engine choice, a 312 cid V-8 with 225 bhp. Lee Iacocca, just a young man at the time, came up with a new marketing strategy that offered a payment plan of $56 per month for a Ford.
The owners purchased this car from their neighbor, a highway patrolman during the '70s and it had been well used. They had to rebuild the power train and give it a new paint job. The patrolman who sold them the car had buyer's remorse when he saw the completed restoration. Ford produced 9,201 Crown Victoria hardtop coupes, which sold for $2,337 or about $ .71 per pound.
Current owners: Gary & Diana Gray Billings, Montana
1957 Chevrolet BelAir
The 1957 Chevrolet BelAir hardtop can be all things to all people provided you are a true car lover. When this car rolled off the show room floor in '57 it captured a place in our hearts. We, the car buffs, have chopped, lowered, removed emblems and even taken part in a drag race or two. The most important aspect of it all, we made it our own. The body style known as the "double nickel" seriously commands our attention even more today than when it was built.This car was acquired in a moment of frustration from the previous owner in 2004 who had been in the military stationed in San Diego, California, back around 1979. Upon his arrival back home, he parked it by a few trees by an old barn where it sat for the next 25 years. This car could be seen from the highway and thru the years, many people stopped to ask if he wanted to sell it. This one morning, while having coffee, he realized the only way to keep people at bay was to sell it. Another coffee drinker overheard him and asked what he wanted for it. $6,000 was the reply. A check was written for $6,000 on the spot. It was in rough shape. The new owner gave it a frame-off restoration, which took a full year. This car has a 283 cid Power pack, automatic transmission with 3:35 gears for the rear end. This car sold new for about $2,229 and weighed 3,278. General Motors produced 166,500 of this body style.
Current owner: Joe Richardson Ennis, Montana
1972 Chevrolet C-10 Pickup It was the year 2005 and a man needed money and wanted to sell his C-10 as a bankruptcy boom was lowering. Derek had been looking for a truck like the one he had when he went to high school and the price was right. It was a short box in very good condition with a good paint job and rust free. The body and box were kept original, however all parts were replaced with oem factory parts, which added about $40,000 to the cost of the restoration. He installed a Ram Jet 350 with a Pro-Charger 15 psi boost producing 600 brake horsepower on the Dyno to the rear wheels. He added 4 wheel disk brakes drilled and slotted with 20 inch wheels for looks and safety. In completing the power train, he installed a 400 transmission and 373 Posi rear end. Many people are not aware of the performance and power that can be obtained with the knowledge of engines. A naive local patrol officer was given the white-knuckle ride of his life and came out with a lot of respect for what a high powered machine can do. This truck is a consistent winner at car shows through the Great Northwest where it is driven for enjoyment. Owners: Derek & Steph Dickinson Butte, Montana
1990 Cadillac Brougham d'Elegance
The last of the Great American land yachts
The man that owns this classic Cadillac has been an admirer of GM's luxury line of cars for most of his life. He has a very impressive photo gallery of both past and present Cadillac's. He believes the ride should be soft with comfort for long cross country drives. This Cadillac represents the top-of-the-line in transportation with a 121 1/2 inch wheelbase. The longer wheel base made far more leg room with rear seat passengers enjoying more than 43 inch additional space. This time honored Brougham Sedan has long been a very profitable addition to the GM lineup.
The year was 1990 when GM added anti-lock brakes and featured an optional 350 cid (5.7) engine producing 175 bhp. This power train has 295 foot pounds of torque with a 8.5 inch ring gear with a 3.08:1 final drive ratio. This V-8 proved to be the largest engine Cadillac ever placed in their cars.
New this car sold for about $27,000 FOB at the factory.
Owner: Larry Dilts Denver, Colorado
1956 Ford Fairlane Sunliner Convertible
A stunning beauty painted in factory pink and black, in the '50s colors like pink, corral, salmon were among the most popular colors to grace the new cars. They were combined with other colors to make three-tone paint jobs stand out. If you were driving down the street in this 1956 Ford Fairlane Sunliner you were definitely turning heads. This is where the term "chick magnet" got its start. Dave purchased this car in 1975 where it had weathered many long years of Montana winters. It underwent a frame-off restoration with all the body work and painting completed by a master craftsman Bill Hardy, Coachworks. The upholstery was all factory material original to when the car was built. This car was equipped with a standard 312 cid engine, Ford-O-Matic transmission and a stock rear end. 1956 saw the introduction of the dish steering wheel, break-away rear view mirror and crash-proof door locks. This was the first year padded dashes were standard equipment, if you wanted sun visors they would cost you $16 with seat belts another $9. Performance came first over safety and cost with only 20% of the cars coming equipped with seat belts. History will look back on the '50s as a time when cars were developed with style and personality that would last and make it the classics for endless years to come. This was a time when girls may not have known the name of a boy but they knew what kind of a car he drove. This classic is owned by Dave & Gloria Harmon of Billings, Montana
1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Hard Top
With the production of the 1955 Chevrolet, the phrase "Double Nickel" started. It referred to the '55, '56, & '57 Chevy's. These three years of production have been the most popular years ever for Chevrolet Classics. General motors spent over $40,000,000 to retool for what was to be one of their greatest design changes. It would be recognized by the automotive world as the definitive car of the '50s. The properly equipped 1955 was a major fast track competitor, only to have the Cherry's withdrawn from racing in 1957. This car underwent a five-year, frame-off rotisserie restoration. The engine is a 350 cid coupled with a 350 Turbo automatic transmission and a Pontiac rear end. A Firebird sub frame, air conditioning were but a few of the new additions that were added.
By the time the '55 Chevy was gaining sales, Ford was making a big push trying very hard to take the number #1 spot in the nation. For a time it looked like they may just pull it off. It was not to be as Chevrolet held on to the number #1 spot. To let you know just how good Chevy was, in NASCAR and other tracks in 1957 Daytona Speed Weeks they took the first three places in a two-way flying mile for class #4 (213-259 cid) thirty three places out of thirty seven places on class #5 (259-305 cid) the average speed would top 131.076 mph. In the Pure Oil Manufactures Trophy Ford had 309 points to Chevrolet with 574. Even with the ban on racing, Chevy still got a lot of support provided by "underground-racing."
1922 Hispano~Suiza Phaeton
This Hispano~Suiza H6 was built from 1919 to 1934. During that period, approximately 2,500 cars were produced. When they were introduced in 1919, there were a number of technical features including; 6-cylinder engine with 7 main bearings, full pressure lubrication, overhead cam and a 12-volt electrical system. This car also came with 4 wheel brakes. The 16 inch aluminum drums were made with cast in steel liners. This car holds a patent for power assisted brakes The interior is unique to a 4-door phaeton (side curtains) not roll up glass windows. Top speed of this car is about 95 mph with 135 bhp. The cubic inch displacement is a large 402.6. An updraft carburetor that was designed with a serious flaw, the breathing was restricted. With a wheel base of 145.201 inches is one of the largest cars ever built. The cost of 5 new Michelin tires is in the range of $2,400. This car exemplifes the quality and excellence of cars produced during the 1920s. The owners have gone to great lengths to make this car able to compete in world class events like Hilton Head Concours and in Hershey, Pennsylvania and North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Owner: Bill & Sandy Culhane Billings, Montana
1974 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
Picture in your mind's eye, a man recently retired, the corporate world in his rear view mirror when his wife Beverly spots a 1974 candy apple red Corvette parked in a shopping center. It was love at first glance. Gary asked the owner if he could take it for a drive. The rest as they say is history.
This L-82 happened to be in excellent condition. The former owner was a Montana Highway patrolman had given this 350 cid with a 3/4 cam, Edelbrock carburetor and intake manifold adding a 2500 stall converter. This Corvette is unique, In 1974 when we faced an oil embargo from the middle east, Corvette sales accerelated while other sales declined.
Corvette had a 102 inch wheelbase until 1962 when it was shortened to 98 inches. In 1984 it was again shortened to 96.2 inches where it remained through 1996. Production in '74 was 32,028 with a dry weight of 3,309. The price was just $6,082 or to put it another way $1.84 per pound. Even the new body style, which was introduced in the middle of the great middle east oil embargo, did not dampen sales, on the contrary sales rose. By the end of the year GM would no longer offer their big block.
Gary & Beverly Tieszen Billings, Montana
Current Owner: Kathy Carson Billings, Montana
1970 Oldsmobile "442"
There were many muscle cars produced during the '60s and '70s that would become among the most sought after classics of our time. Oldsmobile produced just such a car with its 442. This car came with a 455 cid V-8 engine producing 370 bhp and a functional hood scoop. Acceleration isn't a problem with its 400 automatic transmission. Oldsmobile came up with what could be termed a cartoon character when they were marketing the 442 as "Dr. Oldsmobile's W-Machine." There were quite a few problems due to the government new emission control standards.
