THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1956 Chevrolet 210 two-door sedan owned by Al Wagner
WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
Put the Beach Boys or Billy Joel on the radio and nothing says summer on Long Island more than a sunset cruise in a ’56 Chevy. For years now, enthusiasts and collectors have fawned over the 1955-57 Chevrolets, with their distinctive “rock-n-roll” styling, bright colors and generous chrome trim. And they come in all flavors, from totally original to highly modified to Wagner’s “restomod,” which fits somewhere in between. “’Tri-five’ Chevys are the most popular choice for customizers and hot rodders all over,” he says. “The parts are readily available and the body styles are endless.”
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
WHERE HE FOUND IT
He bought it from an owner who advertised it on Craigslist.
“When I first purchased the car,” says Wagner, “it was an empty shell, which hadn't seen the streets in 30 years. Within two years, it received a full-body makeover. The paint was redone, letting it go back to its classic blue aqua and ivory colors. We completely redid the interior using the same colors. Under the hood, we gave it high-performance upgrades, including a 350 (cubic-inch) Chevrolet small block (engine).”
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“Surround yourself with other car owners,” he advises. “Get involved with the various car shows and swap meets that exist around Long Island. You'll be surrounded by guys who share your passion for cars and are willing to share their vast amounts of car knowledge.”
Wagner estimates his Chevy is worth $25,000. Hagerty, the classic car insurer, puts a value of $36,000 on an original ’56 210 in pristine condition and with a V-8 engine.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“I acquired this car as a father-and-son project,” says Wagner. “My son Bryan and I have spent endless amount of hours in the driveway making upgrades and changes. Seeing that smile on his face when we go cruising or when the car wins an award at a car show has made it all worth it.”