Readers Rides

The Classic Bel Air

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By Mark Weisseg

Not too many people when they hear Bel Air think hot rod, or classic muscle car. In fact a lot of Bel Airs go unnoticed.

This is the car for all you younger guys and gals that if you unlocked the steering key lock you did not need a key to start it. How do I know this?

Well, I could have surfed the Internet and found it like many others but mine comes from the best source. Me. When we were young children we had to attend vacation bible school as well as youth group and church activities. Certainly nothing negative about that but I remember very well my sister and I being picked up by a family friend and riding to church in the back seat.

Not just any back seat. This car was huge with monster big fenders and quarter panels, a trunk to fit a family of four, and under the hood of this car was a six cylinder engine. Back then it was a grocery getter and around town car for the lady that owned it. I recall a huge back seat and I remember us not wearing seat belts. I loved the dash board of the car as it had plenty of chrome, buttons and levers to move. I was a young back seat driver even then and recall telling this fine lady what I would do if I were driving. Thank goodness this lady had the patience of Jobe to put up with the both of us back in the day. I do remember asking her where the key was to start the car. It is then she told me about how the ignition switch worked. Like many of you when I was younger we did not lock our house doors or the car doors. Heck, at times Dad left the car outside with the windows down. We knew were we lived and it was a tight knit neighborhood of the day.

I wanted so bad to get up front in that car. But, the front seat with that cheap plastic covers on it, that odd steering wheel, and man all those gadgets on the dash. What a car!

Fast forward to today and the Bel Air of old still does not get much respect. If one stumbles onto a four door a big yawn is let out and you bargain your way out of the deal. But clearly as shown above someone else found a sweet two door and made something very special out of it. I imagine the car still rides very nice and I will bet that it is not a little six cylinder or a very small V8 under this hood. It’s still a big car with big parts but the folks that did this car did justice to it. The paint is extreme and the wheel and tire package make this car something to stop and take notice of.

This car might be a future sleeper in that we all lean towards the same type of classics and we know what they are. But, when someone breaks through the other side and creates beauty like this I am more apt to take notice. I have fond memories of my week riding in the back of that Bel Air and I hope the owner of this Bel Air has years of enjoyment.

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