1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Tim from Tennessee

Nothing brings people together like a car and the good times associated with owning and driving it. Keeping the restoration of a 1955 Bel Air Coupe local recently brought members of the Nashville community together. It rekindled and created warm and lasting memories for everyone involved. Tim and Yvonne already owned several collectors, but had been searching for this year, make and model for quite some time. The search led them to Barbara. She was the original owner, having purchased the Bel Air from a Nashville dealership back in 1955. It was her first car. She even had the original bank note and title. She was a single woman at the time and laughingly maintains her husband-to-be saw her first and then the car. The car sealed the deal. They enjoyed many an adventure in the Bel Air over the years, but when her husband became ill, the car was put in the garage and sat there for 20 years. Until Tim heard about the vehicle and made an offer sight unseen. Tim decided to have the vehicle restored to original condition, a two year process which involved all local renowned talent.  Randal Carver did the restoration. Ray Eller did the interior. As Ray’s daughter and filmmaker husband learned about the car’s history, they wanted to tell the story in a documentary. That is how “1955 Memories” – which can be viewed on YouTube – was born. The black and white photo flashbacks in the video portray a young Barbara as she describes her life-long love affair with the Bel Air. Toward the end of the video, Tim surprises her by rounding the corner of the yard in the car. She had not seen the car since the restoration. The look of surprise and joy on her face brings happy tears. Off they go on a ride, much like the rides she enjoyed with her husband many years ago. Barbara told Tim, “This has not made my day or year, this day has made my life.” One day, Tim’s grandson, Oscar, will inherit the Bel Air. If Oscar stays in Nashville, it looks like the car will continue to create community memories for years to come.

Vickie Ciesliga