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Cars > alwaysakid’s Garage > Blog > 1951 Chevrolet Sedan (Heaven Bound)

 

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alwaysakid

M –59
Burnsville, Minnesota
United States

 
 

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Long Road Trip

By alwaysakid

Filed under: 1951 Chevrolet Sedan (Heaven Bound)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Such was the trip at the end of May as Brian Lee and his son drove Brian’s 1951 Chevy sedan delivery to Rochester, NY, where it currently resides.
First, some background – Ben had done most of the work of hotrodding the Chevy, installing the driveline from a 1974 Nova SS, including a 350 V-8, while he was in high school. So, Brian told him that if he graduated college without the need to sell the Chevy to help pay for tuition, he could buy the Chevy for the original price Brian paid to acquire the car out of a junk yard. Ben graduated from college three years ago, but hadn’t settled down until now. So he said now he wants to buy the Chevy.
Ben flew to Sioux Falls from Rochester, NY, and on May 26 He and Brian set out for Rochester, taking turns driving the Chevy and Brian’s Toyota (which used almost one-third of the gasoline the Chevy consumed). Grace rode along, but had no desire to do any of the driving.
It was fun driving the old Chevy down the highway and hearing the various comments at stops.
“Is that a Nomad?” In more than 15 years of ownership, that’s the first time it’s ever been mistaken for that!
The car performed flawlessly, always starting and running smooth. And while it was fun to drive, it was equally fun to watch from the other car. Man, that car looked good going down the highway.
Brian and Ben kept in contact with each other by using a set of walkie-talkies. Remember them? They still make them.
“GT to Heaven Bound, you gotcher ears on good buddy?”
“Ten-four, I gotcher back door, Little Blue.”
“Traffic’s getting thick, if we get separated, I’ll meetcha at the choke-and-puke at the next travel plaza.”
Ben turned to his mother and said, “The what?”
“The choke-and-puke! That’s what they called a restaurant on the movie Smokie and the Bandit.”
“Oh.”
But then there was the rain. It rained and rained, and we’re not talking spring showers. There were torrential downpours, that had even the best of drivers pulling over because they couldn’t see. The old Chevy, it still has vacuum-operated windshield wipers. So, during normal heavy rainfall, you could see while driving downhill, but not so well going up hills, when the acceleration used up the vacuum. And when the buckets came down, you couldn’t see from either car without slowing down dramatically.
“You still there, Heaven Bound?”
“I think so. I’m following a boat. It has trailer lights, but I can’t see the trailer. I think it’s just someone smart enough to use a boat to get down the highway.”
The skies were crying great floods, as Heaven Bound ran farther and farther away from South Dakota.
And then there was the weather-stripping -- or lack there-of. The Chevy always leaked when it rained hard. And as hard as it was raining on this trip, it leaked a lot. We had to hang our shoes, socks and even pants to dry when we spent the night in Indiana.
It’s just a hobby car, after all. When the weather was bad, it usually didn’t go out, so the vacuum windshield wipers and poor weather stripping had never been an issue before. And during the two-day drive to Rochester, NY, the car probably saw more rain than it had in the entire 17 years Brian has owned it.
But as they reached the New York state line, the rain subsided, for the most part. And upon arriving at Ben’s home, everything was rosy. The old car had made it.
Five days later, Brian left New York to return home – without the 1951 Chevy. All was not so rosy for him.
And again, the sky was crying.
So, who is the owner of Heaven Bound now? If you ask Ben, he is. His wife pointed out they have the car now, and possession is nine-tenths of the law. However, I still have the title to it, and if you ask any bank, possession of the TITLE is nine-tenths of the law when it comes to owning cars. He can enjoy it for a while, and we'll see how serious he is about this old car hobby. Maybe he'll buy it, and a family heirloom will be passed on. Or maybe he'll tire of it and find he doesn't have the time for it, upon which we'll have another long road trip (hopefully with better weather then).

Out & runnin'!

By alwaysakid

Filed under: 1951 Chevrolet Sedan (Heaven Bound)

I got the old Chevy out today, and it runs great, no worse the wear for sittin' all winter, although it did need the tranny fluid topped off. And that was $2 per gallon gas (I had bought it last fall) I was running on! Yee-ha!
I had replaced the alternator over the winter, as the car has a slight drain on the battery (needs recharging every 6-8 weeks), and the old alternator did test to be weak on the output charge. But the gauge still shows slightly negative when the motor is running, so I think something is till draining the battery, and I can't figure out what. The car's pretty simple electrically, so there isn't much to troubleshoot. I'm wondering if there's a short somewhere that I haven't found.
It's supposed to snow again tonight, so it may have to sit again until mother nature can bring some more rain to wash off the salt they'll probably thorw on the roads again.

How much gas

By alwaysakid

Filed under: 1951 Chevrolet Sedan (Heaven Bound)

I finally broke down and got the gas gauge fixed. For years, I kept track of my mileage and used that to determine how much gas was left in the tank. And it almost always worked! Almost. Recently I ran out on a dark night in the middle of nowhere, apparently because the previous time I bought gas the pump must've shut off early and I didn't get the tank full like I thought. So, I got an identical gas gauge from a junk yard for the dash, pulled the gas tank and replaced the sending unit. I also had the tank cleaned while it was out, as it badly needed it. I have to give thanks to my friends at J&M Transmission who helped in this project to bring life back to the gas gauge. It's kind of funny, though, after all the work and expense, nobody will notice this significant upgrade but me.
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Cars > alwaysakid’s Garage > Blog > 1951 Chevrolet Sedan (Heaven Bound)

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