Steve Kofmehl’s 1952 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe has been part of the family for 60 years.
“It’s kind of an heirloom thing. It’s something I’d never be able to sell,” he says.
Kofmehl’s grandmother bought the Styleline on Dec. 30, 1952. She traded a ’49 Chevy for it; the total price was $1,959. The only factory option available at the time, a heater, cost an additional $77.
“When I was 14 years old, she taught me to drive in that car. One day I was driving. I had to stop, but couldn’t get the clutch and gas working,” Kofmehl sayd. “We put the parking brake on, did the Chinese fire drill where we switched places, then she goosed it.”
From 1952 until 1980, Kofmehl’s grandmother drove the Chevy around her hometown of Charter Oak until she no longer could.
“When she was 90 years old and stopped driving a car, the car went to our family. I was the oldest, so I ended up with it,” Kofmehl says.
Eleven years later, when both his grandmother and Charter Oak were 100, Kofmehl drove her in the Styleline in the town’s centennial parade. Kofmehl’s father and son Karl rode in the back.
“There were four generations in the car that day,” he says.
When Karl got married last May, he asked his dad to haul the Chevy to Iowa City for driving away after the ceremony.
“He was born in ’85, so he grew up with that car,” Kofmehl says.
Although he’s never entered the Styleline in a car show, Kofmehl has thought about it.
“It’s really not show material. Maybe someday, I’d like to do that,” he says. “It’s kind of nice that it’s original. It even smells the same as it did when I was a kid.”
While Kofmehl hopes to be around for a while, he’s not sure with whom the Styleline might end up next. But whether it’s his son or a cousin, he says he hopes it stays in the family for years to come.
“We really never talked about what we’re going to do with it,” he says. “I just figured we’re going to hang on to it as long as I’m able to have it, until it’s darn near 100 years old.”