For most couples — particularly those who grew up in the age of drive-in movies, drive-in restaurants with carhops, and Friday nights spent scooping the loop — there’s always one car they never forget.
And they usually wish they had it back.
Toby and Anne Wilber of Boone need wish no more. They are cruising again in a 1956 Chevy Bel Air, just about like the one they cruised in back when.
“We used to date in a car like this,” Anne says as a fond smile crosses her face.
Toby recalls that he was just out of high school when he had his first ’56 Chevy, one that he took to college with him in Centerville.
“It was a real pretty green,” he says.
The couple, both of whom are southwest Iowa natives, married in 1970, but the ’56 was already a memory then. Toby had sold it when he went into the military and was by then driving a 1968 Plymouth GTX, another sweet ride.
“I would have searched all over for another one like that, but this made more sense for us,” Toby explains.
They bought their “new” 1956 Chevy almost 15 years ago and put a lot of work into making it shine again.
“It was a basket case,” Toby says. “It was running when I bought it, but it was a basket case.”
He did the bodywork himself and recruited a friend to do the upholstery. He also made some mechanical improvements, including the addition of disc brakes.
The car was originally a cream and golden color, but the couple wanted something a little more flashy.
“I painted it a cherry red… and it looked like a burnt tomato,” Toby recalls, still tasting the disappointment. “I was really disheartened… and let it sit for about six months, and then decided to sand on it and repaint it again.”
The second time he chose plain old “Chevy Red,” and couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. The ’56 now gleams in the summer sun, looking even sweeter than a candy apple at the fair.
While collecting classic autos is often a serial addiction for car lovers, the couple says this is their first — and their last — classic.
When you do it right the first time, you don’t need to do it again.