When cars were art: Trip brightened by ’56 Chevy

Over Mother’s Day weekend, we took a road trip north on I95 to see my mother. My husband laughs at my complaints about that highway. Traffic slowdowns. Crazy drivers. Monotonous landscape. Some terrible patches needing serious repair. Sometimes we hop off onto a secondary road just to get off 95 for a minute. So I was ecstatic to spot an immaculate ’56 Chevy when we stopped for gas. 

If you lined up a dozen cars picked from the road at random, from high end to low, you’d never find one as majestic as this car. We talked to the owner briefly—he was en route to Florida. His family chose to move from North Carolina to my adopted home state, and he mentioned he was very accustomed to mountains. You could tell he loved the Tar Heel State. I told him I miss the hills of upstate Carolina. Then I told him the things I love about the Sunshine State. Beaches and river minutes away. So many things to do you’ll never get to all of them. And the cherry on top of the sundae—no state income tax.

Meanwhile my husband was talking to the man’s traveling companion about tail lights, engines, and all the which-its on those iconic cars.

I asked permission to take a pic, and the gentleman agreed. As I focused on the car, I realized that muscle cars like this one weren’t just engineering feats. They were true works of art and remain beautiful and valuable to this day.

That ’56 Chevy provided a bright moment in our trip, and I got another Mother’s Day surprise from the highway. Traffic coming south to Florida was light on Sunday afternoon.

My husband talked about those cars for a long time as we made our way back home after a great visit with my elderly mom. I marveled at all the data that man keeps in his head about such things, and I silently thanked that stranger for giving us that bright moment amid the tedium of I95.

(Kay B. Day/May 15, 2018)


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