Tony Chacon loved his 1957 Chevy pickup so much that he tinkered with it for nearly 50 years. When he died in 2006 at the age of 80, his planned restoration was still incomplete, so his daughter, Becky Freeman, bought it from her siblings and shipped it to her brother-in-law, Don Kite,
Kite a well-known car guy who has bespoke interiors for numerous hot rods and custom cars. She knew he would know how to complete the work that her father started. “It would be great to finish dad’s dream,” she said.
“He drove it everyday until he died,” said Craig Freeman, Becky’s husband. “He used it for everything.” The Freemans are from California but now live in Sandusky, Ohio.
Kite pored over the magazines, photographs and notes that Chacon had gathered to figure out just what he was trying to do with his truck. Chacon ha installed bucket seats, a floor shift and a V-8, but the body needed serious attention.
Kite assessed the truck and realized that it was in pretty sad shape and in need of major work. Freeman agreed that a complete rebuild was the most logical way to proceed.
Easterwood Chassis in Raytown350cubic-inch General Motors and 700R4 automatic transmission. The rear is a nine-inch Ford.
Kite sent the truck to Tallant’s Hot Rod Shop in North Kansas City to have the body panels repaired and painted. Chacon always wanted his truck painted red, but when Freeman visited Tallant’s shop to choose an exact color, red just didn’t look right to her. She decided on a vibrant metallic blue that looks incredibly rich and is the perfect way to showcase Tallant’s flawless bodywork.
Kite decided a period-correct bench seat was more in keeping with the truck’s style, and he covered nearly everything in the cabin with –leather.
When Freeman first laid eyes on the completed truck in Kite’s garage she said she burst into tears. “This was not just a restoration,” she said, “but a family event.” Kite, his wife Michelle, Craig and Becky set up a table and had a celebratory dinner in the garage.
Now that the truck is complete, it is time to be shipped to Sandusky. “The whole town is waiting to see it,” Craig said, and we have a spot ready in the garage. No doubt Tony Chacon is looking down with a smile.