Fortunately for Oldsmobile, they had the type of cars that the public wanted, and their sales showed it. They were among the top three in the nation. Brian's first car was a 1973 Olds 442 2-door hardtop. He was not aware at the time that he had a rare car. This turned out to be only one of 830 ever produced that combined the Hurst 4-speed transmission with the 455 cid engine. He liked the body lines better on the '70s and decided to sell his '73 when he purchased his '70 442. The '70 was in good shape. In the years since he purchased it, only minor restoration has been done on an ongoing basis. He recently had the 442 engine balanced to perform as it was intended. Brian is a Oldsmobile kind of guy- he's never driving anything else and he plans to keep it that way. GM produced only 1,688 of this model only which sold for only $3,151.
Brian Vannoy Billings, Montana
1953 Cushman Scooter "Barrel Spring Eagle"
This Scooter was completely restored from the frame up, they retained the original power train with all matching numbers. A few enhancements have been added: chrome, burgundy red paint and naugahyde dyed in a checkerboard pattern. This "leg over" Barrel Spring Eagle model came with an 8 horsepower cast-iron engine and a centrifugal clutch with a two-speed transmission . Top speed is about 40 mph ... with a good tail wind. It originally came with a side car which will be restored to match the paint and the upholstery.
Cushman started in 1903 in Lincoln, Nebraska, by 1910 the company became Cushman Motor Works. In 1913 they started making the Husky four-stroke engine. In 1936 they began production of the Auto Glide Scooters to increase the sales of their Husky engines during the great depression. Our Armed Forces used these as a way of saving gas and as an alternative to the use of cars both before the war and after. The Eagle was in production for 16 years.
K Dan & Jeanette Koch Laurel, Montana
1967 Pontiac "GTO" (Gran TurismoOmologato)
In the 60s, we were presented with one of the most dynamic cars to give us the muscle, style, durability and price all in one. As our war heros were returing from Viet Nam they had a car to meet their every need, this car was designed by David North of Billings, Montana. A hot car got even hotter when they dropped big block engines in these cars. Until now you could only dream of going 0-60 in just 6.6 seconds. The quarter mile took only 14.4 seconds achieving 99 mph. You were able to build your GTO starting with the Tempest coupe hardtop or convertible. You would get the GTO package, a 389 V-8, floor shift, power steering, stiff shocks, dual exhaust, premium tires all for about $300. A 4-speed gear box for $188. Add a heavy-duty radiator, metallic brakes, no-slip rear end, or a big block of 360 cid and you have a lead foot special for just $190 more. This car was compared to the Ferrari... "It will beat it on the drag strip and lose it on the race track." The Ferrari in 1967 cost $20,000 while the GTO was $3,165. Pontiac produced 728,734 cars in 1967 with only 65,176 destined to become GTOs.
Augie & Patsy Bentz Billings, Montana
1974 Plymouth Roadrunner Absolutely nothing was spared in the building of this roadrunner from Wyoming. The beauty of it is matched only by its performance on the road and on the track. To the speed buff, this car has it all, a 528 cid Hemi with all aluminum cylinder heads. It will produce 729 bhp with 629 foot pounds of torque using pump gas. A Kesslew 5-speed transmission with a 410 Currie rear end complete the power train. Brett purchased this car in 1981 at the age of 17. His car payments were $ 60.50 per month. He then started a low budget restoration in 1991 before the car was placed in storage for the next 15 years. The major frame-off rotisserie was started in 2005 and almost every part of this Roadrunner had to be made to order. That's where the superb talents of Tim Thielen were put to the test building building this one-of-a-kind car. It is not unusual for expenditures to total over $150,000 for a project like this. Bruce Ryniker of Billings, Montana, designed the Plymouth Roadrunner for the Chrysler Corporation in the 1970s. Brett & Annetta Sayer Sheridan, Wyoming
1956 Airstream Bambi 16-Foot
1956 was a great year for those who were to travel the highways of our nation. The "Bambi" proved to be a perfect choice due to the fact almost any car could pull it down the highway without any effort. Airstream created the "WOW factor" when they made this unit. This "Bambi," with its featherweight of only 1850 pounds and its aerodynamics, made pulling up hills a snap. They came with several floor plans to suit the buyer needs, including sleeping for four and a fully self-contained bathroom. Just as an airplane can glide thru the wind with out any effort, so can this Airstream Bambi. Using a monocoque construction with an all steel chassis, alloy body framing, all metal under-body with a Duro-Torque suspension they would add a classic interior to top it off.
The Airstream you are looking at has undergone a complete 100 % restoration back to the original factory speciations when it was built in 1956. On a scale of 1-10 this would deserve a 10 every time.
Don & Marilyn Brocopp Billings, Montana
1935 Ford Coupe Togetherness would be a way to describe this 1935 Ford Coupe because two people had to sit so close together! Ford called this "The Universal Car." There wasn't any other car in the world used by so many people as the Ford. It gained its reputation as being the symbol of faithful service. This new model provided an improved ride along with smooth body lines. It out sold all other cars produced in 1935 largely due to its performance driven 110 bhp flathead V-8 engine. Speed could easely top 100 mph if you dared to drive it this fast. This was also the year Ford would have external horns on their cars. You had to spend an extra $20 if you wanted the Tudor trunk over the fordor fast back. Production totals were over 87,326 for the year. The cost of this car was about $ .20 per pound.
When Zane and Karen Gray purchased it in 1993, it was from a very good friend who needed the money more than the car he loved so much. This good friend who later passed away, was a professional mechanic with a vision for building classics. A good friend, Mike Nutting, has adopted this car taking it to shows and now enjoys it as much as the Grays. Keeping this car original has led to great excitement among car buffs. Zane & Karen Gray, Billings, Montana
1948 Frazer 4 door sedan
Frazer .... "A post war car" .... made for population in the United States at a time when there were a very few to options to choose from. A new company in a sellers market at the end of WWII should have been a piece of cake, at least that was went thru the minds of Joseph Frazer and Henry Kaiser. Joseph Frazer was a young businessman with big ideas. He enrolled in a technical college learning his sales skills with Packard, General Motors and the great Pierce-Arrow. He gave Plymouth its name in 1928. He purchased an old line company, Graham Paige Motors from which he was able to build the now collectible "Frazer". Money problems persisted and he was soon to merge with the the famous Henry Kaiser, the tycoon of the west coast sand & gravel, and war time builder of the war time builder of the United States Liberty Ships used during WWII.
Built as a 4-door sedan only, the interior space was a large, at 64 inches the front seat was to be the largest for a sedan. 80 percent of the inside could be used for interior room. The Red Seal Continental 6 cylinder engine was a 226.2 cid. They produced about 100-115 bhp and were manual 3-speed transmissions only made by Borg-Warner, If you wanted an overdrive it would cost you another $80.00. Selling price was $ 2,712.00 or about $ . 80 cents per pound.
1956 Chevy BelAir We are entering into the world of Dan & Nancy’s 1956 Chevrolet “BelAirette” as they call it. They both grew up with the double nickel cars, ‘55, ‘56 and ‘57. To them, they were the most popular cars of all time. As young people, they loved them, drove them, and now they own them. They were at a Show & Shine car show in Cody, Wyoming, in 2003, shortly after purchasing their ‘56. They were introduced to Rick Moore of Belfry, Montana. He was considered to be a top body and paint man. If ever there was a bond between families, this was it. Rick was given the task of restoring their ‘56 Chevy. He turned out to be very good at his chosen profession. They asked him to complete the restoration on two pickups they owned for some time as well. The two families have become great friends and spend time at car shows and family outings. This car was driven to Santa Clara, California, to have the upholstery done by Finish Line. They used Austrian Leather—the trip was worth it. In making this BelAir their BelAirette, they added an L-S2 400 plus bhp Corvette engine, GMPP 4165 overdrive transmission and stainless steel exhaust. They complete the restoration with air, tilt, cruise and power windows. They added Goodyear Eagles and had them mounted on Budnik wheels for looks and safety. This car retailed for $2,025 with a production run of 104,849. —Dan & Nancy McDonald Cody, Wyoming
1970 Dodge Challenger
When Cathy's husband, Pat, drove up to their home with this car on a trailer, she couldn't believe what she was looking at. The first thing that came to her mind was a "rust bucket." There was no front end, no glass, not even a grill. After a long, agonizing look at this car, she still found it hard to share her husband's vision.
After about 3 long years working endless hours, the car started to come together. Once the primer was on, Cathy started to share his enthusiasm. The truly exciting part of this build was when the old 318 cid engine was removed and the new 360 cid with dual Edelbrock was installed. After all, Cathy had just to walk around it on the garage floor for more than three years! This highly modified engine puts out an estimated 400 plus bhp. Cathy was in the kitchen the first time Pat revved it up -- the windows shook, the dishes rattled and then a beastly noise was coming from the garage. She admits, she was hooked from that point on. The paint wasn't cheap, about $1,000 per gallon, but they both admit it was worth every cent, Cathy now has the car of her dreams, thanks to a loving husband.
