My Classic Car: Jerry James’ 1957 Chevy Bel Air | Local News
did you acquire the car?My Dad bought it for me in 1968 or ’69. That was my first car. I turned 16 in 1970, and that’s when I started driving it. In 1972 I graduated from high school and was heading to technical school in Catawba County. He told me I needed to get a newer car for that. I got a Camaro. He kept this for me, restored it and painted it. He loved the color black. He passed away in 2017. You know how some people just take their hand and push the door shut? He would always say, “The door handle is used to open and close it.”
Tell us about your car (specs, restoration work, unique items).Dad had it reupholstered. He painted it. He had a 1964 283 motor put in it before I started driving it. It has automatic transmission. He added the Continental Kit, power steering, tilt steering and Vintage Air.
Do you have a fun/interesting story about the car?Dad showed it over the years and won lots of trophies. But I do have a story. It’s funny and scary at the same time. When I went to North Iredell High School, one day a friend and I were both driving down Tomlin Mill Road after school. At the time, I thought it would be a good idea to pass my friend. But there’s a curve right after a bridge. The ’57 brakes were not that good — drum brakes. Anyway, I hit the brakes and it didn’t slow down like I thought it should have. I ran off the road on the other side, but I was able to correct it. My knees were knocking after that because there was a big embankment there. Thank God nothing was coming. That was a little scary.