Bow Tie Briefs - Chevy News - July 2014

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30 Years later, Stolen ’57 Bel Air Recovered

In 1984, Ian “Skip” Wilson’s ’57 Chevy Bel Air was stolen from his Northern California garage. In early February, he got it back—restored!

In the three decades after it was reported stolen, it changed hands four times, was refurbished with a powdercoated frame, a 350-inch small-block, plus rack-and-pinion steering and other upgrades. It was in a shipping container at the Port of Los Angeles, bound for Australia, when U.S. Customs & Border Protection agents, doing a routine VIN search, spotted it.

“There’s all kinds of chrome added under the hood,” Skip told Santa Rosa, California’s The Press-Democrat. “The headers look brand-spankin’ new, [and] the tires, they look like they haven’t even been around the block.”

Skip’s ’57 was stolen twice from his Clearlake Oaks, California, garage—the first time in ’83, when it was recovered minus engine and transmission, then again the next year.

Now—after paying $900 for shipping home—it’s back. “Somebody put a whole lot of work and money into that car,” Skip told The Press-Democrat, adding, “I imagine somebody in Australia must be awful upset.”

And the California Department of Motor Vehicles—which transferred the title to this car four times after it was reported stolen—has some explaining to do.

(Online: Read more about Skip and his ’57 on The Press-Democrat’s site, pressdemocrat.com/article/20140219/articles/140219502)
(Photo by Christopher Chung/The (Santa Rosa) Press-Democrat)


Fire-Engine Red SS Sets the Daytona 500 Pace

Here’s a look at the Chevy SS that saw race-day pace-car duty at this year’s Daytona 500. This isn’t the one that burned up during the Sprint Unlimited all-star race, however. That one was blue.

If you watched the Sprint Unlimited, the pace car became an unscheduled part of the show when Brett Bodine (NASCAR’s official Sprint Cup Series pace car driver) and another NASCAR official had to make a quick bailout when it filled up with smoke during Lap 55.

What we’ve heard from our sources at Daytona is that the caution lights’ wiring was the culprit, which Chevrolet confirmed in its post-race statement. “The pace car experienced a fire in the trunk area, which contains a purpose-built auxiliary electrical kit to operate the numerous caution lights during the race. The pace car driver and passenger safely exited the vehicle. An assessment is under way.”

We don’t know if that setup was “borrowed” from the ’14 Caprice cop car that shares the same platform (and trunk-mounted battery), but the blue SS was hauled up to the GM Tech Center for a thorough exam and failure analysis.


On the Block

Mecum Kissimmee Auction Edition

’68 Corvette coupe L88…hammer price = $530,000. Sold new in The Land Of 10,000+ Rusting Fords (Minnesota), this Shark ran a best of 11.70 seconds at 120 mph on the quarter-mile back in the day. Restored and collector-owned since the ’90s, it came with tons of factory paperwork, previous-owners’ letters, and restoration documentation you’d expect to find with a Vette that’s earned Bloomington Gold/Survivor and NCRS Top Flight/Duntov Award honors.

1968 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe L88 2/5

’72 Camaro Z28…hammer price = $27,500. Built before the wildcat strike at Norwood that curtailed ’72 F-body production, this Z28 boasts a numbers-matching LT-1, Muncie four-speed, factory stripe package and just 46,637 original miles. Our question: Can you restore another second-gen Z28 to be this nice, for the price this one sold for?

1972 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 3/5

’56 Nomad restomod…hammer price = $91,800. Lots of “name” parts went into this shoebox, like an LS3, 4L60E transmission, and a Newman Car Creations frame with C4 Corvette suspension, and the buyer seemingly wound up with a huge bargain, as pre-auction estimates had this one crossing the block for around $125,000 to $175,000. (Another example of “Can you build it this nice for that price?”)

1956 Chevrolet Nomad 4/5

’68 Impala SS Sport Coupe…hammer price = $16,000. Speaking of bargains, here’s one that found a new home for under 20 grand. No mention of how many miles were on it, or if its 325hp 396 was the original engine, but it had a period-correct look going for it and—if its new owner keeps it in this condition—it’s bound to appreciate.

1968 Chevrolet Impala Ss Sport Coupe 5/5

(All of the photos are courtesy of Mecum Auctions)

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