BLACK BEAUTY - MY MOM'S 68 CHEVY CAPRICE
This car was a special order in 1968. It took 3.5 months to arrive. I got to pick everything, including the buckets, 396 and SS package, but not the color. Mom picked green. I would have picked blue. Mom...sure hope you can see the progress!
Mom's first car was a 59 Chevy hot rod owned by the son of the Tommy Ayre's Chevy Dealership in Laguna Beach, California. The car was lowered in front and had massive pipes. Mom earned the nickname in town as the 'hot rod lady'. Living up to her nickname, her next car was a baby blue 1962 Impala SS.! P.S. Mom learned to drive at the age of 47 after Dad died.
Her family thought her very radical driving a fast car...they thought she was radical in all respects as she was so independent!...but they still came to visit.
Mom still drove, even after she could not walk any more.
My son Chris spent the summer with her up at Julian, California and grandma let him drive the Chevy to the store...I only found this out last year!
Mom left to go dance with my Dad and Jesus and the car became our Daily Driver. The '68 stayed rust-free in Tucson until my divorce when we left for the East Coast in 1991. After that, we quickly found out what humidity can do to an old car!
In 1996 I sold the car fast, in one day, for $850 as I was loosing everything and cried and cried as it left. Three years later I told my son to FIND THE CAR RIGHT AWAY. It was important and I knew it. A week later a man walked into Tire Kingdom, where my son was the Manager, and Chris happened to ask him if he had seen a green '68 Caprice anywhere in town. The man stopped dead in his tracks. He said 'is your mom's name Stephanie?' and we found our car. The man died the following week in a car crash and we purchased the car back from his widow for $1500. The title had never been signed and the car was still in my name. When it came home, it was time for tears again, as the man had parked the car in a vacant lot and had never driven it or covered it up. It was almost unrecognizable.
The rubber was gone and the nice interior and custom front and trunk carpeting was a pile of mold.
Shall we enter the old car? The armrest was removed by mom as it interfered with her trying to enter the car with a walker.
View of the back seat. You can see where I had paid previously to have the upholstery near the window replaced to keep up the interior.
The engine compartment was super dirty and everything leaked.
I moved down to Florida in 2006 and when I came home to NC I found that my son-in-law had been working on the car while in auto class at the college.
He sanded and primed the top.
And worked on the hood.
My daughter Candy had the car painted. Thanks Candy.
My son, Chris and my son-in-law are now officially 'car guys' as they have both put a lot of sweat and tears into mom's old '68. Thanks guys.
All the grandchildren have driven this car at one time or another. The dent, however, was due to the tow truck driver!
My poor car! Guess the light was damaged while it was sitting in that field...
Rust city along the bottom panels...
The trim was removed.
Views before the trip to the body shop.
Taping and primer.
Note the new trunk lid.
When are they going to remove that grille or emblem?
Answer...Mom's '68 looks great but has a long way to go.
It came home to it's next resting place awaiting it's owners return from sunny Florida.
Where it sat in anticipaton of it's move to Chuck's Automotive. Chuck is replacing and fixing anything and everything so that 'Black Beauty' purrrs home to Rose Hill soon. Soon after arrival she will be back in the body shop to have that top removed, the rubber replaced around the front and rear windows, all trim removed and holes filled for a smooth look, door handles removed, etc. and a better paint job. After that comes the new rubber, interior, trunk, stereo and real seashell interior trim.
Of course, the engine will have a newly painted compartment and all the nice chrome goodies. Real seashell trim you say? That sounds gaudy, but actually it will be super classy as the inside and outside of the car is midnight black. There will be black mother of pearl compartment overlays and knobs. Needless to say, I sell seashell! Please come back soon to view the progress on my very loved and special mom's 1968 Caprice. Once again, many thanks to my daughter Candy and her husband Jonathan. Thanks also to my son, Chris, who is helping me renovate the car today.