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In the Garage: 1954 Chevrolet
THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1954 Chevrolet 210 two-door sedan owned by Charles Salerno
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
More than half a million of the mid-level Chevy 210s in four-door and two-door trim left the showroom in 1954 to serve the needs of America’s rising middle class. This was the brand’s biggest seller for the year, positioned just under the top-of-the-line Bel Air. Budget-wise collectors today have gravitated to these early ‘50s Chevys as prices have risen for the svelter and more popular “Tri-Five” series produced from 1955 to 1957. “This vehicle was manufactured in the Tarrytown, New York assembly plant,” Salerno says. “Chevy produced 194,498 of this 210 model. The 210 originally sold for a $1,771 factory price.”
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
Since August 2013
WHERE HE FOUND IT
“This car was purchased by a coworker of mine,” Salerno says. “He bought it in Vermont in 2003. He enjoyed driving the vehicle for three years. Afterward, he lost interest and the car sat for the last seven years. Upon his retirement, I joked with him that he would now have the time to work on the car. He expressed no interest. I asked him in jest if he was interested in selling the vehicle. It was in Stony Brook, sitting in the woods.”
“The first course of action before I started the car was to re-lubricate the engine,” he says. “Then I had the gas tank and gas lines blown out. I had the carburetor rebuilt. That was all I needed to do to get the car to start. I have since had the brakes repaired and had the car converted to a 12-volt electrical system. Amazingly, the car didn’t have any rust spots on the painted surface, nor did it have any rust on the undercarriage. The chrome bumpers did have small areas of rust. The color was oxidized. I had to compound the vehicle with three different cuts, polish and then add a layer of clear coat.”
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“Do not let the cost of restoring a vehicle stop you from buying your dream car,” Salerno advises. “If your finances are the limiting factor, plan to do your repairs slowly over time. I would recommend having a good plan of attack from the onset of any refurbishing project.”
He values the Chevy at $12,000.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“I was told to diversify my retirement portfolio so I invested in ‘precious metals,’” Salerno jokes. “With different local car shows each weekend, I find it hard to lose interest in auto collecting. It’s a good long-lasting hobby.”