Art Przybyl’s 1928 Chevrolet National AB Coach
Customer: Art Przybyl
Lives in: Illinois
Vehicle: 1928 Chevrolet National AB Coach
How long have you owned this vehicle?
It has been in the family since 2000 when my father-in-law purchased it from a GM dealer in Canada. My wife Kathy, inherited the vehicle in 2008 when he died. She had no interest in cars really, but knew I wanted it because of its unique history so she selected it as her choice.
Where did you get this vehicle?
A Canadian GM dealer had a 1928 Chevrolet Coach and a 1928 Pontiac in his collection. He decided to dispose of some cars in order to make room to purchase more cars, and decided to sell the Chevrolet. My father-in-law heard of the car and purchased it, because he had a 1928 Coach when he was raising his family.
My wife gave it to me to keep me busy in retirement since she knew I was highly interested in its history, and I’ve always been a ‘car guy’. My father-in-law was an amateur car collector after he retired from the lumber business. He had about 24 cars when he passed on. Every family member was allowed to take any 1 car of their choice. Among his collection were Duesenbergs, Cadillacs, Auburns, and Packards of very high value. He also had low value cars like Chevrolet, Maxwell, Fords and others, but none with the unique history of the 1928 Chevy. When he took delivery of it in 2000 I was the first one to drive it with 18 miles on the odometer. I soon started doing research on the vehicle. It came with the original owner’s driver’s license, envelope, title and other documents used in 1928.
Using this information I begin to research it, and am still doing research on it today. I found out that the original owner, Helen Six, was married to Nolan Six who actually bought the vehicle and put it in his wife’s name. According to family and friends who knew Nolan, he had a driver’s license but was never seen driving a car. His wife always drove him until she died. Only then did he drive weekly for shopping.
What is truly unique about this vehicle is that Nolan bought it, took it home (a 12 mile trip from Johnson Chevrolet in Indianapolis), put the car up on blocks with 12 miles on the odometer, and when he died in 1972 the car was still on blocks with 12 miles. It had not moved in 44 years of ownership. It is still legally a new car based on mileage. The only original item I do not have is the tool kit. I recently discovered through research with the family historian that Nolan’s mother also bought a 1928 Chevrolet (Blue) at the same time from Johnson Chevrolet. Nolan loved the color blue and ended up making a deal with his mother to have his wife Helen drive her car. They say Nolan was so upset at not getting the blue Chevy, he refused to ever drive the green/black one.
Over time the car deteriorated under several owners. Some kept it 20 years and others only a few months before it was restored. Some owners began disassembly of the car to restore it but never made much progress. When Harold Badger and Terry McElfresh bought the car they took it home in pieces in two pickup trucks.
There is so much that is unique about this car’s history that I developed a web site to share it with other car enthusiasts. I call the car The Forgotten Chevy, since so many owners just seemed to have forgotten it, or forgotten its history, so my website is called www.theforgottenchevy.com in honor of it. I have recently found two new owners, and the Six Family historian, but have not had time to update my website as yet. The car is not for sale, will remain in my family into the future when I pass it on to my son and daughter, and may someday end up in a museum in perpetuity.
I occasionally get contacted by 1928 Chevy National owners engaged in restoration projects who want to know how something looked on an original car, so I send them photographs of the items they are working on.
To the best of my knowledge and research to date, there is no restored/original 1928 Chevrolet National AB Coach in private ownership with fewer original miles, and/or with a more documented ownership genealogy, which makes it truly unique among antique autos.
What condition was the vehicle in when you got it?
Showroom new restored original condition with 162 original miles fully documented in letters from every owner, if still alive, or their surviving family members with extensive knowledge of the vehicle. Some non-original items were put on the car for shows, like nickel valve stem caps, and specially machined wheel nuts, but the originals were with the car when received. It was fully restored in 1993 by Terry McElfresh (deceased), and Harold Badger (living) of Indianapolis, IN, and then sold to a succession of owners. To the best of my knowledge and Haroldâs no succeeding owner ever touched or changed the car. Many only owned it for a few months and sold it because “they could not bring themselves to put miles on a car with only a few miles”. When Harold and Terry sold it the odometer read 14 original miles.
What work have you done on this vehicle?
I keep it in controlled storage on jack stands, dust and wax it twice a year, run the engine periodically to keep the lubricants flowing, and turn the front and rear wheels by hand. I thoroughly detailed the underside and interior during 2014, and am presently checking all brass and copper lines. I’ve replaced one cracked brass fitting on the line to the oil filter, and tightened up some loose vacuum line brass connectors that made starting difficult and running rough.
Is there any other work that you would like to do?
Not now. Out of respect for the work done by Harold and Terry, I have kept the car as received by me, but someday I will take the non-original items off the car and put the original parts back on; e.g. the black wheel nuts and valve stem caps. Everything else is original, although the wood steering wheel is in natural wood. Original Chevrolets had brown painted steering wheels with spoke covers of a rubber material.
What were the hardest parts to find?
The only part I’ve ever had to look for was an original tool kit. It got separated from the car through 11 different owners. I have only heard of one 1928 Chevy with an original tool kit, but have never seen it to verify if that is true. There is a lack of information on what an original tool kit consists of, since in some cases the dealer provided it and there is no way of knowing what they included (there are many fake tool kits for sale however, and I foolishly purchased two of them). Based on current data I have assembled original tools into a kit, but do not know what type of case/container they came in, and have never seen one for sale.
If anyone is restoring a ’28 other scarce parts are the original front rubber floor mat with the Chevy bow tie logo embossed all over it. I have never seen original ones for sale anywhere in any condition. Luckily, I have the original front rubber floor mat in my Coach.
The rubber steering wheel spoke covers are also non-existent anywhere that I can find.Beyond that I buy parts and lubricants from The Filling Station, using parts and lubricants for my Coupe (95% original), like 600W lubes, oil filters, moto-meters, and 600W lubricants for my Coach.
What other vehicles do you own?
1928 Chevrolet National AB Coupe
1961 Corvette (My wife’s car)
1983 Seville (Barn find)
What is your next project?
The 1983 Seville is my next project car when I get time and money. It only has 72,000 miles, runs well, has an immaculate interior, but needs a good paint job, and some minor repairs, like a trunk motor actuator, to be back in original condition.
Do you have any advice for people thinking about doing a restoration project?
Probably too much to state it all, but you need patience, a place to work on the car other than your home garage, a good set of tools (they don’t have to be expensive), and the commitment to see it through. Depending on condition restorations sometimes take 10 years or more, and thousands of dollars even if you do most of the work yourself. That is why so many restoration projects are sold before they are finished. If you buy someone else’s project you really don’t know what they did, where to start or how to finish.
For more information on the Forgotten Chevy
Please visit Art Przybyl’s website: www.theforgottenchevy.com
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