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Restoring Dad’s car

Posted August 21, 2013 in Altoona, Community Featured
Chris Rogers says his dad would have liked the restoration work done on his car.

Chris Rogers says his dad would have liked the restoration work done on his car.

Chris Rogers bought his dad’s car off his brother in 2000 for $600.

Fast forward 13 years or so, and after hours of work and lots of money, the 1966 El Camino sits in his garage, finally finished.

When Rogers first got the car, it was undrivable and rusted through. He took it completely apart down to the frame, replacing most of the body panels. Now, it sports a high performance small block 400 cubic inch engine that puts out 460 horsepower. The wheels are custom made, as is much of the car.

“There’s not many factory parts left on it,” he says.

Rogers knew the project would be a big undertaking. But it was the memory of his father, who died when he was 9 years old, that prompted him to move forward with its restoration. The El Camino was the car his dad drove every day, and Rogers remembers going out fishing in it.

He worked on it from 2000 to 2004. He took a break from it for four years before picking it up again and finished rebuilding the car this year. He did most of the work.

“The only thing I didn’t do was the paint,” Rogers says.

One of the highlights of the car is the motor, which he describes as, “sporting a lot of bling.” Photos show off the shiny, custom performance parts.

The toughest challenge of putting the car back together was coming up with the money to do it. He worked on it bit by bit, when he could.

The deeper he got into it, he also found it tough to find the right parts. He scoured the Internet, finding what he needed in places like California, Colorado and junk yards around Iowa.

This is the biggest rebuild he’s done — and he has no plans to do one this extensive again, Rogers says. But, it is time to find a new project, and he’d like to work on a 1969 Camaro next.

The work on the El Camino is done, for now. While it no longer resembles the original, Rogers says his dad would have liked this version.

“My dad was a car guy. He would have loved the car,” he says.

Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”

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