Pat & Cathy Bentz Billings, Montana
1950 Willys Jeepster Phaeton Convertible
Duane purchased this rare 1950 Jeepster with a factory 6 cyl. in 2000. It was a basket case as it came from the eastern states and suffered badly from the rust where salt was the demon on winter streets. A frame-off was the only option for restoration. The factory power train was in very good condition. The designer of this during WW II was a man named Brooks Stevens. His inspiration came from the Willys Jeep and he wanted to make a sporty touring car. The convertible top had to be operated by hand. The term "Phaeton" relates to "no windows to role up or down." Curtains would only be plastic or other material. The front passenger seat would fold down for easy access to the rear seats. The bodies were all steel and the chrome was very good quality. The Jeepster came only in a two-wheel drive. A paint option was a two-tone on the belt line which flowed into the windshield frame. The 1950 Jeepster was so rare that only 1778 units were sold nation wide. To look at it another was, it cost only $ .60 per pound new. Factory selling price was $1,490
Duane & Joanne Demars Billings, Montana
1964 Oldsmobile Cutlass
It may be referred to as the "rite of passage," and then again, it may just be the high point of a young man's life -- his 16th birthday. On this special occasion, Mark got the keys to his first car, a 1964 Olds Cutlass.
This car took him through high school, college, his first job and a wonderful honeymoon when he married his best friend Julie.
As the family grew, the Olds went into storage where it stayed for the next 18 years. Finally, the time came when he wanted to restore it. His dad Jerry Weitz, owns a successful trim shop and thats where they spent most of the next five years working on it. Kelly Martin of Billings, MT did the body and paint. The engine and transmission were rebuilt elsewhere. The rest of the car were restored to original new condition with both son and dad working together.
The engine is a 330 cid with 310 bhp. 15,440 were produced and sold for $2,644 factory fob.
Mark & Julie Weitz Sheridan, Wyoming
1973 American Motors Javelin AMX 401
With a limited production of 4,980, the Javelin has become a highly desirable muscle car from the 1970s. This car is a testament to Ted & Jean's ability to accomplish a task once they commit to it. They found this car in a junk yard. It had done battle with a phone pole in 1982...and lost. The windshield spoke of the need for seat belts.
During the cars restoration, which spanned 26 years, they used it for their family car. They were able to keep the Pierre Cardin interior in perfect condition. Everlast of Bozeman, Montana, did the body and paint using the original factory colors. In the last few years, the 401 Go Pac engine was rebuilt using a Holly 670 carburetor, Headmon headers and a Torker manifold. The hood has a functional cowl induction built into it. Only a few cars made it off of the production line with the BW-T10 four speed transmission. While at a car show, they were surprised when the original owner - the same one jousted with the telephone pole - introduced himself.
With a price tag of $3,190 and a curb weight of 3,170 pounds, the car cost about $1.00 per pound.
Ted & Jean Basler Belgrade, Montana
1957 Chevrolet Pickup
Mike & Katie became the second owners of this Indian Turquoise 1957 Chevy Pickup when they purchased it from the original owner in October of 1991. This pickup was purchased to haul lawn mowers that needed repair for a high school business, this is something that had never been done until now. June of 1994 brought the completion of a full frame-up restoration paid for by many repair jobs on lawn mowers and an untold number of lawns that were mowed.
Mike's 57 has been a continual project ever since they declared it finished. In 1998 they added a 350 turbo transmission and a custom console. In the summer of 2000, they replaced the sub frame from a late model Camaro. This gave them a better ride and added power steering. They also added a 10-bolt posi-traction rear end. Unable to leave well enough alone, they replaced the 283 in 2004 with a tunnel ram 355 small block. This pickup is a part of the family and is often driven by both Katie & Mike. They give a great thanks to their parents along with Clint's Restoration.
Mike & Katie Mills Glendive, Montana
1967 Plymouth GTX
The proud owners of this 1967 GTX 2-door hardtop are Michael Hicks & Marilyn Moe. This car was neglected in an open air shed for eleven years. They purchased it from the original owner for $300. It was in rough shape and had flared wheel wells and a spoiler on the trunk for drag racing. Nobody really cared back then! The back seat and door panels were in perfect shape -- guess they never went to the drive in! They ordered as many parts as their budget would allow for a year. Two good friends, Steve and Justin Cooper helped them put the car together in a mere five days. What fun they had! The car is far from perfect as none of them had attempted a complicated task before. It's amazing how a classic brings smiles and great conversation. There longest drive was from Billings, Montana to Virginia Beach, Virginia. Many people asked if they would make it. Their reply was " what did they drive back in 1967." This car has all matching numbers, a 375 bhp 440 engine, 727 transmission geared by a 323 posi-traction rear end. Mike's fastest time at the drag strip was 14.10 at 98 mph. And yes, Marilyn also raced it also.They are hooked on the 60s muscle cars. New this car sold for about $3,178 or about $1.12 per pound.
Mike Hicks & Marilyn Moe Joliet, Montana
1956 Ford Thunderbird
Dick & DJ Rosekelly purchased this beautiful 1956 T-Bird in 1980. It had been kept in its original condition factory condition. This red Thunderbird has both tops, a hard as well as a soft top. Jim Schmid, a professional mechanic, rebuilt the power train to Ford factory specs. Don Lennick completed the upholstery and replaced the soft top.
This V-8 with an automatic transmission will produce about 225 bhp. Production began in 1955, however the idea was born in October of 1951 at the Paris Auto Show. That was when Ford General Manager Louis Crusoe and styling consultant George Walker encouraged Frank Hershey who headed the team to put the T-Bird into production.
This car sold for $3,151 and weighed 3.038 pounds. Their were 15,631 produced in 1956.
Dick & DJ Rosekelly Red Lodge & Billings, Montana
1936 Ford Sedan
This 1936 Ford four-door sedan was truly a work of art, designed for the working man. Rollie & Dee Dee purchased this sedan in June of 2006. They wanted a classic that they could enjoy now, not in later life. This car went through a complete frame off restoration. Knowing that the old power train would not be the best for long drives the decision was made to do some up-grading. They added a 350 cid small block along with a 350 Turbo automatic transmission and a 8 inch rear end. A Mustang front end was added which gave it all the modern front driving components along with a smooth ride.
They were now able to go to car shows that they only read about or were told of by their friends. This was the way they choose to relive their youth and just be able to reflect back on the cars they owned in their youth.
Rollie & Dee Dee Topp Billings & Baker, Montana
1962 Chevrolet Corvette
The owner of this 1962 Corvette made a tongue-in cheek remark ... this is the one with the trunk. Indeed it is. When the final 1962 Corvette rolled off the line, along with it went the last externally opening trunk lid. many things were put to rest with this model year. It was the last year for exposed headlights and side cove molding and narrow white wall tires were on their way in.
Jon found this car in Aurora, Colorado in 1983 and purchased it from the second owner. The car was in very good condition. He loved the Sapphire Blue color, but the finish needed help. He gave it six coats of hand rubbed lacquer along with several layers of clear coat, giving it a professional show car finish.
This 'Vette has a 140 bhp engine with a solid lifter cam giving it a 11:25.1 compression ratio. The transmission is a four speed with 3:366.1 Positraction rear end. A new add on was a 2 1/2 inch exhaust pipes with dumps behind the front wheels.
There were only 14,531 'Vetts made in 1962. They sold for around $4,038 at just a shade under 3,000 pounds. This car has been driven to ahows in Idaho, Colorado, the Dakotas, Montana and to our neighbors to the north.
Jon Bourassa Park City, Montana
1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air 2 door post
When the '55 Chevy came on the scene, the image that Chevrolet was saddled with in the earlier years became moot. This blue-ribbon car carried with it the excitement the designers so desperately needed to jump start their sales. The Bel-Air was the greatest success story of all time. It was lower, longer and had a two-tone interior to match the outside colors. When Ernest and Myrna purchased this car back in 1986, they never dreamed it would become the icon it is today.
Andy Anderson, the former owner of Frontier Chevrolet in Billings, Montana, was retiring and decided to sell his collection of cars. This one only had 22,000 miles on it and still had the original tires on it. A 235 Blue Flame engine provided good fuel economy while using the 3 speed manual transmission.Gasoline prices when this car was made averaged only $.28 per gallon. They have only driven her 4,800 miles in the past 22 years. This car is considered a true survivor as it remains in its original condition. There 168,313 of this model made and sold for $1,888.00 or about $.60 per pound.
Ernest & Myrna Henschel Billings, Montana
1963 Ford 1 &1/2 Ton "Navy" Pickup
Old Navy trucks never die, they are re-born as classics for our future generations to enjoy. The early history of this Ford 1 1/2 ton stake truck was to lend support to our military. After they served their time, they too are returned to become a part of our past. Mike's father purchased this in 1970 to use as a farm truck to haul hay. They lived in Washington state and always parked it behind their barn. As everyone knows, Washington gets a lot of rain fall. When Mike got it from his father in 1994, their was moss growing an inch thick under the box and on the floor boards of the cab. He used it to haul freight for about a year before placing it in to storage where it remained until 2005.
Restoration began with custom made box and a rear bumper that will hold about 30 gallons of water for the horses when they pull their horse trailer equipped with living quarters. The engine for this F-500 was built by a speed shop in Washington as a high performance 312 V-8. This is one heavy hauler that can cruise at 100 mph. Mike did all the body work and paint with Charlies Paint & Glass of Lewistown, Montana, doing the interior. Mike kept this a secret project from his wife 'til the time was right. The dash still bears the nameplate of the "United States Navy."
