Jesus Pozo's 1955 Bel Air
Customer: Jesus Pozo
Lives in: Spain
Vehicle: 1955 Convertible Automatic Bel Air
Bought this car in: 1982
Where did you find this car? I bought it when I started working from an old guy in my hometown. He had a great collection of Hispano Suiza, Rolls Royce, Horsch... You name it. The Bel Air was the most modern of his collection. She was not in great condition either and he was not very interested on her, but still he asked for a lot of money, which I paid with pleasure. The 55 Bel Air was one my dream cars at that time. I bought it together with a Chevy 1929 4 door sedan which I restored, and sold a few years back and which is not part of the collection anymore.
What is the history of this vehicle? The Bel Air has a nice story behind it, but we just only know part of it. It is one of the few units assembled in Europe (Switzerland I think). The speedo is in kilometers and it has got a plate on the engine bay assessing that is was sold by GM Switzerland.
The car was brought into Spain by a gang of outlaws in the 60’s (no record of what they planned to do) and when they got caught by the Spanish police, the car was seized and sold on auction eventually to the first Spanish owner in my hometown. Titled for the first time in Spain in 1967.
What condition was it in when you purchased it? It was in good condition, although paint was a bit rough, top in a very bad condition and upholstery was far away from the original pattern. But the sheet metal was perfect, with just some surface rust. Engine and transmission were just OK, although we found out when we restored it that the engine was original and had never been bored. The car came with plenty of spare parts, several bumpers, even a couple of grilles in very nice condition.
Is there any other work that you would like to do on it? As with old cars, and being a perfectionist, there is always something to be done and things that you would like to get done again in a more correct way, if you know what I mean.
After driving it for all those years (restored in 99 and we have probably put on it 6000 miles) the paint is starting to have some blemishes, and the white top does not look perfect.
There are little things that I would like to correct as well with time, but I can live with them.
What was the hardest part to find? The car was very complete, no missing parts, and no rust as I said before, so most of the parts in the car were refurbished by the restoration shop that did the work.
The really difficult thing to solve (and has not been solved yet) is the Powerglide transmission leaking... They did the transmission for me twice, but still some leaks. But I guess there is not much you can do, and as a good friend of mine says, "the day it does not leak you will have to start to worry, as most probably it is because there is no oil inside!"
What other vehicles do you own? A little bit of everything, a 1956 Dodge Sierra Station Wagon, a Renault Alpine A110, a Jaguar E Type Roadster, a Ferrari 355 F1 Spyder, a McLaren M10A Formula 5000, a GT40...
What is your next project? Many projects in my dreams, but not sure I would like to add anything else to the collection. Those are probably enough. I keep fantasizing though, with getting a classic truck to use it as a transporter for some of the cars, mainly for the race cars, but not decided to take that step yet.
Do you have any advice for people thinking about doing a restoration project? I would say, go for the most original and complete car that you can find and then get good quality parts to complete it. Always have a budget double of what you estimate on paper and... enjoy the ride. Most of the fun has to do with the process of restoring the car. Once you finish usually it is time to start with another project!
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