of Big Red
(click on photos for larger images)
In February of 1989, I located this 1941 Chevrolet 4 door Special DeLuxe in Boulder, Colorado. The car had a brushed on black enamel paint job and the original interior. The car was complete and driveable. The owner said this was a father/son project that was never completed. Actually, it did not look like the project was ever started, but I knew this was the car for me. We agreed on a price, I bought the car and drove it home.
I decided the best course of action would be the total disassembly of the car, replacing or restoring parts as I proceeded, and storing them for later reassembly. I videotaped a lot of the work as it progressed, thinking it would help in putting this three dimensional jigsaw puzzle back together. My advice to anyone new to car restoration... take plenty of still shots. These pictures are much easier to refer to than a video tape.
I am not sure how many hours were put into completing this project, but the restoration was finally finished in September of 1996. The body and paint was done by a friend, Paul King, the chrome went to Classic Chrome in Denver, and the rest was done by me with help from my friends. The frame was scraped and painted. The engine restored and detailed. We painted the car a color close to ruby maroon, an original 1941 Chevrolet color, using modern paint. The interior headliner and door panels were done in taupe colored material. The gauges, clock, steering wheel, and radio were restored to like new condition. All the rubber and glass, except for the curved rear window, was replaced. The dash and window surrounds were stripped and wood grained. To make a long story short, I believe I touched every nut and bolt on this car during it's six year restoration!
Many parts were bought from VCCA members through the classified ads of the monthly Generator & Distributor magazine. The rest came from Chev's of the 40's in Washington state.
The original options on this car are as follows:
I am convinced that anybody with patience and perseverance can restore a vintage auto themselves. Research, time, and money will equal a vehicle that you will be proud to drive and own. I know my car would not show well against a full professional restoration costing many thousand dollars more than what I spent, but that was not the idea. I wanted a classic to drive on nice days and weekends, not a professionally restored auto trailered to car shows for awards only. These cars definitely have their place in the world of classic car collecting and investment, and are truly wonderful to behold, but do not let that stop you from doing the restoration yourself, if you are willing to take the time to do it right.