Mike & Jean Little Lewistown, Montana
1973 Dodge Challenger
One of the most interesting aspects of acquiring a classic car may be how we obtained it. Darrell was looking for parts for a current restoration. He answered an ad offering a large collection of Dodge parts for $3,000. He called the seller and found out the parts were for a 1973 Dodge that had been dismantled with the idea of restoring it. Darrell knew he could use most of the parts and offered him a deal.
The fellow car buff took Darrell to another garage where he saw the shell of a '73 Challenger looking much worse for the wear. The man commented, "get it out of my garage and you can have it." Darrell held his breath and said, "I'll take it."
The Challenger underwent a rotisserie restoration. It was an original Challenger with a 440 six pack magnum with 289 bhp, a 5 speed transmission with 81/2 inch 323 gears for the differential.Its three carburetors were sent into Dodge to be refurbished at a cost of $1,200. Two years later with the help of Ross Campbell for body and paint and Darrell on the upholstery, this '73 has become an award winning show car.
Darrell & Jan Otteson Huntley, Montana
1969 Chevelle Malibu Convertible
Paul & Debra purchased this car from its original owner in 1978. The original owner drove this beauty off the show room floor at City Chevrolet in Great Falls, Montana. They started a complete frame-off restoration in 1995, which became a very lengthy process. They finished it in 2005. During that time, they installed a new, crated 454 big block engine along with designing new interior. The color is retained from the factory and is a stunning yellow. In 1969 Chevelle, still with its split-wheelbase, the A Body was restyled to look more like the full size Chevy's. This car is one of the most coveted collectibles among all of the classic cars.
Production of the Chevelle Malibu's convertible with a V-8 in 1969 totaled just 27,300 and sold for $2,743. Freight would add another $275. this would be delivered in Montana. If you were to look at it another way it would be $1.14 per pound.
Paul & Debra Nardella Livingston, Montana
1955 Chevrolet 2 Door Post
This is a 1955 Chevy that anyone would want for a daily driver ... that is if you have the nerve ! This beauty is equipped with a 350 cid fuel injected engine using twin turbo's and delivering 500 plus horsepower to the rear wheels. Take note of the special valve covers that read "Bill's Toy" and the remote tail light assembly that folds away for fueling up. The craftsmen restoring this '55 are all from Butte, MT: Wally Norley, body work; Burts Upholstery; Grey O'Leary, paint. The power train is rounded out with a 700 R4 transmission and a 9 inch rear end. Bill drove a car like this to high school and has been in love with cars like this ever since.
Chevrolet had a major body change from the '54 model. A sweep side windshield and twin-cove dashboard design with a central glove box added. Tubeless tires were just coming out on the market and dealers wanted customers to know they could be repair them. Now you know why Bill enjoys this Chevy as his daily driver --- it has power, speed, performance all in one. This car sold new for $1,888 new or about $1.66 per pound.
Bill Dickinson Butte, Montana
1961 Chevrolet Impala 2 Door Hard Top
The lines of the 1961 Chevrolet Impala were smooth and not as pronunced as earlier models. Taut new finless styling had arrived. Chevrolet followed the marketing strategy of Ford for several years during the 60s and yet continued to out pace their production each year. They did this with a winning team of designers who came out on top every model year except 1966. The era's most beautiful big Chevy might just be the 1961 hard top with its sculptured lines like a raised convertible top. Starting with 1966, all the automakers were trying to make a car that would appeal to every market they could think of.
This car was purchased new in August of 1961. Tim & Mindy became the second owners in 1998. Even though the car was in very good condition, it under went a frame off restoration. This original looking hard top has a 348 cube big block and a four speed transmission. The rear end is still the original that was in the car. Body work and painting was done by Kevin VanLarrshoven who is the owner of Trackside Auto Body of Billings, MT. Don's upholstery did a top quality job which adds to the beauty of this Chevy.
Tim & Mindy Brocopp Billings, Montana
1964 Ford Falcon Sprint
In 1964, the Ford Falcon Sprint came into its own when it appeared in the Monte Carlo Rally and finished second overall. Another Ford Falcon won the GT Class. In 1964, with a 109.5 inch wheelbase, the Falcon got its first major re-styling. This sporty two-door hardtop has a 302 cid, V-8 racing engine.
Bret first spotted this car at a show in August of 2000. It had so caught his eye, it felt like it was the only car at the show. Indeed there was a lot of work to be done, however he knew it had a lot of potential and knew it was the only car that he would ever want. The engine had to be rebuilt. The body rust needed to be repaired along with everything else. The factory 4-speed and 3.08 rear end were in good shape. Kevin's Customs of Billings painted it "Night Train Red." Mangum's of Laurel, Montana completed the upholstery.
Bret Ortgies Billings, Montana
1967 Chevrolet Camaro Super Sport
The dream of a lifetime came true when Sky got his classic completely restored in 2004 - a Camaro Rally Sport SS. It was factory equipped with a 350 cid small block producing 295 bhp, a turbo 400 automatic and 4.11 gears. This makes for one sweet ride. Although it was exclusive to Camaro for '67, it was soon to become Corvette's most popular engine. The only way you could have this engine was to order the Super Sport package, which was comprised of stiffer springs & shocks, D70-14 Firestone wide oval and SS emblems. Also included were the modified hood with extra sound insulation and the "bumblebee" nose stripes.
GM added excitement to the Camaro line with their introduction of the 1967's. General Motors chief designer, Bill Mitchell, watched over every aspect of design and production. Styling was perfect with its long hood, short deck and its chiseled profile added enhancement to the low-flowing body lines. When you add in the Rally Sport package, you got a grill with hidden headlights, tinted glass, air and cruise control. Other performance items, sintered-metallic brake linings, power front disk brakes, power steering and more. Base price on this car was $2,572. Options could add several hundred more to the delivered price.
Sky Dykema Manhattan, Montana
One-Off Tin Jalopy
While completing the book "Classic Cars of Montana & Wyoming" we turned down quite a few cars for this book because they weren't up to our standards. Somehow, this jalopy slipped past the review committee. It is truly a work of art and was built by David H. Masters of Joliet, Montana. It has its own permanent parking spot in front of another classic ..... the "Quick Stop Drive-In" located on highway 212 in Rockvale, Montana
1967 Pontiac Firebird Convertible
When Mike & Frieda located this '67 Pontiac Firebird in 1992, it was in running condition.
However, a lot of long hours were needed to bring it back to its pristine condition. The long winter that was to follow proved to be just what was needed to complete the transformation into a show car. This Firebird 400 convertible came with Tri-Powered carburation, automatic transmission and a 3:23 posi-trac rear end. It was equipped with factory air conditioning, power top, windows, antenna and a hood mounted tech, all new to this era. Added factory equipment power steering, tilt, spoiler and a console, all part of the 400 package.This car would do 0 to 60 off of the assembly line in 6.2 sec. with a top speed in the quarter mile of 98 mph in just under 14.4 sec. It sold for about $3,800 with only 15,528 produced.
Mike & Frieda Tyler Moore, Montana
1968 Chevrolet Pickup (Convertible)
The major transformation of this 1968 Chevrolet pickup started when a Yellowstone Park ranger truck was sold to the GSA through Whiting Motors in Livingston, Montana. It saw some very hard use in this law enforcement agency for 10 years. It was purchased at a public auction by a friend Gordon Williamson, who drove it for another 10 years. Roger purchased it in 1992 for $250 in fair condition after selling his 1969 Firebird convertible. Once again he felt the need for the wind in his hair and he knew he needed a new project. After he removed the top from a perfectly good cab, he welded the windshield panel from a Chevy Blazer to the side posts. he then installed a tuned port fuel injected 350 small block. After placing the computer under the dash, he installed a Doug Nash 5- speed transmission.
1992 Chevy truck bumpers were cut and scribed to fit the front and rear. He built a front tilt hood by using the stock hood latch and rollers in the rear with guide plates. A reverse latch tailgate was made out of conduit and tubing with a steel skin. The gas tank filler was welded shut on the cab and gas tank, installing the gas tank between the rear frame rails. An aluminum tube framework was built for the removable gas cap cover. Another aluminum frame work was built for the bi-fold box cover. He covered it with the same material as the top.The seat was made from a late model Chevy truck with a power amp and speakers located in back of the seat. An old Pontiac gave up the tilt along with a Vega donating the steering wheel. The 16 inch wheels added yet another touch.
All the work was completed at his home except for the engine top work, upholstery & aluminum welding. After 14 years in the making, and lots of smiles later, Roger and Debbie have the wind in their hair again.
Roger & Debbie Boom Bozeman, Montana
1932 Ford Sedan Delivery
This '32 Ford is truly a gem that can compete with the very best at any car show in this great nation. I would simply describe it as perfection at every level and is only one of twenty six known to exist in the United States. The last "Deuce" Ford body to go into production was the sedan delivery, only 400 units were ever built mostly for commercial use. There are very few that remain today. Henry Ford built the delivery sedan by converting the very popular two door sedan by removing the quarter glass, adding a large rear door with window glass and a drip rail.
