Somehow, dads just know.
Bill Wafful had no doubt seen a lot of cars, a lot of teenagers and learned a lot about how cars and teenagers get along from his landmark Skelly Oil Station in downtown Fort Dodge in the 1950s and ’60s. So when it was time for Bill to buy his son Bruce his first car, he didn’t spend a lot of money on it.
After all, a man who names his station “Poverty Gulch,” probably wasn’t going to waste a lot of money on a set of wheels for a teenager.
“Dad bought me a 1950 Dodge, two-door sedan. It’d been kind of side-swiped. He figured I’d be pretty rough on a car,” Bruce Wafful recalls.
Apparently, Dad was right — at least as far as that very first car was concerned.
“It didn’t take me long to wreck that old beater because I didn’t like it,” Wafful adds.
The next time around, Wafful spent his own money and bought a 1957 Chevy. He was only about 19 years old, but he had found a life-long love in the classic lines of the ’57.
During the years, Wafful has bought and sold three of the legendary 1957 models. He bought his fourth one more than 20 years ago — and appears ready to hold on to this one for a long while.
“I used to fix them up and sell them. The one I had before this one looked like it came out of a junkyard when I bought it,” Wafful explains. “But with all the work and time that I put into it — and the money I put into it — I decided I’m better off to let somebody else rebuild them, and then when they get hard-up you buy it.”
He’s put new tires and wheels on it, but that’s about it. He enjoys taking it out for a Sunday drive now and then and used to show it more often.
“It rides better than our SUV,” he says.
Bruce’s dad may not have bought him the car he really wanted so long ago, but he did teach him all he needed to know about cars at Poverty Gulch.
“He had that station across from the girls’ Y for years; it’s a tobacco outlet now. I grew up doing all this,” Wafful recalls fondly.
Contact Darren at 515-953-4822 ext. 304 or email@example.com to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”