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If all the clergymen in the state of Florida ever decided to get together and bring their cars in for a friendly church picnic and car show, Bill Ladroga and his beautiful 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk would have more than a fighting chance to make off with “Best in Show” honors.
Todd Newton had never had to worry about making one of his restoration projects TOO good before. But then again, he had never tried to authentically resurrect a genuine, family heirloom, grassroots race car, either.
Such was the challenge Newton’s Auto Restoration — the shop in Spring Green, Wis., that Newton runs with his father, Ardell — faced when they tackled a 1957 Bel Air hardtop that had been a racing demon back in the 1960s for Merle Newton., Todd’s grandfather. “I really had to be careful not to over-restore it and make it too nice,” Todd Newton said. “The rough edges around the windows and the holes that they cut in the floor — I left them all just the way they were. I didn’t smooth things out or try to do anything different. We didn’t want anything to be too good. If they torch cut something, I did too.”
Todd and his father, Ardell, are probably two of the only guys around who can judge whether the car looks better today than it did back in its racing days, but its pampered life is certainly different now than it was four decades ago.
King Midgets were the undisputed “Kings” of the low-budget cars, with one-cylinder engines, two seats, a removable canvas top and not much else. They were originally the brainchild of Claud Dry and Dale Orcutt, who made it their mission to build the most affordable car on the market. But to guys like Dick Russ, the King Midgets are stll 10 gallons of fun in a half-pint package.
If Gerry Cheshire’s stunning red-and-white 1955 Buick Roadmaster hardtop isn’t the quintessential 1950s cruiser, it’s at least in the conversation. More
Back in 1970, even though he had just bought a flashy new muscle car, Jim Caron just couldn’t help himself. His sparkling new 1969 SC/Rambler was fun and all, but Caron figured that the lonely old 1954 Nash Metropolitan he had seen at a local boneyard needed a new home.
“I dunno, I’m a car guy, I’ve always been a car guy,” said Caron, a resident of Las Vegas. “I had [a Metropolitan] before that, but it was all rusty… Just being the junkyard dog that I am, I had to ask the guy how much he wanted for it. I wound up giving him 40 bucks. Then I put a battery in it and drove it home."
Caron might not have guessed it at the time, but his decision to part with two Andrew Jacksons has blossomed into a longtime attachment to his little Nash, which is now a shiny, fully restored show-stopper More