Don & Marilyn Brocopp Billings, Montana
1956 Ford Thunderbird Dick and DJ Rosekelly purchased this beautiful 1956 Thunderbird in 1980. It had been kept in its original factory condition. This red Thunderbird has two tops, the hard top as well as the soft top. Jim Schmid, who is a professional mechanic, rebuilt the power train to Ford factory specifications. Don Lennick was chosen to refurbish the interior and redo the soft top for the car. The battery, tires and even the carpet meet factory specs.
This V~8, with its automatic transmission, produces 225 bhp. This car sold new for $3,151 and weighed 3,038 pounds or about $1.04 per pound. Only 15,631 of these cars were produced in 1956. Dick & DJ Rosekelly Billings & Red lodge, Montana
1932 Ford Tudor Coupe
In 1976, Steve traded their just-completed 1949 Mercury Coupe for this 1932 Ford Tudor sedan, which was in excellent condition. It still had the original '32 flathead and all the stock running gear. They kept the car original for four years before installing a '59 AB Flathead V-8 and a '39 Ford tranny along with a '40 Ford rear end. From 1985 through 1987, they completed a full rebuild using a small block 350 Chevy, automatic, air, disc brakes, etc.
At that time Butch Adams and Chuck Burns of Sanford, Florida, helped with the body and paint. They have driven this car to several NSRA Nationals and other events throughout the southwestern United States. They have logged over 140,000 since the summer of 1987. In 2006 they moved to Montana. Then in January of 2007, they drove to Pomona, California, for the 75th anniversary of the Deuce Celebration. This car is now in the early stages of a complete rebuild again featuring a 1966 Buick Nailhead Engine and a four speed transmission. This remains a great fun car for all of their family to enjoy.
Steve & Judy Sorg Bozeman, Montana
1966 Buick Skylark GS
Dale started out like many of us searching for a car that would bring back the memories we cherished in our youth. He found it in this 1966 Buick Skylark, which was in very rough shape, yet all the parts were there to aid in the restoration. The problem arose when he could not locate a front fender anywhere in the country. He made a lot of phone calls; weeks turned into months. He just knew there was one out there with his name on it.
That's when lady luck smiled on him.
A friend told there was a Buick Skylark in an alley just 12 blocks from his home. Dale's search had taken him everywhere but under his nose. Much to his surprise, it turned out to be a 1966 Buick grand Sport, one of only 308 ever produced with a 4 speed transmission. The condition was, in his words, " barely salvageable". As of that day work stopped on the first car and started in earnest on the Grand Sport. During the next year, two cars were transformed into one with only a handfull of parts left over. A stunning black finish was created by the paint Doctor of Billings, Montana. Ken Metzker added his touch of class to the upholstery. Factory equipment included a Wildcat 445 cid with dual quad carbs, BW-T-10 4 speed transmission and 3;53 rear end gears.
Dale Ebersviller Billings, Montana
1961 Chevrolet Corvair Monza 900
The 1961 Corvair Monza 900 was among the most popular cars produced in this year. As the years went by, it was evident that small cars were here to stay. One of Corvair's main selling points was that one never had to buy anti-freeze, the car would heat up very fast when the weather was very cold. The Corvair was the only car to out sell the VW Beetle in the '60s.
Consumer advocate Ralph Nader intensely disliked the Corvair and sparked many angry protests when he penned, "Corvair unsafe at any speed." A 1965 exposé of the safety flaws of the Corvair. Many loyal owners showed their disdain for Nader by altering their cars after the fashion of Ferrari.
GM only made the Corvair from 1960 to 1969. The body style was only in production for four years. The air-cooled engine is a 145 cubic inch producing 80 bhp, and came with two single barrel carbs.
When Leighton & Sherri purchased this car in 2005, it needed a lot of work along with tender loving care. The restoration took two years. Kelly's Customs did the body and paint, Harold's Upholstery crafted the interior; both are from Billings, MT. The manufacturer's suggested retail price as about $2,200 and approximately 109,945 rolled off the production line. Detailed for show, yet a great car for fun.
Leighton & Sherri Petersen Billings, Montana
Dan & Carol are simply a couple who enjoy their time together cruising in their '49 Packard. They revel in the smiles it puts on the faces of strangers. We have all dreamed of winning the lottery or finding a gem of a car under a haystack in a long forgotten barn. While this story isn't quite that romantic, it is interesting nonetheless. This old car was hidden under an old khaki army tarp and buried under 50 years of junk.
Dan thought their might be something interesting under that tarp while he was looking at an old building for his business. He knew it was a vintage car, but wasn't certain about its condition. He carefully and thoughtfully negotiate building with the following stipulation, "if I have to take the trash, I get to keep the treasures." There were worn out trucks and debris from years of construction. After many contentious meetings, Dan got his way, the building and the Packard.
A frame-off restoration by Bill Leslie of Rocky Mountain Autobody was followed by a trip to Harolds Upholstery. Dan & Carol kept the original straight eight engine with the 3 speed transmission. They added a new battery and a few seals. With that she purred to life. A very special thanks to the craftsman who brought her back to pristine condition.
Dan & Carol Austin Billings, Montana
1967 Chevrolet Nova II
Few of us have had the same family car from our childhood. This story was relayed to me from the daughter and son-in-law who care for a lovely lady in her 90s. In 1967, at the age of 41, Priscilla Streeter purchased the car of her dreams, a Chevy Nova II. This car has become a member of the family and will remain so for years to come. It was this car that Jackie learned to drive on during her high school years. When her mother reached the age when she could no longer drive, she gave it to her son-in-law. This car is a true classic, yet it was nothing more than transportation to the family. A frame off restoration evolved with Butch & Jackie, and took 2 1/2 years to complete.
Everthing had to be taken apart, cleaned, sanded and made to look like new. After the frame came the powder coating and new parts. They installed a crate 350 small block GM engine producing 370 bhp and a 5 speed transmission. The power train was enhanced with the addition of a 3:08 posi rear end. Brian Schmidt provided the craftsmanship for the body, paint and upholstery. This is an award winning car. It became part of many car shows, parades and the "Burn the Point" in Billings. New this car sold for $2,435.
Butch & Jackie Renner Billings, Montana
1972 Chevrolet Cheyenne
The truck that was named after a famous western town that was made famous by the great cattle drives of the 1800's.
On their way back from Las Vegas, Alan & Sharon drove thru Sheridan, Wyoming, they spotted this beautiful 1972 Chevrolet Cheyenne pickup. They fell in love with it and purchased it on the spot, largely because it was in such great shape. Ther power train has a 402 big block, coupled with a 400 automatic transmission and a 323 rear end. They hired Triple T Inc. to paint their classic this stunning black color. Although it may be in top shape they intend to do a frame-off restoration. This will result in a major up-grade in the near future.When they arrived home with their new purchase, Allan asked his wife to pull it into the garage. A very loose cam had allowed it to idle at 13 - 15 hundered RPM. By the time she got it running and in gear she was headed for the garage where she got half way in before it stalled. The long and narrow of it is, he had 2 black marks on the floor where the truck went sideways and almost hit the garage door opening. She doesent drive it much anymore.
Alan & Sharon Bull Billings, Montana
1971 Pontiac LeMans
Tom purchased this 1971 Pontiac LeMans December 31, 2005, in Great Falls, Montana and the work began. Here is a list of what he did to make this his dream car.
Shaved door handles Custom made dash Painless wiring system
Autometer gauges Aluminum radiator B & M Shifter
Ididit steering column Flexite cooling fans March pulley system
Air Conditioning Full Roll cage Procar seats
389 gears Turbo 400 transmission Crane 8 mm wire set
Coil over rear shocks,150 lb pound rating Electric exhaust cutouts on 3" exhaust
Interior: Miller's Upholstery, Great Falls, MT Original Parts door panels
I had the car painted in Pennsylvania. Ninety-nine percent of the work was done in our shop north of Joplin, Montana. Future endeavors: Tunes & a 700 R4 transmission.
Tom Wood Joplin, Montana
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hard Top The car-buying public gave this 1957 Chevrolet their greatest compliment with the words "sweet, smooth and sassy." When this car came off the production line with Ed Coles Turbo-Fire V8, it became the first production engine to make the horse power per cubic inch. The Bel Air became the king of the street with the production that broke the barrier of 1.5 million cars made and made Ford run to try to catch up. These are among the most coveted cars by collectors because they reflect the mid-fifties for all of us. General Motors produced 166,426 Bel Air 2-door hardtops, which they sold for just $2,299. At 3,360 pounds, this car cost $1.46 per pound.This restoration was completed in 1998 and has been driven about 3,500 miles per year to car shows through the western United States. Don & Marilyn Brocopp Billings, Montana
1956 Ford Sunliner Convertible
This 1956 Ford Sunliner convertible, acquired in 1986, has provided the best enjoyment they could have asked for. They found it in an area that a local rancher used for his junk yard. Not thinking it would ever run again he left it to just rust away. The 292 Thunderbird engine produces 200 bhp, the automatic transmission is a three speed. A frame off restoration was the first order of business. This was completed after spending many long months ... and many dollars. Larry Baumgartner did a masterful job painting their dream car. Ford's facelift in 1956 included a few safety features like a dished steering wheel, break away mirror and crash prof door locks. If you wanted a padded dash and sun visors you would pay an extra $16; seat belts cost another $9. Only 20% of the 1956 production had seat belts, performance on the road had a much higher priority. Ford made 58,147 Sunliners, which sold for $2,395 and weighed 4,384 pounds. Cost per pound was $1.41 to build.
