My Favorite Ride: Vintage Chevy hardtop gleams in orange and white

January 9, 2014 

The car: 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop

The owner: George Schisnewski, Merced

1. What are the key features of your vehicle? Great styling, stock-appearing with dropped spindles, power disc brakes, 402 cid Chevy big block with all the goodies, turbo 350 transmission with stall converter, and Camaro rear end.

2. What else did you have to do to get it in its present state? The body was removed from the frame and media-blasted, bodywork was done and it was painted inside and out, then I assembled it.

3. What else do you want to do to it? I’m in the process of installing Vintage Air (air conditioning) and heat.

4. How did you acquire your vehicle? On a job in Los Banos, I found the car in a field on a farm and bought it.

5. Why did you pick that particular vehicle and what do you find appealing about it? An uncle had one when I was in high school. I liked the look and style and always wanted one.

6. What started your love affair with cars? My uncle had a 1931 Model A Ford coupe and when I was young, I’d always play in it like I was driving.

7. What advice would you give others about starting such a project? Be patient and have a lot of money.

8. Do you have any other collector vehicles or project cars? Downsized a few years ago, but looking.

9. What’s your favorite memory about this ride? The excitement of the first drive when I finished it, and receiving the Valve Burners’ 2012 23rd annual Super Sunday car show Jim Scott Memorial Award for Tri-Fives.

To have your favorite ride featured in the Merced Sun-Star, please answer all of the questions in the column and send them, along with your name, address, phone numbers (daytime and night) and email address, to or Please use no more than 50 words to answer each question. The Sun-Star will edit answers to meet space limitations. A time will be scheduled to take pictures of your vehicle at the Sun-Star office. Photos and the article will appear in print and online.

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