Finding a 1 1⁄2 HP engine, led 17-year-old Dave down a path of affixing that engine to things. He then convinced his parents to let him buy a 1957 Chevrolet Convertible, which had to be pushed off of the dealer’s lot. All these endeavors took money, so Dave, the oldest of 5 siblings, started work at a Texaco full-service gas
At the time (1960’s) a full-service station did everything automotive, from filling gas to changing tires. Dave
took 3rd shift that summer. Customer traffic was light during 3rd shift and he was able to work on not only his vehicles, but also his friends. Enter two cars which touched his life twice, once in the late 1960s, the second time 50 years later, and one car still (unbelievably) had his name on it!
With his new-found friends, he was making while working at the Texaco station in Minneapolis, Dave had the opportunity to work on a 1965 Corvette being set up for drag racing.
Numerous hours and monumental effort were needed to prepare this car to race well. The owner appreciated Dave’s work so much that he painted Dave’s name on the hood. The owner was a decade older than Dave, and after racing for awhile, he put the Corvette into storage, which ultimately ended up with a collector in Wisconsin.
Fast forward to 2017, when Dave and his wife Janet attended a car show… low and behold….. there was “his” car on display with the original livery they had used when prepping the car for racing, including his name printed under the hood!
Back to the Texaco station… during the period when the Corvette was being finished before it raced; Dave was asked by the owner of the car, if he could make the trip to the competition in Indiana. He, in turn, asked the owner of the Texaco station for time off and was told “no!” Well, you can imagine how that turned out, especially since Dave had other plans…just starting his engineering college career at the Univ of MN.
Dave had recently traded his 1957 Chevy Convertible for a 1957 two-door hardtop (he had to piece together) and was drag racing with it as well as driving it to and from school. He quickly realized paying for parking every day was taking a toll on his wallet. He had noticed a Shell full-service gas station just down the road… He quickly applied, was accepted, and again went for 3rd shift evening duties, knowing that he could get a lot of work done on his own car (and his friends) during those hours.
Not missing a beat Dave accepted the job with two conditions; that he would be able to park his car at the station while he was at the U of Minnesota Mechanical Engineering school and that the owner let him take time off to go racing with his friends. Thus, started his strong affection with Shell.
Back to 2017… After 42 years of working in engineering at the TORO Company, Dave and his wife decided it was time for him to retire into the life he had when he was a teen. He began by acquiring and working on his favorite, a 1957 Chevrolet Coupe … a new-found California barn find.
They purchased a 2,400 square-foot garage buildout to be finished at the Medina, Minnesota, AutoMotorPlex where they knew they would be surrounded by other like-minded automotive enthusiasts. Then for a Christmas gift, Janet bought Dave (from Brinkman’s Auctions) a period-correct Shell gas pump, (from the time he worked at the station). This beautiful gas pump became the central theme
Knowing their interest in this period of automobilia, AutoMotorPlex members and friends gifted Dave & Janet some original framed Mobil advertisements from 1936 and an early 1920’s car brand calendar showing what each brand/model of that vintage took in terms of oil and parts as well as other great automobilia.
Janet is a C7 Corvette owner and did the factory pickup to drive it back home to their garage condo. Dave is almost done restoring his 1957 Coupe, the only question is…. what does chapter 2 hold? I’m thinking the vintage racing Corvette with his name on it might be arriving soon!
Originally published in Automobila magazine. To se this and other learn more about