The Chief was a barn find in Wenatchee Washington by my older brother in 2004. He trailered it to Central Oregon and began to restore it. He was a retired mechanic who graduated High School in 1963 with an eye for detail. Over time he restored as much of the car as he could afford. Brakes, Suspension, Hoses, Belts, Carburetor, and under carriage got replaced and/or detailed meticulously.
I inherited the it after he passed away in 2012, in his memory I began to finish the process he began. The car spent 8 months in specialized restoration in Redmond Oregon focused on the interior and exterior finish. This included a metal up refinish in the original factory colors of Cordova Red and Kenya Ivory. Original vinyl two-tone upholstery in the same color scheme. A new Headliner and carpet were installed and the dash and interior moldings were repainted. The Windshield was replaced and the widow mechanisms and mechanical rain guards rebuilt. The trunk was fully detailed and fitted with a new factory trunk liner, jack and spare tire. Seat belts were installed as per the current letter of the law but the original patina-ed steering wheel was left in place to maintain its character and sense of history. The stainless exterior molding is in exceptional shape and free of dents and has been polished to look as if new. The massive chrome bumpers are in good shape with no rust or dents. had planned on re-chroming in the long-term but was happy with the current condition. have many pictures of the restoration work in progress as well as a detailed invoice of all the work that was performed on the car.
The engine is original as far as I know and it is in good running order. My brother addressed a lot of the basics, replacing gaskets, belts, fuel pump etc. as well as making needed adjustments, unfortunately he did not keep any documentation or notes on what was done. It does have slight transmission leak. I had the tranny resealed and it helped but did not completely solve the problem. I have not had time to follow up and address this issue.
The car is about 90% original, and could easily be 100% with little effort. Since my brother grew up in the heart of the Hot Rod age there were just a few things he had to do. The following a list modifications that can easily be made original.
He louvered hood for a true early 60’s feel. I kept the original hood which is in perfect condition in case the original look was wanted.
He replaced the original Air Cleaner with an aftermarket Chrome update. Unfortunately, I do not have the original set up.
Suspension was lowered for effect. Front was done old school (heated and bent) and is dead on spec as per the local suspension shop. The rear leaf springs were replaced with new springs 1.5” inches lower than the stock ride height.
The original 14” wheels were replaced with 15” American Racing Mags and Radial T/A’s. I do have a set of the original 14” spinner Hub Caps that are in very good shape.
Exhaust was routed just under the fender as opposed to thru the bumper (common practice to prevent rusting of the bumpers).
He upgraded the vacuum wiper to an electric wiper system, they were problematic and he wanted to be able to drive in the Oregon rain if need.
Everything else is as it was meant to be!
The Chief is in exceptional shape and I have enjoyed honoring my brother and being part of its evolution to a renewed life. It was his passion and it’s time to pass it on. Thanks for taking the time to share our experience!