Paul & Barbara Etchart --- Mitch & Donna Etchart Glasgow, Montana
1932 Ford Victoria "Perfection" Completed in the summer of 2004, it was painted by Jerry Gray and Bret McGinler. The body work was completed by Down's Mfg. using a fiberglass body with extensive support on a TCI "rolling chassis." Interior was installed by C & B upholstery in Spokane, Washington. During the building of this Street Rod, a 350 Chevy Ram jet engine was installed using a 700-R-4 transmission. A Currie 9" posi rear end with 3.70:1 gears, 11" front disc and 10" drum in the rear were added. This car was built with all the amenities to produce an award winning show car. The paint is Vermillion Red/Harley and Vivid black and custom pin stripping by Von Rago of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. It was chosen to be shown at "Hot Rod's and Harley's" an invitation-only at the Tacoma Dome. In 2005 it wan 15 awards in 15 shows/events including "Gotta Drive Em" category at Good Guys West Coast Nationals in Pleasanton, California. Jerry & Suzy Gray Belgrade, Montana
1955 Ford Fairlane Sunliner Convertible..... This '55 Ford Fairlane Sunliner convertible was purchased in 2005 in great shape. The former owner had spent hundreds of hours to make this the show piece it is today. It has a custom convertible top with the rear window of a 1940 vintage era. This car has the original 272 cid with tri-power set up to produce about 185 plus bhp. The black paint is in very good condition due to only 40,077 actual miles on this beauty. With a cost new of $2,224 this Sunliner out sold the Crown Victoria to the amazement of top management. The continental wheel kit, fender skirts and dual exhaust gives the impression this car is long on style with power to spare. In 1955 only 8% of the households had more than one car. Ford set out to change this with an add campaign of "Fords By The Pair". They suggested a station wagon and a convertible as a perfect match. Ford produced just 49,996 cars with an average weight of 3,315 pounds during this model year. The average price was just $2,224 or to look at another way it sold for $.67 cents per pound. Dick & Diana Anderson Great Falls, Montana
1954 Chevrolet Pickup When Mark and Heide purchased this truck back in 2002 at an auction, they never dreamed it would become what it is today. They paid $4000 for it and for the next year or so it remained parked in their barn getting driven very little. One day Mark decided it just wasn't that much fun. There was not much excitement in doing 55 mph tops ! The work then began in earnest with a frame off restoration, adding a 350 blown small block, turbo 350 automatic and a 9 inch Dana rear end. Thanks to Loran Chase of Billings, Montana., this interior is one of the finest and will compete with the very best from coast to coast. Mark and Heide also wish to thank Kevin of Trackside Auto Body for an unbelievable paint job. A painter for many years, he has become a true professional with the ability to produce top quality show cars and trucks. In 1964 this Chevrolet pickup received its first major re-styling with a large triple row of horizontal grill bars bisected with a verticle bar. Chrome grills were rare due to the increased cost, most all were just painted. The parking lights were incorporated in the new grill and were the same ones used on the GMC of the same year.
Mark & Heide Ventling, Laurel, Montana
1965 Chevrolet Impala SS The 1965 Chevrolet Impala SS is in a class by itself when it comes to luxury and style. This '65 has a high performance small block Chevy engine coupled with a 350 turbo 350 automatic transmission. The paint and its many layers of clear coat add depth and beauty to this convertible. Typical features included the SS emblems, leather bucket seats, and a central gear shift console with an optional tach. The SS had stiffer springs and metallic brake liners. The ultra-quick power steering had the best performance in the history of Chevrolet. Of the 1.2 million General Motors made, 46% were Impalas. The SS convertible sold for $3,199 and weighed 3,600 pounds. There are no production numbers available for this SS impala. Jim & Mileen Vanderburg Billings, Montana
1967 Ford Mustang Convertible The best way to describe this 1967 Mustang Convertible when it was found would be "A very broken basket case." In truth, it was just a shell. What a difference a full frame-off restoration made. Bodywork and paint was completed by a master at both, Jim Garretson, who placed ghost Mustangs on the hood, doors and the trunk. The 351 Ford Windsor engine was blue printed and balanced using Chevrolet oversized valves, rockers with an Edelbrock carburetor and intake manifold. The transmission is an automatic coupled with a stock rear end. A deeper grill, revised tail lamps, and sculptured side panels that come together with twin simulated air scoops, mark the 1967 Mustang. When this car was made, there were 44,808 produced and sold for $2,698. They weighed in at only 2,738 pounds which made the cost just $.99 per pound. David C. Anderson
2005 Ford F-350 Harley Davidson Edition Named "Mans Ruin" this is a class act. This 2005 Ford F-350 Harley Davidson Edition #2416 was built for the SEMA Automotive Show.
The equipment is as follows: Kellerman 12 inch Air Ride lift, Super Star wheels by KD with 43 inch Nitro tires. Pioneer Sound System with GPS, DVD with six monitors in dash, head rest and external cased. Sound system done by Rob at Hayloft Auto, fabrication by Steve of Fabcraft, lights by PIAA, running boards and rear step by ATS, push bar by Westin, Banks 4 inch exhaust system, design by Hayloft Graphics & Design. Air brushed by Matt Hubbard, powder coating by Armor Powder Coating, parts & assembly by Hayloft Autobody & Sales.
If you want a high-rise view of a race, the aluminum box rises 9 feet in the air, complete with video and sound recording equipment. Open the door and the step drops down for easy entry. Many of the items featured are specially made of this truck. The murals painted on each side are true works of art featuring the Viet Nam War on one side and the Hayloft Girls along with racing cars on the other. Frank Miller Lolo, Montana
1929 Ford Model A 170-A Sedan This model is one of the rarest of models, primarily because it was first produced in late 1929 and only produced for a few months when the new 1930 models appeared. The model 170-A is refered to as a Blind Back because of the lack of a rear quarter window.
Ford made another four door sedan without these windows that are sometime confused with the model 170-A. These are the "leatherback" model 60-A with a brown simulated leather top produced in 1928 and model 60-C, called the steel back, which also appeared later in 1929 and had no leather on the top, just steel (with the traditional top material in the center, of course).
This Model-A was restored by Frank Politelli of Southern California and first shown at the 1998 Reno National Model A Convention sponsored by the Model-A Club of America. The cars are judged according to how closely they resemble the condition of the car in comparison to the month and year the car was built and would have appeared in the Ford showroom. This vehicle qualified for blue ribbion judging but was entered in touring class judging at Mr. Politelli's insistence. However the cars are judged the same in both classes. This car received 451 points, well over the 400 out of 500 needed to receive the First Place Award. As I recall, it was the 5th highest scoring in this national meet, a very impressive achievement ! This car was later shown at the Southern California Regional Model A meet held in Temecula, California and also received a first place award. Jim Beley purchased the car shortly after this meet. Craig and Karen purchased this car May 22, 2006. Craig & Karen Swenson Billings, Montana
1957 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible Richard & Pat purchased this 1957 Pontiac Bonneville new when they got married from Jim Brooks Pontiac in Helena, Montana. This was the very first year for the Bonneville, all of which were convertibles. The emergence of the Bonneville from the old man's car to a young man's car was made possible with styling that was bolder, and more youthful, with performance that would move it to the forefront. Many amenities; power steering, electric seats, windows, and an electric antenna. Power brakes and longer leaf springs were added for an easier ride. This car was equipped with a 300 brake horsepower fuel-enjected engine, hydraulic lifters and a racing cam. Only 630 of these convertibles left the factory. At $5,782, they were the costliest and fastest Pontiac ever made. This fuel-injected version was timed at 18 seconds in the quarter mile. As strictly private entries, Bonnie cars raced with distinction in NASCAR. Richard & Patricia Proul, Helena, Montana
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Hardtop They acquired this 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-door hardtop in 1982. It was in showroom condition and completely stock. The 283 small block with a four speed transmission and 411 gears make for smooth driving at highway speeds. There were not many cars that had electric windows and electric seats. Like most cars of the '50s era, the '57 Chevrolet would be considered the defining car based on public perception. Only 166,426 of these Bel Air sport coups were made, selling for about $2,299. The car weighed 3,278 pounds on a 115 inch wheelbase. Typically, they were loaded with many extras, adding large profits for General Motors. Seven engine choices were available from the basic 140 horsepower six, all the way up to the 283 CID V-8 "Ram Jet" fuel injection, producing a full 283 brake horsepower. In June of 1957, Chevy became the formidable competitor on the NASCAR track and other stock car events. During the 1957 Datona Speed Week, cars in class 5, (259-305 CID) were able to take 33 of the top 37 places. The fasted car averaged a speed of 137.076 mph. This was in the Pure Oil Manufacturers Trophy points award, Chevy won 574 points to the runner up Ford, with 309 points. When these cars were built, the average worked made $4,230 a year. The average family income was $5,034 with doctors earning over $22,000. If you were the everyday workingman, your earnings were about $2.08 per hour. Work for women beyond the family was limited, their wages were much lower than men and good paying jobs eluded them. Ken & LaDeen Dykema Manhattan, Montana
1957 Chevrolet Pickup
cool ride by any standard, this '57 Chevy half ton has it all. Charlie installed a 350 cubic inch crate motor equipping it with an Edelbrock 600 carburetor and a cast iron crank case. A Durashine manifold with a mild blower cam gives it just enough acceleration. The turbo 350 transmission makes an excellent choice for the road trips, which are quite frequent in this family. Steve Johnson did an excellent job chopping the top and then appling a showroom paint job with flames and graphics.
