The Tri-Five Chevys
My column of hood ornaments under the Automotive tab is getting pretty long. A while ago I reorganized it chronologically by brand. The trouble with that is that it is difficult to know which ones have been added more recently. So I will feature recently completed ornaments and emblems in this blog. That will also give me the opportunity to make more detailed comment about them.
The mid-fifties Chevy's were popular in their day and have developed a huge following since. The 1955, '56 and '57 models are especially iconic - they are now referred to as the "Tri-Five" Chevy's. Like the original iteration of the Ford Mustang, nostalgia items from the Tri-Five are always in demand. This is a horn ring from a 1955 or '56 Chevy. I bought the chrome ring at a DFW swap meet last fall. The painted cap I bought on eBay and refinished it. I drilled a hole in the center and installed a quartz clock. This is not yet sold.
Above is a hood ornament from a 1956 Chevy that I sold to a fellow who drove a '56 in high school. The '55 and the '56 hood ornaments are very similar and are often misidentified on eBay. Chevrolet used the bird and the plane theme for decades. In the fifties they combined them into airplanes with a bird's head. 1957 dropped the hood ornament in favor of two recessed, round, finned spears that look to some like machine-gun ports.
This a 1955 Chevy hood ornament. The most noticeable difference from the '56 is that the tail is longer, Another difference is that the wing tips were bolted to the hood with short legs. Since I wanted to display the bird-plane as though it is flying, I fabricated auxiliary wooden wing tanks and attached them to the wing-tip mounting brackets. This model is not yet sold - someone will come along who once owned a '55 and grab it.
Chevrolet used the same dashboard for 1955 and '56. Above is the radio speaker grill. Both radio and clock were optional back then. (As was a heater. A/C - are you kidding? That was available only in Cadillacs and Buicks.) I fit a modern quartz clock into the original clock hole. The original, perforated metal grill material was missing from this frame, so I bought a woven stainless steel wire grill and fabricated a replacement. The BelAir script and Chevy logo came from the rear quarter panel of the same year car. It is set in a walnut plaque that I carved to simulate the original dashboard. This was sold to another fellow who drove a '55 Chevy in high school.
Above are comparisons of different model-levels and years of the Tri-Five dashboards, instruments and steering wheels.
So here are the Tri-Five. When I was in grade school our next door neighbor bought a brand new, yellow '57 BelAir 4-door hardtop. BelAir was still the top model - Impala was to come out in '58. 4-door post sedans were common, but a 4-door hardtop (post-less) was rare. I would love to have that car today!
Christmas 2016, Canyon Lake, TX
For Christmas this year, Suzanne and I drove down to Canyon Lake in Central Texas and spent the holiday with Karl's family. Their girls came from San Louis Obispo as they had last year, only this year we got to see them. Suzanne has been preparing Christmas dinner every year since we were married, so this was the first time for her to have a relatively leisurely Christmas. She contributed her southern-style bean casserole and we picked up a tray of traditional tamales at a nearby Mexican restaurant before we left Denton.
Karl prepared a prime rib roast for Christmas Eve at his and Connie’s house. After dinner we opened presents, then headed back to our travel trailer early.
Christmas morning Karl went over to a neighbor’s house at 8 AM and spent the day cooking a turkey for about twenty guests for Christmas dinner that afternoon. Everyone brought side dishes. We joined the festivities in the afternoon and had dinner with Karl, Connie, Summer and Sugar. The reason that Karl cooked a big dinner at someone else's house was that the couple has traditionally hosted a large Christmas dinner for a number of friends, but the husband died last January. Karl offered to cook in his stead so that the tradition could continue. I did not bring my camera along, since I felt that photography would be inappropriate. But it was fun to meet many of the people Connie & Karl have made friends with during their nearly one year living in the trailer at the military trailer park and resort on Canyon Lake.
I am still trying new show venues to find those that provide the most effective exposure for my works.