Rod’s Chevy 210 is a perfect example of a truly loved vehicle. The car started off as a Chevrolet 210 and had Bel Air trim added at a later date to mimic the Bel Airs of its era.
We've seen Rod's Bel Air at local events and shows in and around the Hertfordshire area. When he sent in photos asking to be on Build Talk we noticed our watermark on them, revealing that he had in fact attended the very first Chill and Grill. Once we recognised him and his car, we knew we had to get him to come in and have a chat!
Rod's car has the perfect classic American muscle look, from its stance to the period correct interior! It’s easy to see just how loved this car is.
The interior is all original with only a few personal mementos such as our Chill and Grill sticker and an award-winning rosette; everything else is 100% OEM.
The engine is an all-original American V8 with subtle mods and maintenance improvements to make it easier to run and maintain.
What got you into cars?
I loved my Dad’s cars growing up. We used to wash and polish them on the regular, which he put me in charge of. We had Morris Minors, Ford Anglias, a classic Capri, Vauxhall Vector and then a Daimler Sovereign. I think the Daimler was the last car he had; it was a 1971 model short wheelbase and it was a sensation.
"I've always loved cars, especially powerful ones, and I remember when I was a boy we had a couple of American house cleaners who came from the American car base. One of which had a 1958 Fury, and the other guy had a Mercury. Those cars always had radios and stuff our cars didn't have and I always loved how advanced they were.”
How and when did you acquire the car?
"It was 1995 when I bought my first Bel Air; a proper four-door. It was all original, but a bit tired and worn down and altogether too rusty really. This one came up for sale in 1998 in Classic American magazine so I went down to have a look at it, my wife convinced me to buy it and I’ve had it ever since.
"I haven't done too much to it but I have a guy in Dunmow (Rob Whitwell) look after it and he's done some maintenance work on it. He’s a motor engineer and has a two-door 1940's ford business cruiser and really knows his stuff so he looks after it for me.
"It's a California model so it doesn't have the rust issues a Detroit model has. It lived its days in San Diego. The previous owner, named Judy Jumper, bought it in 1979 and brought it back to England and added a 350 big block to race at Brandshatch, apparently.”
So what have you done to the car since you've owned it?
"Well it had already been painted prior to me owning it, so I've mainly just maintained it and had little bits of work done here and there by Rob to keep it going. Now we're thinking about having the engine head done because its unleaded fuel and hasn't been modified, so we might have to get the valves done.
"It has a new electronic distributor so it doesn't have points anymore and a Holley carb, but I want to get an electronic fuel pump and other things updated to make the drivability better."
Any plans in the future for a new car or keep this one?
"Yeah, I would like to keep this one - it's part of the family and to find one as good would be difficult."
Is the Bel Air your dream car or do you still have a dream car you would like to own?
"The Bel Air is very much my favourite American car, however I do like the Corvettes very much. But I think that one has a bit of charisma, you know."
What do you do to care for the car cleaning wise?
"My Grandson Josh does most of the cleaning and looking after the car because I've always said it will be his inheritance. Oh and it's kept in a garage.
"My show prep line-up for cleaning consists of AF Spritz, Crystal, Satin, Hide and Total. Josh uses all of these to get the car looking perfect for any event and I can't find a fault in any of them."
Thanks again to Rod and his Grandson Josh for bringing in his beautiful Chevy 210 with Bel Air trim!
Words and Images:
Auto Finesse Media Team