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9734 Dino Drive Elk Grove, CA 95624

(916)685-5078

Mike Radman’s Bucket List Restoration

  • Mike Radman’s Bucket List Restoration

    Mike Radman spent eight years restoring his 1957 Chevy Bel Air sport coupe. When he

    purchased the vehicle in 1994 it was in really bad shape.

    “I took it off the frame and started with the frame and did the whole car,” he said. “It was a

    lengthy process.”

    Everything, from the front floors to the rear sections, needed to be rebuilt or replaced.

    Restoration included blasting away the rust and returning the car to its original colors of ivory

    over matador red, a color that resembles a reddish orange in certain light. In the rear window is

    an exact model of this very car.

    “One of my former students bought me that,” he said.

    When asked what drew him to this vehicle, especially with all the work required, he said he’d

    wanted one for a long time.

    “It’s on my bucket list I guess you could say,” he added, smiling. “I had another one, but it was a

    sedan, not as elaborate as this one. I wanted to build my own.”

    Radman’s tinkered with cars for many years for fun and out of necessity.

    “When I was growing up, we couldn’t afford to pay anybody to fix our cars, so we fixed our

    own.”

    He credits a high school shop class for igniting his interest and prefers the classic cars.

    “Newer cars require computers and diagnostics and aren’t as fun to work on,” he said.

    Radman’s is not strictly a show car, although he has received more than 70 awards mostly in the

    stock category, including one at the 2015 Fast in the Fall show. He’s put 5000 miles on the

    engine since he finished the restoration 13 years ago.

    He avoids freeways, enjoys Sunday drives with his wife and has been known to transport the

    occasional lucky bride to her wedding or fortunate young woman to her quinceañera.

    Although the car is nearly 60 years old, Radman says that finding parts has not been a problem.

    Reproduction parts are readily available and the paint can also be specially mixed.

    “They reproduce this actual car now,” he said, but Radman won’t buy one. They look the same,

    but he says the original is a car the driver has to drive. Reproductions, he added, handle like new

    cars and lack personality, something Radman’s car is filled with.

  • His car, like other old model classics, has distinguishing characteristics not often found on the
    newer models.
    “People take pictures of just parts of the car because of the design,” he said. “Even my food
    tray.”
    There’s no visible gas door because it is concealed behind the chrome tail fin, located just above
    the rear taillight. That isn’t a CD player under the radio, it’s a tissue dispenser. And the radio is
    strictly AM, but he’s not concerned that it only broadcasts talk shows and baseball games.
    “I’d rather listen to the car purring than the radio.”
    by Trina L. Drotar

    This article is courtesy of Auto Body Expressions 9734 Dino Drive Elk Grove, CA 95624 (916)685-5078

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