Earlier this year, my friend Tim King of Lateral-G Magazine told me of his plan to give his dad the car of his dreams. My ears perked instantly and I had to hear more. When I was in town a couple of months ago, I drove out to the Tim’s house in Moreno Valley to see his dad’s car in person. After spending a lot of time laughing and joking around, we started talking about the car and what it meant to them. I was going to write a story to tell of Tim’s journey to getting his dad’s ’55 ready to roll, but he can tell it so much better. Here’s Tim’s story of the More Door ’55 Bel Air he surprised his dad with and the video of the unveil.
Just like many kids growing up my Dad was my hero. 30 years later, he still is. I always wanted to be like him, and know everything that he did. My Dad could fix that leaky pipe, build an addition on the house, and fix the family wagon. Naturally, I was his annoying shadow growing up, “helping” to make those projects take even longer. He was strong as an ox – a tough construction worker for over 35 years.
Even in my adolescent teen years, where many teenagers seemingly know more than their parents, I always knew my Dad and Mom were speaking from experience and wouldn’t lead me the wrong way. He’s the reason I got into the car industry and learned how to turn a wrench – something I’m forever grateful for.
For years now, my Dad has wanted a ‘55 Bel Air. He has the typical old-guy story, “I use to have one of those when I was in high school!” However just like all those old guys, he beat the hell out of it, put it in a ditch and left it and ended up selling it off before he knew better – a choice he’s regretted for years. To make his desire worse, his older brother had a tricked out ‘55 in high school. His brother passed away at 18 years old, and to have another ‘55 would be a sort of memorial to his long lost brother, my Uncle Jeff King.
After working in construction for 35 years my Dad’s health started to decline. He was having trouble breathing and had a host of other issues. The fix was supposed to be simple, go in, get three heart by-passes and get back to normal. After being in surgery much longer than anticipated, he came out with five by-passes. We all were shocked and breathed a sigh of relief, until an early morning phone call.
“His heart is failing,” stated the doctor. While the doctor had my Dad’s chest split wide open, he noticed one of the heart valves was leaking, part of the original problem. He fixed it, or so he thought. In the middle of the night the heart began to fail, and my Dad went back in for emergency open heart surgery – the second in less than 24 hours. Nobody knew what the fate of that surgery would be, and we all stood on edge for hours.
I was standing by as they wheeled him from recovery into the ICU. This wasn’t my Dad. My father was big, strong, and healthy – nothing phased him. This person was a mere image of my Dad. A million tubes going in and out of him all over his body with tons of machines beeping away next to him. Instantly I couldn’t breathe, my eyes swelled, and I had to go outside and get some air before I passed out.
Luckily, his strong will pulled him through. He lived to see my kids being born and continue to do what he loves – travel all over the USA with my Mom exploring every nook and cranny they can find. In the back of his mind, the desire to get his car from when he was 16 grew. On top of everything else, he wanted one as a tribute to his brother.