Ken Santoro – '68 Chevelle and '78 Camaro
You might recognize Ken, since he started Ground Up, the restoration parts supplier for Chevelles, Novas, G-bodies, and Camaros. Ken bought his '68 back in 1980, for the meager sum of $900 from his girlfriend's father. This car helped inspire him to start Ground Up, after hunting swamp meets and shows looking for parts to fix the car. Today he still owns it. He also has the '78 Camaro Z28 he bought brand new and drove cross country, all the way to California and back from Connecticut.
Steve Hornback – '55 Bel Air Sedan
Steve inherited the '55 from his great grandfather in 1975. Currently the car is undergoing a modern restomod rebuild, including an Art Morrison chassis, LS motor, and a host of other custom touches. "I get criticized for bothering to customize a four-door, but the car has been in the family since 1955, so I did not care. Now that I'm 55 years old, my older friends can climb in for a ride a lot easier."
Bill Way – '53 Chevy
As an eager young gearhead, Bill got his '53 by first painting flames on his mother's car, then by lowering her then-new '57 Chevy. To get their son to leave their cars alone, the Ways bought him the '53 to focus his hot rodding tendencies on. Later, Bill would sell the '53 to buy a '54 Corvette.
Mark LeBlanc – '70 Camaro
When he headed off to Tulane University in the late '70s, Mark was behind the wheel of this Camaro. Later on in college (1978) and after the purchase of a C3 LT-1 Corvette, Mark turned the F-body into a show car, bringing home trophies from various events in Louisiana. He traded the car for parts he needed for the Corvette in the '80s. Mark figures the car met its end when Katrina blasted through the area.
Mark and Joe Lunsford – '56 Chevy
Mark sent us this picture of his dad perched on the fender of the family's '56 back in 1960. Mark says, "He was 19 years old when this pic was snapped. When he joined the Army reserves back then, it would make the trip from Indiana to Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri. And since my dad was always a good shade tree mechanic, they would just take those Chevys apart and put 'em back together again just for fun. I came along in '63, and now that I'm 50 years old, I have a '69 Camaro RS that I've had for three years now. Sure wish he was still here to help me work on it. Don't think I'll ever be the mechanic he was."
Terry Nixon – '64 and '68 Chevelles
Terry is pictured with his '64 in 1967, after installing a Duntov cam in the 283. With a four speed, numerous Mustang owners saw his taillights when racing. After that came the '68 SS396 with an L78/four-speed combo. That pic was snapped in '69, after Terry had installed Mickey Thompson Super Scavenger headers, Mallory dual-point ignition, and American Racing wheels. Terry still has the original bill of sale from when the '68 was new.
Mark Harrison – '65 Chevelle Convertible
His first car, this pic was snapped in 1973 with Mark's sister Kristie in front of the ragtop. The 283 was treated to a 350 HP 327 cam, Hurst shifter for the four-speed, a Q-Jet carb, Rocket chrome reverse wheels, air shocks, and dual exhaust.
Harry Henderson – '68 Camaro SS
This was taken in 1972. Originally a six-cylinder car with a three-on-the tree, Harry dropped in a 350 backed by a Muncie four-speed, and repainted it Hunter Green with white Z/28 stripes. Harry later traded it for a ‘70 GTO.
Phil Veldheer – '55 Bel Air Hardtop & '56 210 Townsman Wagon
Back in the golden age of the NHRA, it wasn't uncommon to see an invasion of flat-towed Tri-Fives show up at the U.S Nationals. Phil Veldheer was one of those in '67, dragging his H/SA '56 wagon to Indy behind his '55 Sport Coupe. Phil still races the wagon today. That's dedication.
Mark Lacey – '67 Chevelle Convertible
Mark's ragtop was one of the few that left the factory with straight-six power that year. He bought the car for $500 in 1980 from the original owner. After replacing the water pump, he drove it every day, including all the way to Fort Bragg when he enlisted in the Army in '82. Then he drove it back to St. Louis in '84, stored it while on deployment to Germany and Korea (twice), drove it again as a daily driver between overseas deployment from 1993-'98. In '06, he started a five-year frame-off restoration.
