1 Bad 58 (Says the License Tag)

My father-in-law, Tommy, or as I like to call him, Daddy T, loves to take cars from old hunks of junk to shiny, restored beauties. My brother-in-law, Ben also likes to spend time helping him convert these cars into vintage awesomeness.

I don’t know how all schools do homecoming, but the ones I attended would have the girls on the court (and their escorts) driven around the field in convertibles before they were let out at the back of the field to get in line and be escorted out and introduced. Back when in my senior year of high school, the one time I was on the homecoming court, Tom drove me and my dad (my escort) around the field in an old impala convertible his dad had restored. It was so fun (and much more challenging than I expected to keep my balance) sitting on the back of that car as we went around the field.

But Daddy T’s baby, his absolute FAVORITE car, is his ’58 Delray. Why?

Well, he found it at a junkyard in 1999, purchased it, and brought it home. One and half years of parts and manual labor later, it looked like this.

It’s beautiful, shiny, and quite a crowd pleaser. He’s won a ridiculous amount of awards for it at car shows over the years. He said that a couple of things in the car made it clear that it was built right here in Georgia, in the Lakewood Assembly Plant.

And before you car fanatics ask how much he’d sell it for, I can just paraphrase that he will never sell it and that we might have to find a plot big enough for him AND the car when the Good Lord calls Daddy T home. This car has been his pride and joy in car shows from Detroit, MI to Tallahassee, FL.

He also told me that these cars weren’t very popular back in 1958 when they were new and as a result are pretty uncommon nowadays. Hard to believe about a car that sweet, huh? But now, he’s racking it up in awards and trophies at car shows with a unique entry in the lineup that has people stopping him to reminisce about the ’58 Chevys they used to “know.” So, where do those awards live? They keep watch over the Delray out in the garage.

And he lets almost no one drive it. I can definitely understand why. I mean, if no one drives it but him, he won’t have anyone to be upset with if something happens to it. And he trusts his own driving. So, it was especially awesome when he let me and Tom use it as our getaway car from our wedding reception. I knew then that he really was showing us how much he loved us, because he let Tom drive it off.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that I recommended that we keep it hidden so that no one could mess it up, had his brother retrieve it right before we drove off, then we just drove it less than a mile down the road from the reception site to the church so that we could switch to Tom’s car and have Ben load the Delray onto a trailer, safe and sound again. It never hurts to have an iron-clad safety scenario planned out when you make your request to use someone’s prized possession. And now Ben will get to drive it off from his own wedding reception this fall.

Are you a car person? I’ve never even changed my own oil. But I sure can appreciate riding around in vintage head-turners like the Delray.


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