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1955 Chevy Bel Air - Driver's Education

It's Been In The Family Since New And Has Taught Generations To Drive

Photography by Steve Reyes

Ralph Gable first laid eyes on the brand-new '55 Chevys at the York, Pennsylvania, fair. He had to have one, and it had to be a convertible. A short time later, Ralph traded in his '39 Chev for this Bel Air soft top with a 235ci six-cylinder standard-shift (for economy), and it's been in the family ever since. Total cost was $2,714.85, which wasn't cheap in 1955, but of course, it was well optioned. There was a radio (AM only), heater (an option then), special Tu-Tone Coral and Ivory paint, fender guards, grille guards, and white-wall tires. The dealer threw in the optional oil filter, turn signals, backup lights, anti-freeze, and 12 gallons of gas.

Dean Gable of Jacobus, Pennsylvania, has his dad's car now, and he remembers pulling and pushing the car around the family driveway before he was old enough to actually drive.

His first time behind the wheel was when dad drove him down to the local garage where some repairs had been done on the '55. Dad tossed him the keys, said, "Drive it home," and left. Dean had never driven this car and had never operated a stick shift. He learned quickly that day, however. Dean was lucky enough to be able to take the car on his first date.

In its lifetime the '55 took the family on vacations all over the East Coast. Sadly, it fell into neglect and sat outside for 10 years suffering rot to the top and floor. After Dean rescued it, the Chevy Shop in Dover, Pennsylvania, restored it to the condition you see now. It's once again a proud member of the family and will probably be used to teach another two or three lucky generations to drive.

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