Chevs of the 40s Community Forum

Dava Stenberg's 1937 2 Door Sedan

June 2017

Dava Stenberg's 1937 2 Door Sedan

My father and I bought the grey premiered shell of this car at the L.A. County Fairgrounds Auto Swap in 1981. It came complete with two lawn chairs as the front seats. LOL. My mother wanted to kill us.  We spent the next year and a half bringing her back to her shining glory. This was a project of love because my father had Leukemia and we never knew how much time he would have. I spent every hour with my dad on this project either handing him tools or just sitting on the shop stool (which I still have).  Well, on Dec. 3, 1984 the day came for my dad to leave this world. I was just 16 so I had no control over what my mother did next. She SOLD it in 1985. I was heart broken. I eventually married and moved to Montana. I kept track of who owned my dad’s car since I had a number for the gentleman who bought it.  In 2009 my family traveled to CA and I took them by to see Dad’s car. In 2010 this man called me and said he was ready to sell it and did I want it. Yes I did, but I could in no way afford it. I was crushed. I decided then and there to let go of the thought of ever owning Dad’s car again so I threw away the contact number.   The summer of 2010 I had to return to CA the same time as the L.A. County auto show was on so I decided to go see if dad’s car was there and who owned it now. I stopped at a beautiful red 1937 Chevy and asked the man there if he knew if an emerald green 1937 Chevy was there.  He instantly said, “Are you the girl from Montana”? I was shocked. Yes, I was. He told me that the man who had my Dad’s car decided to hold it till I could afford it.  I was so shocked that I didn’t even think to get the phone number again. I still didn’t think I could ever afford to buy it back.  In 2012 my mother passed away and she left me a small inheritance. If only I had that phone number.  While going through her files I found a file labeled 1937. It had a lot of dad’s info on the car and an old car registration card. This card was the missing piece of the puzzle I needed.  Since the old license plate goes with antique cars in CA I was able to track a phone number for the car’s owner and I called him asking if I could buy back my dad’s car. He said he decided to give it to his 7 yr old grand son. I told him I would be there in two days and would he think about it. I headed south and knocked on his door.  We talked for hours about the car and stories we had about it.  For every one he had, I had two. I knew why it was emerald green, my birthstone. I told of how we found the mohair upholstery in the attic of an old upholstery shop. After a a ton of tears I finally walked out of his garage and got into my car. He was not going to sell it to me. He followed and said “It’s that important to you”? I said “It’s family”. He said “OK, it’s yours”. I couldn’t believe it.  I called a friend and he loaded it on his trailer to haul it up to Montana for me in the fall. I still remember the thrill of watching it being unloaded into my garage. I kept saying, “She’s home”. I got her registered with plates that say DADS37. It took a little work, but we got her up and running. I keep a photo of my dad standing next to her, the day we finished her, in the glove box. I like to believe he is riding with me. I have attached that photo and one I took in 2015 on Memorial Day at our local cemetery.  The American Legion post that my family belongs to puts out over 500 flags for our veterans for the weekend. I drive Dad’s car there each year in his memory. I would be honored for Dad’s car to be featured by you in 2017. Like Dava's Truck? Leave A Comment!

  1. mike rockwell said on June 9, 2017 6:46 pm:

    What a heart warming story, with all the time & emotions involved for you, I guess you might say it was one of those made to be ending. When I was just a little runt, my aunt would take me to drive-in movies when I was on summer school vacation, in her black ’37 Chevy 2dr. sedan, it was quite new & really cool. I’m 73 & have been into cars all my life & currently have a ’47 Chevy AeroSedan custom. Enjoy your car with all those memories.

  2. wsturgis1 said on June 9, 2017 7:14 pm:

    What a wonderful story, glad your girl is home. I also have a 37 2-door sedan.

  3. Nevergiveup said on June 10, 2017 1:40 am:

    My family (in Belgium) had the same model bought second hand after WW2. That Master was “my first car”. She had been assembled at the large GM Antwerp plant (General Motors Continental). When I retired in France, I was lucky to find a similar black 1938 Coach, “made in Canada”! Globalization is not new. Best regards. Picture on request with email.

  4. JohnsOldTruck said on June 10, 2017 2:10 am:

    Wonderful story and a beautiful car! So glad you got it back after all those years. The story is really what it’s all about, I think. It’s certainly what motivates me with my ’49 pickup. My brother drove it from Missouri back home to Connecticut in 1981, and I have owned it for about 15 years now. If you’d like you can check it out at JohnsOldTruck.com – Congrats on reconnecting with your dream ride. Enjoy it!

  5. Dickstr said on June 10, 2017 3:24 am:

    Hey Dava;
    That is a very cool story, I am very happy you got your 1937 Chevy back. I’m sure your dad would be proud of the dedication you showed to get something he loved back.
    I also have a 1937 Chevy I love, I bought it in 1990 and rebuilt everything on it. I drove it everyday for 20 years and drove it from Texas to Las Vegas to get married. We camped all the way and had a blast. It is down now a I can’t wait to get it back on the road.
    Have a great life you totally deserve it for the honor and kindness you have shown