Tag Archives: Chevrolet Belaire V8

The Classic

13 Jul


Judy Wills



I’ve mentioned before how my brother was always fascinated with model airplanes. How he would build them, fly them, fix them up and fly them again. He was really good with his hands.

Another thing he liked to do – as I remember – was to work on car engines. I remember a time, after we began to become friends instead of just picking-at-each-other siblings, that he bought an OLD car and brought it home to work on. I believe he totally removed the engine and other parts and re-worked them. I’m proud to say that I helped him with that a bit – I actually HELPED him! When it was back together, he painted that car a gorgeous turquoise.

When Fred and I met, he was a sophomore at the University of New Mexico (UNM). He lived on campus and so didn’t need a vehicle. He also didn’t have his driver’s license. So if we went anywhere, I was the driver.

It didn’t take him long to remedy that situation – at least in that he obtained his driver’s license. However, he still didn’t have a car. He either walked or took the bus. Albuquerque had a good public transportation system.

Long about Springtime of 1960, he purchased his first car – a 1957 Chevrolet Belaire V8. He paid a grand total of $1,100 for it. It was a soft green, four-door, bench seats, automatic transmission.  It was a beauty! It didn’t have air conditioning, but in Albuquerque’s climate, we didn’t need it. He was so proud of that car.

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In 1960, we, and my parents, drove in that car to Englewood, California for Christmas with my brother Bill, and his wife, DiVoran. We discovered that Bill was working on another car. Fred helped him put the engine back together and everything back in place. We had a grand time with them there. We took in Disneyland



and Knotts Berry Farm.



Great memories. We had a wonderful Christmas dinner at Bill and DiVoran’s little house, along withher parents.










On New Year’s Eve, we drove to Pasadena, to spend some time with Fred’s Aunt Eleanor and Uncle Bob. One of Fred’s cousins and his friends, took two picnic benches and some bedrolls, and set them up on the sidewalk at the starting point for the 1961 Rose Parade, scheduled for the following day. They slept on the benches to keep our spots. After the parade, we went back to their house and had a lovely lunch, then we headed out, back to Albuquerque.

That next summer – June 20, 1961 – 53 years ago – we loaded up that car and, following our wedding – headed to Fort Worth, Texas, where Fred was to study at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.


While it was a smooth ride, we really wished for an air conditioned car! Texas climate is NOT the same as New Mexico!!

We drove that un-air-conditioned car for several years before trading it in on another, newer vehicle. As we look back on those times, Fred continues to say that he wishes he had kept that car. It is now considered a CLASSIC. Of course, we were dirt poor at the time, and couldn’t possibly keep that car and have another one. And we couldn’t possibly know that, that particular car would turn into a CLASSIC.

But it’s fun to look back and remember those times.

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