Real Wheels: Griffith brothers are Chevy people

CONTINENTAL – Make no mistake about it. The Griffith brothers – Terry, 67, of Continental, and Kim, 66, of Defiance — are true Chevy people.

Their preference for the General Motors’ product is a sentimental one. It goes back to that first time they turned the key in a vehicle’s ignition. It was the 1970s and one couldn’t watch TV without hearing the popular marketing jingle, “Baseball. Hot dogs. Apple pie and Chevrolet.”

Kim looks at the 1968 Camaro he began restoring almost three years ago and says, “The fact that this car was saved and able to ride the streets again makes me feel good. And it’s very special because of the time I got to spend with family and friends working on it.”

Terry echoes similar words about the 1955 Chevy 210 Sedan he and friends began restoring five years ago. “My wife, Darlene, and I were both born in 1955, so that’s a special year for us. She loves driving around in this car as much as I do.”

Kim got a hold of his Camaro after it had been out of commission for around 40 years.

He explained, “A good friend of mine had it stored in a barn since about 1980. I knew he had it for all those years, but he had all intentions of restoring it himself. Then, one day I got a call from him saying he was ready to sell, so we worked out a deal.”

What Kim ended up buying was a car that was “pretty much just a rolling chassis with some of the interior,” he said. Some of the parts could be salvaged, others needed junked.

“The car had new quarter panels, fenders, hood and a trunk lid put on it right before it was stored in the barn. It had all GM parts, which made it great for fitting all the body lines. There was no motor or tranny. It now has a small block 350 engine with a Muncie four-speed transmission and Hurst shifter,” Kim said.

When it came time to paint, Kim enlisted a friend, Dave Krumel. The original car was dark green metallic, but Kim said “I’ve always been partial to black, so that’s the color we decided on. It turned out great … looks new inside and out.”

Kim and his wife, Kay, are proud of that.

He says, “All of the old classic muscle cars are special to me. In my opinion, they were the best cars to hit the streets.”

As for Terry’s 1955 Chevy, he says he always wanted to own a Tri Five, which is the nickname of the iconic 1955, ‘56, and ‘57 Chevrolet models.

“I decided I was going to get one before I retired,” he said.

Terry found the car in Kentucky. It was in “fair shape with some hidden problems.”

With the help of Kim, Terry did a frame-off rotisserie restoration. That saw them clearing out the interior of the car body and unbolting it from the frame. Also removed were the engine, transmission and suspension.

“We sand-blasted everything, including the frame, and painted it. We replaced the floor pans, added completely new wire harnesses as well as an all new interior. It took almost two years,” Terry said.

The car was painted orange and cream by Don Noffsinger of Continental, who is the father of Terry’s son-in-law.

It has a 383 stroker engine (350 block) with an automatic transmission.

“Seeing the end product after all the hard work just makes you feel really good,” Terry said.


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