I recently began interviewing classic car owners about their restored for profiles in IN Autos & RVs magazine. It’s been fun getting to find out more about old cars and why their owners love them so much. In this story the owners’ love for their classic car helped their son find a new career.
Leroy and Diane Blessing of Churubusco, Indiana, bought their first ’57 Chevy in the 1980’s from their son, Ken. “He bought it to restore, but he changed his mind,” said Diane Blessing. “We purchased it from him and did the work ourselves because we couldn’t afford to have someone do it.”
It was the first such project for the Blessings who owned a paint and body shop for vehicles. The couple took their time with the restoration, choosing to paint the exterior black while adorning the inside with black and red fabric. The process took the Blessings three years to complete. They are not sorry for the effort and precision they put into the vehicle. “To me a ’57 is the most classic model,” said Diane Blessing. “It has the most chrome and people recognize it when they see one.”
Blessing added that the car has won awards for Best in Class at car shows around the country. “Judges look at every nut and bolt when deciding on a winner,” she said.
The Blessings have driven the car to the Wisconsin Dells, the east coast of the US, Florida and Oklahoma. They often focus the trips on car shows where they receive a double bonus. Not only do they participate in class car activities, they also get to see owners of other classic cars who have become friends. “We’ve met them at car shows around the country,” said Diane Blessing. “We call ourselves the Coast to Coast Cruisers and Friends.”
Their success with the black ’57 Chevy is not the only model owned by the Blessings. In the 1990s they purchased a 4-door station wagon from the manufacturer’s 210 series.
While most models in the series hold six passengers, the vehicle owned by the Blessings was made without a back seat. According to Diane Blessing, only 8300 models were made in this fashion. “The utility sedan was the cheapest model made,” she said. The Blessings spared no expense, painting the vehicle Matador Red on the bottom and India Ivory on the top. The car sports an Ivory interior.
By now, the Blessings had the advantage of several car friends to ask for advice, something they didn’t have for their first car’s restoration. The Blessings finished restoring the station wagon in 2000.
Meanwhile, Ken Blessing, who originally owned his parents’ black ’57 Chevy, had become involved with the restoration projects. He painted the red and white station wagon and helped with the body work. Eventually he became so knowledgeable and developed such an interest in classic cars that he opened a shop, Blessing & Son Auto Restoration. “Ken has learned so much from his dad,” said Diane Blessing. “We are proud of him and the work he does.”