Tom Field – '69 Camaro RS
Tom has a lot of good memories with his former Camaro. Bought in the spring of '82, Tom slowly rebuilt the car, taking his future wife to their senior prom in style in '83 (they're still married today with two daughters. The larger picture is from July '84, just after he finished rebuilding the car.
Dan Finch – '55 Bel Air & '57 210 wagon
Dan started with a '59 four-door Biscayne, then traded it straight up for a '69 Camaro RS convertible (gotta love the good old days!), and while driving the Camaro spotted a red '55 for sale. He chased the owner down, and traded him the Camaro for the hardtop. Dan added a tunnel ram-equipped LT-1, Super T-10, and a 5.13-geared rear, then went to Cordova Dragstrip and beat on some trailered Hemi cars. While still driving the '55 every day, it returned 4 mpg. He'd park it in the winter and use the pictured '57 to get around. When he left to attend Texas A&M in 1974, Dan sold the '55 and picked up a more economical '66 Nova, which he used to move back home after graduating (pictured).
Roy Benstead – '56 Bel Air Sedan
Roy bought his '56 from Enoch Chevrolet in South Gate, California. It was the first new car he ever bought, and his friends said he'd drive it till it fell apart. Well, 57 years later, the Bel Air hasn't fallen apart, but he still owns it. He just had the engine rebuilt, a new interior from Ciadella installed, along with a few odds and ends from Danchuk.
Robert Beaumont – '63 Impala Convertible
When he got his '63, Rob took the slogan "See the USA in your Chevrolet" to heart. This pic was taken on one of many cross-country trips from Miami to Long Beach, California. As Rob notes, "The only issue I had was an incident of an overheating condition pulling a U-Haul through the Mojave Desert. I hitchhiked off down the desert highway with a water can and then took the thermostat out. We made the rest of the trip with no problems. The wife at the time of the photo was 20. She is now 66."
Milt Volosyn – '56 210 Sedan & '64 Impala
The '56 was Milt's first car (we're honestly wondering how many readers' first cars were Tri-Fives) with a 235 six and three-on-the-tree. Milt says he used to hunt down heavy Crown Vics with the 210, beating them often with two less cylinders. The second photo is of Milt's '64 Impala he bought new. Painted factory Azure Aqua, the car had a 327/three-speed combo, and Milt added dual fours, a Hurst Small H floor shifter, and a diaphragm clutch.
Bill Salzman – '68 Camaro
This vintage pic is from the ‘80s, and Bill says this is the first SS clone he and his friends ever built. While he doesn't have the '68 anymore, Bill does own a tire-smoking '67 Camaro he has fun with.
Ron Greulich – '69 Camaro SS396
Ron picked up his '69 in 1979 from the original owner for $3,800—a princely sum for a 10-year old Camaro at the time. A factory 325 HP car, Ron was only two years out of high school when he got it. The original owner had just repainted the car, then Ron removed the front clip, detailed the engine bay, and rebuilt the motor. He sold the car in '84. As he puts it, "I don't know what I was thinking!"
Stan Statham – '57 Bel Air
We'll let Stan's son Devin tell this story: "This Sport Coupe has seen a long history with our family since it rolled off the lot in '57. Dad bought it new, a 283-equipped Larkspur Blue car, painted green during the '70s, and today it is red and white with a red and black factory pattern interior.
"The hardtop has had quite a life. Wrecked by a 17-year-old son who is now a 44-year-old lieutenant colonel in the Air Force who has driven it at speed in well excess of 100…a fact which has only recently come to light. Crashed again by a 17-year-old daughter who is now a 36-year-old master's candidate. Fixed up better after each incident, with several quasi-restorations over the past 56 years. The original 283 is still in place and gets put to work regularly. Dad's driven it through his equally storied career as a Rock and Rock DJ, Nightly News Anchor, legislator, and now the CEO of the California Broadcasters Association." – Lt. Colonel Devin Statham