Meet the owner of the Cragar Equipped 1962 Chevy Impala…

Remember that 1962 Impala that sported a set of Cragar S/S rims that I featured last week? Come to find out, its owned by one of the Nurses that is on the staff at the Rehabilitation Center (Nursing Home) that my mom is currently staying. I got to know some of the staff over the course of a few weeks due to the fact that I made daily visits, and it was quite a shock to find it was owned by someone who has been caring for my mom. Meet Gail, and her interesting Chevy…

Gail has been in nursing for several years, and I have to tell you that I wouldn’t want her job for any amount of money. The nursing staff at this particular facility is expected to not only work their assigned shifts, but to cover other shifts as well when needed. The day I interviewed Gail about her car was the day in which she was pulling a double shift – 16 hours – and a day after she pulled a 12 hour stint. My mom has made tremendous progress after undergoing a double hip replacement only three months ago, and it is all due to the nursing staff, the patient aides, and the physical therapists of the facility.

Gail is like almost any of us, she seems to really like cars, and has instilled that interest in her son. This is how the interview went:
Jim: So Gail, how did this car come into your possession?
Gail: Well, I was driving by the garage near my home for almost two years. It had a for sale sign on it, and it was a regular sight. Every time I passed by it, I noticed it. The for sale sign disappeared for a while, and I was wondering if the car was still for sale. The seller mounted the Cragar rims to see if the car would sell, but is was still there. Finally, I just had to ask about is, so I stopped in.
Jim: When was this?
Gail: It was in the fall of 2003. The car was pretty rusty, and it was in a brown color, but I saw potential.
Jim: What did you pay for it, if I might ask?
Gail: $2,000, which seemed like a lot of money, but the car ran OK, and I knew my son would like it.
Jim: Did you have to do a lot of work to it?
Gail: Well, I wanted to get the car ready for my son’s wedding in the fall of 2004. So we took it home, and we worked on the car together. My son Brad has a lot of body working tools, and a paint sprayer, so we began to do the body. This is where the car needed the most work. I did a lot of sanding, and a little bit of bondo, and Brad did the painting.

Jim: Did you have to do anything major to the engine?
Gail: Not really. We gave her a tune-up, new plugs, points, a new air filter, changed the oil, and installed a new starter. The Powerglide worked flawlessly, and we installed a new battery.
Jim: Why did you choose this shade of blue?
Gail: If you look under the hood, the firewall had this shade of blue, so I tried to match it. Brad and I mixed a dark blue and white, and it was close enough. Brad had enough paint to do one coat over the entire car.
Jim: And was it done in time for Brad’s Wedding Day?
Gail: We got it done just in time for the October ceremony. Brad had a late 50s early 60s rockabilly theme at the wedding, and this car was a perfect prop for the bride and groom to go off into the sunset.

Jim: So this has been a daily driver ever since?
Gail: Not Exactly. I drive it every chance I get during the spring, summer and fall months. You see, those Massachusetts antique plates are good from April to October, and I’m actually trying to find a car for the winter months that’s better on gas than my Impala. I love this car, and I only pay $5 a year for property taxes.
Jim: What is your current mileage?
Gail: When I bought the car it had 84,000 miles on it, and now its close to 90,000 miles. She still starts, and runs like a champ. I might have to re-do the paint job at some point, and I want to get rid of those Wal-Mart seat covers in the future, but I will never sell her.
Jim: Why not?
Gail: I want to pass it down to my son, or one of my grand children at some point in time. This is like one of my children, and I’m happy I bought it.
Jim: I understand that your son has a couple of classics of his own. Mind if I ask you what he has?
Gail: Right now, Brad is driving around in a 1966 Ford F-100 pickup. But his baby is a 1939 Pontiac sedan that has been chopped, and I helped him install a Cadillac Engine and Transmission into. The Caddy will also donate most of the interior including the electric seats, and the dash board.
Jim: Thanks Gail, and its good to see that you enjoy this car as much as our readers did.

With that I gave her a hug, and said bye for now. She really is an incredible girl, one who dedicates her life to helping the sick and the elderly, while squeezing enough time to satisfy the inner hoon that is present in all of us. We all need to prioritize our life, and Gail is a shining beacon as to how to live such a life.

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  1. Paul_y Avatar

    I dare anybody to not have a huge amount of respect for Gail. Great story, Jim.

    1. Bill Avatar

      Who has the number for Chip Foose? This needs to be taken care of

  2. dukeisduke Avatar

    Wow, great story. Glad to hear that your mom is better, and that there's folks like Gail out there, who are dedicated to helping people. And I dig that Fisher Body stamp. I've seen lots of old GM cars over the years, but I've never seen one of those stamps. I wonder what plant built the Chevy – Tarrytown, or Framingham?

  3. lilwillie Avatar

    Very cool. Always fun to hear the story behind the car. This one is great!

  4. CptSevere Avatar

    Great stuff. She has the same amount of love and respect for that car that I would, if I had it. A great lady, and a real nice car.

  5. Bret Avatar

    Great story! Cool car for a cool lady.

  6. RichardKopf Avatar

    So keep right to the end
    You'll find your goal my friend
    You won't fail
    Find your G(r)ail

  7. engineerd Avatar

    First, Jim it's good to hear your mother is recuperating well. And it's great to know people like Gail are assisting with that.
    Second, from the holy Hoonitarian Hooniversalist scriptures:
    "Man who is born of woman-hoon is of few days and full of awesome."
    It seems Gail is keeping the awesome going in her family.

  8. Van Sarockin Avatar
    Van Sarockin

    What 'neerd said. Also, if I ever had to pass on an old car, I'd hope that someone like Gail would show up. Every great car deserves to find someone like her.

  9. LostMyMeds Avatar

    Gail apparently knows how to rehabilitate cars as well as humans.
    She looks as proud as she should in that shot of her behind the wheel

  10. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    What a great interview, thanks! Also glad to hear your mom is doing better.

  11. Buickboy92 Avatar

    Awesome! We need more women who are into cars!!!!! Gail is great!

  12. McQueen Avatar

    Great story love to see women enjoying the hoon way , my wife is alot like this lady she only has me work on her vehicles if it's something she cannot do perfectly .

  13. Ladybug519 Avatar

    Gail is one of my best friends and I'm proud to work with her! She is one of a kind and it's nice to see her be the center of attention for once…great story, Jim!!!

  14. stefanie Avatar

    gail is a great nurse and has alot of love and respect for cars as well as people, she saved the life of this car as well as many people, great story jim