Father’s Day winner: Bel Air passes from son to dad to son

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Editor’s note: This story was selected as our favorite submission for our Collecting Cars, Collecting Memories contest. Kent will receive a special gift basket.

As a way to celebrate Father’s Day, we posted every story we received. Thank you to all who submitted.


I bought this car in 1969 for $500 when my new ’69 Chevelle was rear-ended at a stop sign.

At the time, I was working at Don’s Speed Shop in Lawrence, Kansas, which was 30 miles from home in Kansas City, Kansas.

Instead of a rental car, I asked the insurance company to pay me to supply my own car. As was usually the case, this ’57 had been ridden hard but the body was really solid.

I stripped and repainted (with spray cans of lacquer) the dash — which had been painted with a brush — along with the door panels, headliner and most everything else. The seats were covered in black Sears “roll and pleat” seat covers.

I removed the 4-speed and sold it at the shop for $225 and replaced it with a 3-speed left over from my ’57 that I drag raced.

My Chevelle was repaired at the Chrysler-Plymouth dealership where my dad was the parts manager. By the time I got it back and the insurance company paid me, this ’57 was free.

I was going to sell it, but my dad — who had recently joined the Shriners — wanted it so he could be in the Antique Car Group.

He had it painted at a local body shop; a quickie respray over the original imperial ivory. He also redid the door panels, headliner, carpet and had the inside window moldings chromed.

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When he discovered that most of the Antique Group was Model A Fords, he felt kind of out of place at the parades. Dad, who to my knowledge had never owned a horse, decided to buy a big Palomino, with a silver saddle, cowboy uniform, horse trailer and joined the Mounted Patrol Group!

Of course, he added a trailer hitch and air shocks to the ’57 and used it as the tow vehicle for going to parades and other functions. 

After a few years, he bought a ’64 El Camino as the tow vehicle but fortunately held on to the ’57. At one time, he moved it to a garage at his small log cabin in Roscoe, Missouri. He was a car guy and was out of room at his home.

My dad passed away in 1985 and the ’57 was mine again. I left it at my mom’s house since my garage was full of Camaro and Corvette toys. Although I tried to drive it occasionally, I decided to sell it in 1995. Regret laterr set in and I spent two years trying to find it.

Finally, I found it in Springfield, MO and was able to buy it back in 2001! It looked pretty much like it was when I sold it but I paid a little more than $500 though.

Since then, I’ve continued to maintain and improve things — power steering, power windows, disk brakes, air, new crate motor, 5-speed, new interior, etc. It still has that 1969 quickie paint job, spray can dash and chrome inside moldings but I think dad would approve of the upgrades!

-Kent Schoneman in Lenexa, Kansas

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2 COMMENTS

  1. CONGRADULATIONS TRULY A GREAT STORY, I AM SURE YOUR FATHER IS LOOKING DOWN ON HIS GREAT SON FOR THAT FATHNER’S DAY STORY AND AWARD.

    THE EMPEROR OF CAR CRUISES

    HUGH ‘BABE’ O’DONNELL

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