Grandpa's '39 Chevy

2 years 7 months ago #557 by JP
JP created the topic: Grandpa's '39 Chevy

My grandfather, August Langenhahn, born in 1882, bought this 1939 Chevrolet Master 85 2-door town sedan new in '39. It was his last vehicle & I believe, the only one he purchased new. It was his retirement vehicle & he drove until the late 1960's. One of his weekly duties in the summer was clipping lawn at the cemetery at his church and he would fold up the handle of the walk-behind mower, put it in the trunk of the Chevy & drive (usually 35 MPH max) the 8 miles to church. In the late '60's our neighbor almost had Grandpa talked into selling it to him for $25, with the intention of chopping it up & making a hotrod. Luckily, my older brother Kevin, having just gotten his drivers license, intervened & Grandpa sold it to him to $20 a few hours before the neighbor was going to show up with his $25.

Kev drove the Chevy for a couple high-school years and has a few good stories of fun(?) times with it. This would include the time he left a drive-in movie with the speaker still attached to the rear window, or when fish-tailing in fresh snow resulted in sliding off the road (Dad was pretty upset at having to pull him out), or another time pulling into the public landing area of a local lake, hitting as tree & bending the front bumper. The car already had a wrinkled front fender from when our mother drove it "into" the garage; I mean that literally, into the garage.

After high school, the car was stored in various barns, barnyards & garages until restoration was begun in 1980, with rebuilding the engine and transmission. However, as often happens, life got in the way, and the car was again put into storage until 2011, when I purchased it from Kev. Over the next 2 years, my son & I did a complete body-off restoration and started showing the car in late 2013. We've had a lot of fun & gathered a few trophies over the past few years, but the best part has been a recurring theme, where an old fellow (and there were quite a few) stops by at a show & tells us stories of when he/his brother/father/uncle had a '30's Chevrolet & all the things they did with it. People seem to identify with it, since it was an example of "everyman's" car of the era.

Also in 2013, I brought a new Camaro and the similarities are noteworthy. Black, 2-door, rear wheel drive, 6 cylinder over-head valve engine, manual transmission & of course, the bowtie on both ends.

Grandpa's car was OCW's "Car of the week" following Iola '14, where we were lucky enough to be invited into the Blue Ribbon Concours portion of the show. I like to think Grandpa is proud.

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