In 1957 General Motors did a mild facelift for this new model, including a new grill and oval fender badges. They flattened the hood and gave it two longitudinal bulges that many used to install the windspit ornaments that were found on the Chevy cars. A collector will give it "thumbs up." It has enormous cargo and people capacity. Replacement parts are in good supply. Charlie & Eileen Fisch Townsend, Montana
1951 Chevrolet Sedan Delivery Their dad looked for several years trying to locate a 1951 Chevrolet Sedan delivery. He wanted to fix it up to look like the original one that he and his wife started the business with.
Mick spotted it in the rear view mirror of a pickup that he was driving. It was in October of 1978. Unfortunately, his father passed away in June 1978, four months before they found this vehicle. Two doors were welded shut, bumpers welded on, roof and hood caved in. The engine was not running as the oil was like tar. The original 216 engine and three speed column were still in the vehicle. Mick shared the story of his dad's dream with a group of his friends called the Big Sky Street Rod Association, of which he is a member. These guys adopted this project and turned it around in just 45 days, complete with painting, graphics and lettering.
His folks called this car their "Panic Wagon" and his mother was the driver. She handled all the deliveries of flowers daily throughout the community, along with 3 kids bouncing around in the back. The rose etched in the back window was the original logo for their store.
The Gainan's delivery van was presented the 1st Christmas without their loving dad, in loving memory of "The Founder" to their mom, Betty "Gramma G" (Panic Wagon) Gainan. Mick & Lynnette Gainan Billings, Montana
1932 Hupmobile - Model 216-B There are only nine of these beauties registered. Scott found this car in Fort Collins, Colorado in a garage where it was parked for 35 years. He began the restoration by powder coating the frame. All of the original suspension was used. The body, which is all wood, was found to be in very good condition. He treated the wood to retain its original construction. The body remains completely uncut and unchanged. The car has drum brakes, no heater or air conditioner and no windshield wipers. he reworked the wiring and steering column, added new gauges, race seats and more interior wood. There was not any rust found on the body. The engine is a chevy small block with a 700R4 transmission. The body work and painting took only about two months. He is one lucky guy ! Scott Remus Loveland, Colorado
1957 Plymouth Fury Sport Coupe The 1957 Plymouth Fury Sport Coupe was a product of chief designer Virgil Exner of the Chrysler Corporation. It was known for its "Forward Look." Purchased in 2000 by Howard & Rosetta, this original Fury is painted off-white with gold trim, a new production color for 1957. Even the air cleaner had gold color on this new V-800 dual-carb 318 cid. This engine was new to the Fury hardtop, was the biggest in the low priced field. It developed 290 bhp and 320 foot pounds of torque. The transmission was a torque flit push button 3 speed. Designed more than four inches wider and three inches lower with tall "shark fins". It was truly one of the best styled cars of the year. Production was 7,438. Selling at $2,925, built on a 118 inch wheel base it weighed 3,595 pounds. Howard & Rosetta Barrick Bozeman, Montana
1949 Mercury Coupe One of the most beautiful and sought after cars is the 1949 Mercury Coupe. This one is amazing in every way. It is a complete customizied version with a chopped top, suicide doors and flame fender skirts. When Dick purchased this car in 2001, he could only visualize what it would look like in the years to come. The ghost flames are some of the best quality I have seen, and from every angle they appear a different shade of blue. From the reset custom tail lights, shaved door handles to the graphics of this car on the fire wall, you will find an eye for detail. The interior can only be described as striking with its blue and white trim through out. When you find a car in great shape like this one was, building it into a dream car was made much easier. Retained was the 302 cid and the automatic transmission. Building a car like this may take years and it also takes a loving wife to give encouragement when things are not going well. Dick & Diana Anderson Great Falls, Montana
1950 Ford F-1 Pickup - "The Green Lizard" Trucks of the post war years were some of the best ever made. This truck belonging to Jeff Richardson, is no exception. Rugged style and durability are hallmarks of this classic. Jeff restored this F-1 in 1982 only to up-date it in 2000 - to a certain point. It has a 302 cid with a B&M blower, a C-6 automatic transmission with a Ford 9 inch rear end and 3:55 gears. The front suspension is a Mustang II IFS, giving it a lower look and increased road handling ability. He was able to use the original stock seat with crushed velvet covering. This pickup is known to all the car buffs as the Green Lizard. Ford spent $1,000,000 yes one million dollars to design and tool this cab with the comfort of your best arm chair. Ford styling rebounded from the 1948 models with a popular multi-national grill. Ford also used the term "Bonus Built" for their trucks. Jeff Richardson Billings, Montana
1969 GMC Pickup General Motors Corporation has a very colorful history. Included in that history is this 1969 GMC pickup. Founded in 1901 under the name Rapid Motor Vehicle, GMC's very first engine was one cylinder. Two companies decided to merge in 1911. The name change followed in 1912 - General Motors Truck was born. Their first new truck became the star of the New York Auto Show. In 1916, they drove from New York to Seattle in 30 days. GMC made 600,000 of these trucks for World War II. Their solid reputation lives on.
When Brett & Annetta first saw this truck in 1990, they fell in love with it. They both felt it would be a wonderful Valentine's gift to each other..... something to enjoy for years to come. They have been customizing it ever since. They finished the truck in 2007 with a Ram Jet 502 with factory air, tilt steering wheel and an automatic 700R4 transmission. Tim Thielen did the mechanical work and added a 4:56 rear end. Tod's Custom Paint did the body and paint and TTT Upholstery did the interior. Both companies are located in Sheridan, Wyoming. Brett & Annetta Sayer Sheridan, Wyoming
1968 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible There's nothing like the thrill of the chase! General Motors called it the thrill of the ride. They dubbed the 1968 Camaro the "Hugger" for its ability to give the feeling of a true sports car. GM had to play catch up because Ford had a two year headstart with the Mustang.That being said, the Camaro production figures rose sharply in each of the years '67 to '69. Bill Mitchell was the chief designer of the Camaro and gave it the long hood, a short rear deck, and a chiseled look to appeal to the sports car minded who needed room for the family. Mark and Kathi sold their '62 Chevy and were experiencing that empty feeling that only a car buff knows. They yearned for another classic and had been looking around when a co-worker told them about this Camaro convertible. It had the original 327 engine with an automatic transmission. The person lost interest after failing at the restoration.
After purchasing this car, or shall we say the parts, they began a total, frame-off restoration which took two years to complete. The flaws were numerous and took many hours to correct. Rod Stoddard did a remarkable job on the body and paint; Mark did his own upholstery. This car has won many major car shows throughout the north west. It is one classy convertible. Mark & Kathi Tronstad Billings, Montana
1972 Ford Mustang Boss Mach 1 The last BOSS?! Will we ever know? This 1972 Mach 1 may have been the last Boss 351 engine ever placed in a Ford Mustang. This car has matching numbers and rolled off the production line in early October of 1971. It is also the 181 st car built in 1971. Ford had planned to continue production of the Boss 351 into 1972, but pressure from the insurance industry and rising gas prices put the kibosh on what was possibly the fasted production car ever made. The last four Boss 351 engines were cast and assembled in June and July of 1971. This car has one of those engines. It was custom ordered by a Ford district manager in Cincinnati, Ohio. Nate purchased it in 2005 when it was just partially restored. The restoration took three years at the nation's top restoration school, Wyotech of Laramie, Wyoming, for the body and paint. Nate completed the upholstery himself. The transmission is a C-6 automatic. The value of a car like this will be determined as the few remaining cars become even more rare. New this car sold for about $4,124 and weighed 3,281 pounds. Nate Murphy Billings, Montana
1932 Ford Highboy From the time Bill was just 8, he had this fascination for the '32 Ford. He got his glimpse of the '32 in Pismo Beach, California. 42 years later, he got envolved with cars in earnest. Bill and Karen starter Gold Top Restorations, specializing in building and restoring Corvettes. But in the back of his mind was his dream of owning a '32 Highboy.
