Category Archives: Car Stories

Car Stories: The 1940 Chevrolet at Oak Creek

A 1940 Chevrolet Convertible (Image Credit: German Medeot, CC 2.0)

A 1940 Chevrolet Convertible
(Image Credit: German Medeot, CC 2.0)

by Justin Huston
We moved from Los Angeles to Inyo County, California in 1978. Soon after, we discovered a beautifully rustic neighborhood in the Sierra foothills called Oak Creek. This could have been the place described by Bing Crosby in his Dear Hearts and Gentle People hit song of the 1940s.

Up in Oak Creek lived a little old man. Under a tree, covered in his driveway he kept a flawless, original light gray 1940 Chevrolet convertible, which he purchased brand new at Miller’s Chevrolet (1936-1979) in Lone Pine, a scant 18 miles away.

This car had never been restored. He kept a tonneau cover tied over the original top. It still had the original black FNU-series plates issued at the Lone Pine DMV in December, 1962. With 40,000 correct miles, it was last registered in 1968.

Magazine ad for the 1940 Chevrolet convertible

Magazine ad for the 1940 Chevrolet convertible

In front of the Chevrolet, wedged and fastened between two trees, he kept an assembly of metal foot lockers, in which was stored an assortment of well-used Smith-Miller toy trucks from the early postwar years. These were for his grandkids to play with whenever they came to visit.

In May, 2010, on my way to a nude camp-out in Saline Valley, I decided to swing by Oak Creek and see how the Chevrolet was doing.

Upon arriving at Oak Creek I found nothing; no houses, no buildings, no cars, no trees, no people, no roads, no power poles… just a barren alluvial fan, sloping down off the eastern face of the Sierra Nevada mountains. At once I was both eerily haunted and confused.
Continue reading “Car Stories: The 1940 Chevrolet at Oak Creek” »

Car Stories: Hit and Run Reward

Stuart's 1958 Edsel, FLN502

Stuart’s 1958 Edsel, FLN502

By Justin Houston

Once in a lifetime there comes an event that cannot be told until enough time has passed that the participants are deceased or otherwise no longer at risk of being outted, prosecuted or hunted down for bounty. Hit and Run Reward is one such event.

Stuart Grover was one of my car buddies from high school and we always had this undeclared competition to find the rarest, most desirable cars. Once I mentioned I’d like to find an Edsel convertible with a manual transmission. Stuart readily agreed that was a noble, if lofty, goal.

One day Stuart called and said he’d found a red 1958 Edsel convertible with a manual transmission. He said it was sitting on the back of a used car lot in Midway City. In barely running condition with bad brakes, he bought the car and used it as his daily transportation.

After he’d had the car a year he managed to scrape together the money to replace the top. He waxed and polished the car and it looked great. He went everywhere with the top down.
Continue reading “Car Stories: Hit and Run Reward” »