Herman's 52 Styleline Deluxe
Herman's 1952 CHEVROLET Styleline DeLuxe
Good let’s start where it all started...
While being in Florida I bought the Old Car Trader. Reading through the magazine in the evening I saw an ad of a Chevy for sale in Tampa/FL:
"52 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe, body very good condition, standard trans, skirts, sun visor, interior good, lots of spare parts, phone…. $1200” .
The car looked reasonable and I decided to buy it after consulting my wife Linda in the middle of the Dutch night. That was February 2, 1992 – a few weeks later (March 21, 1992) the car arrived in Holland. My wife right away feel in love with the car. She was the one persuading me to keep it. I wanted a Cadillac Biarritz 1959 or something like that – not a “cheap” Chevrolet.
April 25, 1992 the stripping started and the disaster too. Rust all over the place, suspicious parts on the engine, a spare 1952 gearbox in the car? I started to learn a lot about the Chevrolets 49-52 and also discovered a lot of wrong items on the car, wrong colors, wrong material etc. This was not acceptable. Beginning 1993 I lifted the body of the chassis. Oh well – I wanted to give up but my wife pushed in a nice way to continue. The front floor, half the rear floor, the trunk floor, one quarter panel, rocker panels had to be replaced. I also replaced all 4 doors. More than 400 hours of welding was required. All parts are hand-made and absolutely original pattern.
The ad should have stated:
“52 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe, filler and rust in very good condition, standard trans which needs to be hooked up like the engine too, skirts, sun visor, interior good, lots of spare parts which you’ll need badly, phone…. $1200” .
Afterwards I think 1200 dollars was much to much and I should have looked more closer, use magnets, should not trust anyone etc.
The chassis was sandblasted, sprayed (rust primer and 2k chassis black) and every part in need of replacement had been replaced – a total new front-end, brakes etc.
In the meanwhile I also found out that the engine was a 1953 235cui PG (Powerglide) engine mounted to a 49 gearbox. This was totally unacceptable. I bought another Chevy with the right 216.5cui engine and 52 gearbox at Hershey/PA. That one came out of the same factory and month as mine. The engine got a total revision, had been sprayed in the right grey color and put back onto the chassis in 1995. All the small items had been checked up too – components like starter, generator, carburetor, fuel pump, water pump etc.
The welding progressed over the years. The body had been sandblasted too, sprayed in a 2k zinc compound paint and reunited on September 7, 1996 after spraying the underbody in the right 2k Spring Green.
Nearly all the chrome parts had been rechromed, Stainless steel parts polished. I ordered the whole upholstery, assist straps, headliner, door panels, door sills etc.
What Chev of the 40’s could supply at that time I bought over the years – brake parts, switches, terminals, wiring harnesses, bulbs, lenses, moldings, clips, lots of small items and electrical parts, - well name it. So far as available rubbers, grommets, weather-stripping, gaskets.
Why Chev of the 40’s ?– It just fits, no concerns, top quality, always right and ready to mount. I never had to return a single items over the years. People started to know me at Chev of the 40’s. I assume they had been thinking “There is the Dutch guy again”
Between 1996 and 1998 the doors, fenders, trunk lid, hood have been mounted. That was quite a job since nothing did fit in the first instance. Also the gas tank had to be replaced. Besides of some frustrations like set-backs doing body work it was great to do. Much less fun was the sanding part 80, than 120, 150, 200 and eventually 400. I tried to use as less filler as I could and I did so successfully. Getting bored of the sanding I revised the steering, heater, all instruments, the radio and those kind of parts. That was fun at least. But the sanding had to be done too so I asked a friend to help out here. Together it was bearable and a beer while working did help too.
Because of our immigration to Canada in June 1999 the car had been resprayed at my friends shop here in Holland. Lots of work, but lots of fun - all original colors Emerald and Spring Green - inside and outside. It started to look like a car again. All the sanding was worthwhile.
The container had dropped and the car had been damaged badly. I lost interest for about two years. The car was sitting in my garage under a cover. My wife asked me friendly to continue on the lady. Another friend of mine from Holland came over to Canada and we worked for one weeks on the car. Once in a while it was a little bit of cursing because things didn’t fit as intended (windows, grille) but we managed and the car did run after a week of hard work and long days. My wife was really happy about because she loved that car so much. She was also the one joining me for Hershey and other national and international events. She was the one never complained time nor about one dime spend on the car and I did spend some….
Two things I didn’t revise: the gearbox and the rear axle –don’t ask me why. I asked a mechanic and he said it did sound good – well it wasn’t so good. First test-drive, a big bang, a huge oil leakage and that was it.
Due to the passing away of my wife we returned in September 2003 to The Netherlands and of course my car (no, my wife’s car) joined us too. I got a well known restoration company to fix the gearbox and rear axle. I couldn’t do it myself because I had no shop at that time. The first thing I did after the car passed technical inspection and I got my Dutch papers was to drive to the cemetery to show her the car. I believe she saw “her” car. Since than I started cruising around in it, featured in several magazines and enjoy the “old lady”. Is she still the “cheap” looking car – well decide for yourself. After all I’m very happy that I continued because there had been so many of these Chevrolets but most of them are gone.
Can one consider this as a “frame-off” restoration – no, I would say it had been a “bolt-off” restoration. Would I do it again – oh yes. I learned a lot and it’s really fun.
Thanks to the Internet and E-Bay I bought every available GM (Chevrolet 1952) accessory. Items like the Chevrolet 1952 shaver, passing eye mirror and many more. These items are listed in the American and/or Canadian GM Chevrolet accessory catalogue. I also bought a huge amount of documentation, films, records, training material, books, brochures etc. My collection of documentation is really unique.
Again, many thanks for all superb parts and service you supplied me with. Without these parts a proper restoration would have been impossible.