Man Restores Grandfather's 1957 Chevy Bel Air For 81st Birthday

A grandfather in Louisville Kentucky got his old friend back for his 81st birthday.

Surrounded by friends and family, Fred Lamar was very nearly knocked off his feet after seeing his birthday present for the first time.

“Oh man it's beautiful,” he said while gazing at a pristine 1957 Chevy Bel Air. The car was painstakingly restored by his grandson, Cam Dedman, who spent most of 2017 rebuilding the car from scratch. Everything from the chrome front fascia to the vintage small-block V8 engine was rebuilt entirely by hand.

“My grandpa is my best friend,” Dedman explains. “So he does everything with me. I'd go to the races. We'd go drag racing all the time. That and he got me into cars when I was young.”

Lamar purchased the car back in 1965 when he was just 28 years old. It was then driven for 11 years as a family car, accumulating cherished memories, until it was finally mothballed the family garage in 1976.


There, the old car collected dust and rust for decades until Dedman got an idea. “I always said I'm going to pay him back one day and today's that day. I spent every day I could working on it,” Dedman said, spending the better part of a year creating a gift for the history books.

Then, on Lamar’s 81st birthday, the family assembled in Louisville Kentucky to get his reaction after the big reveal. He was so shocked he required assistance to keep from falling over before finally bursting into tears at the sight of his new ride, restored like new.

“I never think I’d see that car. Oh lordy, I love it,” Lamar said.

There’s no word on how much money was spent on restoring the car, but it was certainly a lot of man-hours alone.

Lamar certainly appreciated the expense. “It means the world to me,” Lamar said before giving the car a kiss. “And I'm going to sleep in it.”

For the rest of the family and Dedman in particular, it was the genuine look of joy that made it all worthwhile. “I saw his real reaction and I couldn't help but tear up myself,” Dedman said.


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