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Full of Memories: 1951 Chevy Fleetline


What is it that makes classic cars so desirable and valuable to us? When we break it down, they are really just pieces of metal, oil, rubber, and glass assembled to transport us from one point to another. Yet they have so much more value than that. For some they represent freedom, for others they hold tokens of the past, or even hope for the future. One of the greatest values any car can hold is memories. Reader Scott J. has been given the opportunity to help a young man bring back a car that is filled with important memories for him and his family.


This young man lives on his family’s farm, which just happens to be down the road from Scott. One day the young man asked Scott to come take a look at one of his father’s old farm trucks to see what it would take to get running again. While Scott was looking it over the young man said to him, “This truck would be fun to get running, but what I really want to drive is the car in the old shed which my dad bought when he was a teenager.” Knowing that the boy’s father had passed away a number of years earlier, he knew just how important this car had to be, so he suggested they take a look at it. Parked in the shed was this 1951 Chevy Fleetline.


This car holds a lot of memories for this family, as it had not only been the father’s car when he was a teenager, but it had been the car that he took his future wife out with on their first date. For Scott, the car instantly brought back good memories of his own first car, a 1955 Ford that his father and grandfather helped him get running when he turned 16. He knew right then and there that he needed to help his young friend get this Chevy back on the road.


Scott checked to make sure the engine wasn’t seized and luckily it was still free. It was driven into the shed in 1984 and hasn’t been touched since, so we are sure it will need a lot of work. Thankfully, Scott plans on helping this young man to get it going again. We are sure this will be one project that neither will ever forget. This is one case where the value of the car isn’t based on metal and rubber, but cherished memories. We want to thank Scott for sharing this story with us and for helping a future barn finder bring back a classic. We wish both the best of luck!


  1. 88R107

    When Mom & Dad got married in 52 Dad had one of these. It was brand new. Had a manual shift and Mom could never get the hang of it. Dad had to trade it for a new 53 BelAir with Powerglide.

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  2. John Devitt

    When I was in high school, I bought a green one just like this for $35 that didn’t run. I drug it home and pulled the pan off and discovered that the rods were loose. The engine has babit rod bearings so I plastigaged them and then filled the caps down with a large flat file. I got a little over zelous on a couple, taking too much off. So I cut out some shims from an aluminum beer can. I drove it all over Montana putting 35,000 miles on it before putting a rod through the side of the block which was due more to the addition of adding dual carbs and headers that I found at an auction for $2.50. One tough car!

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  3. Bob

    Had one very similar in high school . Mine was dark green , no spotlight , factory fender skirts , factory AM pushbutton radio . I added a rear seat speaker and moved the 3 speed shifter to the left side , both fads at that time . Dad bought it new , sold it to his brother in ’52 , I got it in ’59 when my uncle upgraded to a nice used ‘ 57. Loved that car , good times , great memories of the ” good ole days” .

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  4. Liam

    Great story, and amazing it is still in the same family after all these years. What a day that will be when the young lad gets to drive it himself. Please keep us posted on its progress, I would love to see pictures of it when it’s back on the road.

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  5. Jeff

    Wonderful cars, I have a 1951 deluxe 4dr. all original but has some rust! 2dr. looks a little better with the fastback style being a little longer. Good luck and enjoy!!

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  6. scot

    ~ i bought the coolest ’50 2door Fleetline SBC V8 project that i was just in love with about 25 years ago. it was so rough and so neat all at the same time. after a couple years of slow progress someone came along with more money and desire than i had. just one of those regrets. i have always admired their style. much nicer shape than the contemporary Mercury, Ford, Packard, Studebaker offerings. all of GMs ‘Sedanette’ type cars are gorgeous.

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  7. David Reeves

    It says “wash me”! Ha!

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  8. Yooperpackrat

    I wish I had one of my dads cars,my fav is the 41 Buick 2dr fastback he had when I was born in 46, I have several pictures of it taken in 1947. I do like the 51 Chev in the above story, farms and old cars, love it!!!!!!

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  9. geomechs geomechs Member

    A great story! I certainly enjoy the stories surrounding these old cars; they round out the car and give it some personality. Having a car stay in the family is something so rare these days. I wish the boy luck and look forward to hearing about the progress.

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  10. Scott j

    Update on the car. The young man got it pulled out of the shed and washed the dust off and aired up the tires. Only one of the tires didn’t hold air. I unfortunately have not had time to refresh the fluids because of my work schedule.. The dip stick showed full and the radiator still had bright green fluid. My schedule should allow me pull his car into my garage over the thanks giving weekend. I told my 13 year old son I want him to work with us so he can learn how real cars work. I am looking forward to helping this great young man get his dad’s car back on the road again. This car brings back so many great memories for me. My dad and I worked on his 48 Chevy fleet side, turining it into a 50’s custom. Scott J

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  11. Rolly Doucet

    Back in 1961, I was in high school, and doing odd jobs for pocket money. A neighbour hired me to do some work, and instead of cash, he gave me his 1952 Buick Special. It had the straight eight engine and three “on the tree” speed standard transmission. What I remember most, is sometimes I would accidently engage third gear (instead of first) and let the clutch out slowly, to move foreward. The engine didn’t stall or buck, as a six would if you did that. Instead, the car drove away smoothly, with the GEN light flashing, letting me know I’d put it in the wrong gear…again. The torque and smoothness of that straight eight engine was amazing.

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  12. Don Andreina

    Those GM fastbacks from the late 40s and early 50s are some of the finest design to come out of the US. Nice story, nice car. Good luck, Scott.

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  13. Charlie Member

    This car is a piece of art – one of the most succesful designs to come out of GM for the ’49-’53 series of cars, bettered only by the ’49 Caddy “Sedanette”, a left over body style plus the fin taillights, which was very much the same only of much higher qualtiy fit and finish. Not many, relative to total Chevy production were built, and not many this good, survive.

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  14. Jack T in Wasington

    Though collector cars are important to all of us, and vital to some, it is the people we encounter in our hobby that make being an enthusiast worthwhile through everlasting friendships.

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  15. John

    My dad had one too, green I think. When we would travel I would sleep up on the parasol shelf whenever I got tired Seat belts? What seat belts? LOL. We would have baloney sandwiches the kind you’d have to remove the red thin plastic film off before eating. We would stop and get gas at the Flyin Horse station. I used to collect the plastic horses they would give away, do you guys remembers these?

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  16. Rob T.

    Sleeping up on the package shelf sounds interesting & dangerous for sure! Ha Ha! I prefer the “sofa like” back seat in the Vintage Chevs of that era, but, hey….sounds like one of those magic moments from childhood to me.😄

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