In 2002, he purchased a Rod Bods '32 to build using the parts he collected over the years. He just didn't have the time needed to complete it. he realized he was going to have to bite the bullet and purchase a '32. In April 2007, they went to the N.S.R.A. event in Bakersfield, California. He found the '32 of his dreams at the T.C.I. booth. The owner Jerry Schultz, and Bill hammered out a deal. After all these years, Bill & Karen had their Highboy.
The body work was done by Jerry Schultz, paint by Bills Hot Rod Shop, both of Oakdale, California, Sid Chaverz of San Francisco did the upholstery. They installed a ZZ4 350 Chevy engine with a 700R4 transmission and a Currie rear end. They're now having the time of their life traveling the National Parks in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, Riding in style where ever the winds may take them. Bill & Karen Verboon Tetonia, Idaho
1957 Chevrolet BelAir Four Door Hardtop The greatest way to relive our youth is through the creation of one of the happiest moments of our lives. Jerry and Cheryl did just that with their unrelenting dedication to each other by recreating a car like the one that carried their worldly goods when they went off to college. The average person would never think of starting a project of this magnitude, but then you haven't met jerry & Cheryl. They purchased it in the northern city of Sunburst, Montana, where it was stored inside for at least twenty years. A journey of six years started with a rotisserie frame off restoration and required three donor cars to complete the job. You may ask why they chose the two-tone colors of Sierra Gold and Adobe Beige. Simple, it was the original color scheme of their first car. Steve Dahl of Dahl's Auto Body in Three Forks, Montana, completed the body and paint work; Mount Helena Upholstery of Helena, Montana, completed the interior. Jerry installed the 327 cid, which produces 395 bhp, adding a 4-speed Saginaw transmission and topping it off with a Dakota Digital dash. The '57 Chevy was regarded as the defining car of the '50's .... an honor it holds today. Jerry & Cheryl Lehr Three Forks, Montana
1956 Chevrolet Nomad A lady with a sense of humor, flare for life, or simply adventuresome, no matter how you say it, it fits Karen Gray. This mother really didn't want to buy this car. After all, there are more important things to spend money on. This '56 Chevy Nomad was up for sale at a sheriff's auction. On a lark, she asked a friend to throw in a ridiculously low bid as she left for work. The next thing she knew she owned a Nomad.... and did it need restoring! She thought the entire matter would bring about a divorce, the money was needed elsewhere. However, when she took a look at what she had, she fell in love. It's now her driver. Who ever thought a station wagon would be cool. Thoughts of her mothers station wagon brought back many good memories. She recalls her mother cruising at around 60 mph, taking her foot off the gas, and the station wagon just rumbling. After all, it was loaded with Cub Scouts, golf clubs and dogs. It was an adventure, GM said this wagon stole the thunder from the high priced cars. Today it is a true classic to car collectors. Only 7,886 were made and they sold for $2,608. Karen & Zane Gray Billings, Montana
1962 Chevrolet Corvette The right place at the right time ... it happens! So it was when Chris came upon this 1962 Corvette for sale. His father always had a Corvette, so it was natural for his son that he would have one of his own someday. There were only 14,531 cars produced during the '62 model year.
Equipped with a Chevy 327/360 bhp and a four speed transmission and sporting a Positraction 3:36 rear end, this is a true sports car. This car needed a lot of TLC and during the next year, Chris spent many long hours, not to mention a lot of money, giving this car the attention it deserved. His goal was to get rid of all the after market items and replace them with GM Corvette parts.
The car can be traced back to Butte, Montana, where it was originally licensed in 1967. The owner paid $600 for a new '68 Corvette engine from the factory. Later, the car changed hands many times. Each new owner added his own touch to it.
This car predates both Chris & Dillie. They have the privilege of enjoying it nonetheless. The will also enjoy the day to come when it is passed to their children.
The 1962 Corvette was the last to have the solid rear axle, which was typical of this time period. It gave a feeling of handling the later 'Vettes did not have. The quality of craftsmanship slipped a bit with later models due, in part, to increased production runs. Corvette enthusiasts use the term "Classic" on cars made through the '62 model year. It sold new for $4,038 and weighed 2,925 pounds. Chris & Dillie Schaff Worden, Montana
1969 Chevrolet C-10 Pickup
In America, the pickup is a way of life. We have grown up with it and embraced it as a symbol of the American work ethic. Travel to Europe and the pickup as we know it is scarce to non-existent. Ed and Linda purchased this one from a student attending Montana State University in 1998. The student was then able to pursue a degree of her choice.
They drove it to Anchorage, Alaska, where the basic restoration began. Work was incredibly slow until they returned to Bozeman, Montana. That's when Andy Rizdol was selected to complete the body and paint. After installing a 350 cid small block Chevy engine, they added a 350 Turbo automatic transmission. The bed of this pickup was crafted out of a very unique Mountain Ash wood. Red Barn Upholstery of Chino Valley, Arizona, installed the interior completing the restoration that spanned five long years. The truck now lives the good life in Prescott, Arizona, occasionally making the trek north to Montana ... during the summer. Edward & Linda Harter Prescott, Arizona
1957 Buick Special Rivera With its innovative styling, this 1957 Buick Special Riviera became one of General Motors crown jewels. This 2-door hard top model 46R has a 122 inch wheelbase and a 250 bhp nail V-8 to power it. The body lines were longer and lower than previous years. Reliability was considered excellent and featured better gas mileage than the '56. The body is very quite with great attention given to the interior design details including comfort and convenience for driver and passenger alike.
When Gary purchased this car in 1986, it was sitting on a K-Mart parking lot for sale. He drove the car as-is for two years before putting it in storage for the next 14 years.
Wives being what wives are, they have a way of making a point. Gary wanted to buy another car. Patti agreed, but with the stipulation that he had to complete the Buick. Note: Gary's newer car is still unfinished. The Buick, although in fair condition, needed restoration. American Auto Body did the body and paint. Gary had the skills to do the interior by himself. A friend Clark Elliot, rebuilt his nail head engine. All-in-all, the restoration took a mere two years to complete. The black paint has a heavy pearl, which shows off very in the bright sunlight. It sold new for $2,704 and was one of 64,425 manufactured during the '57 model year.
Gary & Patti Ugrin Billings, Montana
1967 Chevrolet Corvette You've probably heard the one about the 'Vette found in a barn ... yep, that's the story with this gem. When John & Ann purchased this 'Vette in 2006, they became the fourth owner. There was still a speeding ticket in the glove box from 1974.
This 1967 split window coupe is a true survivor with all matching numbers, a 327 cid, 350 bhp engine with an M21 4-speed transmission and a 3:70 Positraction rear end. The paint code is 988 -- Marlboro Maroon with a black leather interior. the starbust aluminum wheels were an option, made for only one year to accommodate the new wider tires used for this years Corvette.
John added some safety features such as power steering and brakes and spiced it up with an impeccable paint job by Rimrock Collision Center of Billings, MT
The 1967 Corvette became a car that never should have been built. Chevrolet had plans for an entirely new body, which got delayed by a year. The new body did appear on the 1968 model. This delay resulted in the '67 being regarded as a premium collector ca among sports car enthusiasts. Most of the emblems were left off of the '67, which made it the most appealing and sleek of all the Sting ray bodies.many of those who opted to wait for the 1968 model regretted their decision later on as the '67 became regarded as one of the "best of the best." The GM Mark of Excellence appeared only on the '67 Vett's door jamb and was exclusive to this model year. John & Ann Peycke Billings, Montana
1966 Mustang Convertible This car was purchased in Glendale, Arizona, in 2007. The 55 year old grandmother who owned it referred to her Mustang as "Sally." She mentioned that her little "girl" was kind of shy, but once she was out in the sunlight with the top down, she warmed to everyone. "Mustang Sally" had plenty of sunshine living in Arizona.
This car is an original C code with a balanced 289 cid V-8, C-4 Cruisematic with a 2:80.1 posi traction rear end. It was professionally restored by Chandler Auto Body Restorations of Chandler, Arizona. It has a Pony interior, factory air and allow street wheels.The dual Valance Trumpet exhaust tips provide a mellow tone to the pipes. With the GT package, it has firmer suspension, power front disc brakes and a wood trimed steering wheel. There were 72,119 convertibles made in 1966, with a total Mustang production of 197,190. The show room price was $2,653 ... or about a buck a pound. In 1966 the median age buyer for the Mustang was 31 as compared to 42 for the full sized cars. Craig & Karen Swenson, Billings, Montana
1955 Chevrolet half Ton Pickup Chevrolet pickups were at the top of their game when they made the '55 Chevy Half Ton. Its styling was innovative with the first wrap-around windshield in the industry. There were many features for the '55 like the egg crate grill and the unique hoods that covered the headlights. Visibility was enhanced with a full size rear window that was also a trend setter. New creature comforts included power brakes, a key start ignition complete with a 12-volt electrical system. Dennis purchased this Chevy in 1993 in very good condition. He was, however, not totally satisfied by it and began his own customizations. He started with a frame off restoration. He added a 350 cid small block, a Camaro 3-speed with a Camaro differential. Jim Vannoten did the body work and the very talented Kevin VanLaarhoven added the masterful ghost flames. Both men are from Billings, Montana.