Bill Truman was a junior in high school when he first saw the 1965 Oldsmobile. He was driving past Classy Chassy in Des Moines, and the car was sitting out in the lot. When he got home that night, Truman told his dad about it, but when he drove by the lot again several days later, the car was gone. Truman thought he was out of luck.
“At the dinner table that night, I told my dad that the car was gone,” Truman says. “My dad said, ‘Yeah, I know. I’m the one who bought it.’ ”
Though he loved the car, Truman eventually left the ’65 Oldsmobile at his parent’s house, where it sat outside in a field for 20 years. However, Truman had always planned on restoring it, and in late 2011 he decided the time was finally right to dust off his old high school ride.
“It had sat for so long that it was time to either do something with it or let it go,” he says. “My wife gave me the go ahead, and once I started I didn’t stop.”
The car’s restoration ended up turning into a family project. Truman’s dad, a lifelong fan of Oldsmobiles, helped him rebuild the motor, beef it up and plate it in chrome, and his uncle, who does auto body work for a living, helped him restore the frame and exterior. Truman’s brother, a certified mechanic, also chipped in. Original parts for the car proved extremely difficult to find, and Truman had to order many of them from a large parts dealer, Original Parts Group, in Seal Beach, Calif. The project took Truman and his crew of friends and family 19 months to complete, but in the second week of July, the ’65 Oldsmobile was finally ready to hit the road again.
During the latter half of the summer and early fall, Truman took the car to shows in Norwalk and Indianola and displayed it at the Log Cabin Days Festival. He says he’s enjoyed the attention his car has received, especially by those who know how hard it is to find a ’65 Oldsmobile 442 in such good shape.
“I get a look of people looking and waving, or people who want to come up and talk,” Truman says. “You just don’t see many Oldses like it. It’s been a lot of fun to have it back.”
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