LIMA — Jim and Sandy Bechtel, of Lima, were on a mission for more than 40 years. That mission was to locate a 1949 Chevy Deluxe Convertible, which was Jim’s first car when he was 15 years old.
Luckily, Jim and his wife don’t give up easily, because they obtained their goal.
“They did not make many convertibles back in 1949 and 1950; they weren’t as popular,” Bechtel said. “You could find a 1949 Chevy, but it wouldn’t be a convertible. It took me a long time to find this convertible.”
The Bechtel’s found their beauty in Illinois.
“A guy in his late 70s owned it, and he had it since 1973,” Bechtel said.
Chevrolet presented a new style of automobiles after World War II. Their designs included a lower, sleeker body. The front fenders blended into the doors, while the rear fenders stuck out of the sides of the car. The windshield included a two-piece curved glass that improved vision while also adding to the sleek look.
There were 14 new models of Chevrolet in 1949 and two trim levels, the Special and the Deluxe. A two-door Chevy Deluxe Convertible sold for approximately $1,857 back in 1949.
When the Bechtel’s located the car, it was cream in color. They have since painted it a beautiful burgundy color.
“We have owned it for 15 to 16 years now, and the first five to eight years were spent redoing it,” Bechtel said.
The Bechtel’s car includes a 453-horsepower small-block Chevy engine. It’s an automatic with a turbo transmission and includes two four-barrel carburetors. The car features power steering and power windows.
“We enjoy going to car shows and cruise-ins over the years. Now we just take it out and go for a nice ride,” Bechtel said.