December 2, 2020

The Car History of Alex Beloff III

I WAS A SENIOR AT ROSSFORD HIGH SCHOOL IN 1959 AND LONG TIME STUDENT OF CARS.  I SAID THEN THE 1959 BONNEVILLE WILL BE A HUGE SUCCESS AND ONE OF THE FINEST, FASTEST AND THE MOST AESTHETICALLY PLEASING CARS EVER MADE.  IT WAS MOTOR TREND’S CAR OF THE YEAR.  BOB KERNS, OUR NEW CAR MANAGER AT OAKLANDON SALES, KNEW EVERYONE IN INDIANAPOLIS CAR RELATED.  HE UNDERSTOOD MY SINGULAR PASSION FOR THE 1959 BONNEVILLE CONVERTIBLE.

ONE OF THE LARGEST MOST PRESTIGIOUS EXCLUSIVE PONTIAC DEALERS IN THE COUNTRY WAS DAVE WAITE ON KEYSTONE, INDIANAPOLIS. BURT WYLAND WAS THEIR GSM AND BECAME A LIFETIME FRIEND.  THE SALESMEN’S DESKS WERE $1,1,00 EACH – THIS WAS A CLASS DEALERSHIP.  IT WAS BURT WYLAND WHO ENCOURAGED ME TO GO TO OAKLANDON SALES IN LATE 1966.

BOB KNEW THE SENIOR AND CHIEF HEAVY ENGINE SPECIALIST AND EXPERT TRANSMISSION TECHNICIAN AT DAVE WAITE PONTIAC, INDIANAPOLIS HAD A 1959 BONNEVILLE CONVERTIBLE AS HIS DAILY DRIVER. IT WAS A FACTORY CORRECT 348 HORSE TRI POWER NON AIR SUPER FOUR SPEED HYDRAMATIC WITH BENCH SEATS.  HE HAD REBUILT THE 389 METICULOUSLY, BORED 30ths OVER.  THE TRI POWER HAD FACTORY HEADS WITH 10.75 COMPRESSION.  THE HEADS WERE SENT OUT AND ALSO REBUILT.

HE CAREFULLY REBUILT THE SUPER FOUR SPEED HYDRAMATIC WITH THE UPGRADES FOR PERFORMANCE WHICH INCLUDED HIGHER STALL SPEED TORQUE CONVERTER AND WHAT MIGHT BE DEFINED TODAY A SHIFT KIT.  THE DRIVE LINE WAS REBUILT AND A SAFETY TRACK DIFFERENTIAL INSTALLED INCLUDING ALL NEW SUSPENSION COMPONENTS.  THIS WAS ONE WICKED PONTIAC!  IT WOULD DEFINITELY HAUL HINNY!  BIG DADDY, AS HE WAS AFFECTIONATELY CALLED, WAS A LOUSY HOUSEKEEPER.  AS A TECHNICIAN THAT VOCATION REQUIRES HOT DIRTY DANGEROUS WORK.  THAT ENVIRONMENT FINDS ITS WAY TO THE INTERIOR OF HIS CAR.

BOB KERNS ARRANGED FOR ME TO BUY THE CAR VERY ATTRACTIVELY.  THE OWNER WHO APPRECIATED MY PASSION FOR THAT PONTIAC WAS HAPPY TO MAKE A DEAL KNOWING HIS CAR WOULD REMAIN WITH ME FOR A LONG TIME.

THE BODY WAS RUST AND DENT FREE.  I COMPLETELY RESTORED THE INTERIOR TO SUNSET GLOW FACTORY SPECKS, NEW WHITE TOP, AND DETAILED TO PERFECTION.  I REBUILT ALL THREE CARBURETORS, DID A MAJOR TUNE-UP AND ADDED GTO AIR BREATHERS.  I CAREFULLY REMOVED ALL EMBLEMS, DOOR HANDLES, MOLDINGS, BUMPERS, HEAD AND TAIL LIGHTS AND WET SANDED AND BUFFED THAT LACQUER PAINT TO ALMOST PERFECTION.  THEN CAREFULLY CLEANED AND REINSTALLED ALL BRIGHT WORK INCLUDING ALL NEW DUAL EXHAUSTS WITH STRAIGHT THROUGH CONSTRUCTION MUFFLERS  –  LOUD AND FAST.  NOTE THE COMPLETELY RESTORED 1959 BONNEVILLE INTERIOR CORRECTLY RESTORED MINUS THE STAR FLECK CARPETS NOT AVAILABLE.

I HEAVILY POLISHED CAREFULLY BY HAND WITH CHROME CLEANER AND CAR POLISH ALL THE BRIGHT WORK ON THE DASH TO GIVE IT A CHROME PLATED EFFECT.  DOG LEGS ARE CHROME PLATED AND THE THREE ATTRACTIVE ROUND INSTRUMENT DIALS HAVE BEEN POLISHED UNTIL ALL BLACK ACCENT WAS REMOVED, SO I NOW HAVE THE ONLY CHROMED DIALS ON A 1959 PONTIAC.  IT WAS BEAUTIFUL.

IN 1969 AT THE WINTER NATIONAL FOR THE NHRA DRAG RACES AT INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, I DROVE THERE AS A SPECTATOR.  I SAW A 1960 BUICK ELECTRA CONVERTIBLE CONSISTENTLY WIN HIS CLASS WITH G STOCK NATIONAL RECORD HOLDER PAINTED ON HIS QUARTER PANELS.  I WAS INTERVIEWED BY THE EVENT MANAGER.  I SAID OVER THE PA SYSTEM, THAT A 1960 BUICK ELECTRA CONVERTIBLE BRAND NEW WOULDN’T GET OUT OF ITS OWN WAY.  THIS GUY FROM LAFAYETTE INDIANA IS EITHER A LIAR OR A CHEAT.  THEN I CHALLENGED HIM TO A GRUDGE RACE EVEN UP RIGHT HERE IN FRONT OF ALL THE FANS.  I DID NOT TOW MY 1959 BONNEVILLE ON A TRAILER LIKE HE DID.  I DROVE IT HERE, POPPED THE WHEEL COVERS OFF AND I AM READY TO RACE.  THE CROWD WAS HYSTERICAL FOR US TO PAIR OFF.

AT THE DARK SIDE OF THE LAST YELLOW PHASE LIGHT, I NAILED IT AND THAT SON OF A GUN STAYED WITH ME UNTIL MY HYDRO SHIFTED INTO THIRD.  I BEAT HIM BY ALMOST ONE AND A HALF CAR LENGTHS.  THE CROWD WAS THRILLED AND I THAT DAY BECAME UNOFFICIALLY THE G STOCK NATIONAL RECORD HOLDER.

PETE ESTESS, PONTIAC MOTOR DIVISION GENERAL MANAGER, WAS IN TOWN.  HIS SON, ED ESTESS WOULD BECOME GENERAL MANAGER OF ED TUTWEILER CADILLAC IN INDIANAPOLIS.  ED ESTESS LOVED DRAG RACING.  I DID NOT KNOW THAT HE WITNESSED THE EVENT WHEN I BEAT THE 1960 BUICK WITH MY 1959 BONNEVILLE CONVERTIBLE.  YOU MAY REMEMBER ED “PETE” ESTESS IS THE FATHER AND CREATOR OF THE 1959 PONTIAC WITH THE HELP OF JOHN DELOREAN TEN YEARS BEFORE.  I CAREFULLY DID THE RESEARCH IN MY HEAD BEFORE THE DRAG RACE STARTED.  I KNEW HE WAS CHEATING.  I CALCULATED THAT HE HAD A CURB WEIGHT OF 4650 POUNDS.  MY 1959 BONNEVILLE CONVERTIBLE HAS A CURB WEIGHT OF 4150 POUNDS.  I WAS COUNTING ON A 500 POUND WEIGHT ADVANTAGE TO NEUTRALIZE HIS CHEATING AND HOPED THAT MY DRAG RACING SKILLS WOULD MATCH AN ACCLAIMED CHAMPION DRIVER OF THE 1960 BUICK.  IT WORKED.

IN 1971 I HAD BECOME THE OFFICIAL PONTIAC CADILLAC GM TRUCK DEALER IN PERU INDIANA.  IN AN AGREEMENT WITH RON SHRAM, PRESIDENT OF PERU TRUST, I MORTGAGED MY 1959 BONNEVILLE CONVERTIBLE, 1958 BUICK LIMITED GREEN COUPE AND SEVERAL OTHER CARS IN MY COLLECTION.  WHEN I SOLD THE DEALERSHIP IN 1974 AVOIDING THE FUEL EMBARGOS, I WAS FORCED TO SELL THE ABOVE MENTIONED VEHICLES FULFILLING MY AGREEMENT.

THE 1959 BONNEVILLE CONVERTIBLE WENT TO A COLLECTOR IN NEBRASKA.  THE CONVERTIBLE WAS IN AN OPEN STORAGE FACILITY THAT WAS ONE NOTCH ABOVE A JUNK YARD.  SOME BRAIN DEAD REDNECK THREW A BRAKE DRUM ON THE HOOD.  WHAT OVER SHADOWED THAT IS THE NEW OWNER RECEIVED VIRTUALLY EVERY PIECE OF BRIGHT WORK, BODY MOLDINGS, SCRIPT, EMBLEMS, HEAD AND TAIL LIGHT BEZELS, LENSES, INTERIOR COMPONENTS, SPEAKERS, KNOBS, DOOR HANDLES, ALL NOS NEW IN THE BOXES WITH PAPER.  IN ADDITION, HE RECEIVED TWO BEAUTIFUL LEATHER FACTORY BUCKET SEATS IN SUNSET GLOW WHITE MAHOGANY.   IN THE JUNK YARD WITH CRAP  THROWN ALL OVER THE CAR, IT FORTUNATELY DISGUISED THE BUCKET SEATS WHICH TODAY MY BROKER PETE KRELL SAYS ARE WORTH $10,000.

THE COLLECTOR WAS QUITE PLEASED.  WHEN HE RETRIEVED THE CONVERTIBLE AND HAULED IT BACK TO NEBRASKA IN 1974.  I EVEN HAD MOST OF THE BODY PANELS IN THE INITIAL SHIPMENT.  I HAD CAREFULLY REMOVED EVERY PIECE OF CUSTOM CHROME ON THE ENGINE INCLUDING THE GTO AIR BREATHERS AND SEALED THE CARBURETORS WITH WAXERS SO WHEN YOU OPENED THE HOOD, IT JUST LOOKED LIKE ANOTHER TIRED 389 AS I HAD ALREADY SHIPPED EVERYTHING TO NEBRASKA.

I DID RETAIN, HOWEVER, MY 1962 BONNEVILLE CONVERTIBLE, 1962 CORVETTE, 1959 CATALINA COUPE, AND 1967 FLEETWOOD BROUGHAM.

RETURN

 

 

 

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