- The Washington Times - Friday, October 25, 2002

Joe Colick was a few years away from obtaining a driver's license when his grandparents, Jake and Teresa Kos, bought a new 1957 Dodge.
After several unsuccessful attempts at passing the test for her driver's license in Bessemer, Pa., Mrs. Kos had finally succeeded. As a reward for her perseverance, she selected a new car to go with her new driver's permit.
Because the 1958 models were beginning to appear on car dealer lots in September 1957, Mr. and Mrs. Kos must have made a good deal on a flashy 1957 top-of-the-line Dodge Custom Royal two-door hardtop. On Sept. 17, 1957, they purchased the 3,670-pound blue-and-white "Swept-Wing Dodge" for $3,148 from Pyramid Motors in nearby Poland, Ohio.
Mrs. Kos was the exclusive driver of the Dodge until her death 19 years later. At that time her Dodge had accumulated slightly more than 26,000 miles.
The chrome-laden white-over-blue-over-white coupe has 7-foot, 10-inch-long tail fins painted white, stretching from the rear of the door to what appears to be infinity.
After 1976 her car passed to her daughter, Mildred Colick. Mrs. Colick and her husband, Frank, maintained the car until Mrs. Colick's death in 1999. At that time the odometer had registered 38,000 miles.
In 1998 a minor fire in the garage blistered the paint, melted the red plastic taillight lenses and cracked the curved windshield.
The wounds from the fire and heat were mended in 1999 and, with those few exceptions, the Dodge remains in the condition in which it left the factory.
In June 2002 the younger Mr. Colick in Maryland received a telephone call from his widowed father in Pennsylvania saying, "Come and get it."
Mr. Colick, a retired federal employee, agreed that it was time for him to take his grandmother's Dodge. He arranged for a truck to haul the Dodge from Pennsylvania to Maryland. His grandmother had never driven her car in the rain, so Mr. Colick was sure the weather would be good.
The sun was, indeed, shining when the car was loaded into the truck at 4 p.m. Monday.
When it was unloaded at 7 a.m. Wednesday, the rain clouds opened. The only good news that day was that the 17-foot, 8-inch-long car did not shrink when wet.
Mr. Colick inspected his grandmother's Dodge and found all in order including the 260-horsepower Super Red Ram 325-cubic-inch V-8 engine with the three-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission.
Mr. Colick was a junior high school student when his grandmother bought the Dodge. He remembers going with his parents to visit his grandparents and to see her new car.
"What an ugly car," the teenage Mr. Colick thought at the time. "All we saw were tail fins," he said, when the garage door was opened. After 45 years he has changed his mind.
The Dodge has the optional:
Electro Touch Tuner radio.
Variable-speed wipers.
Power steering.
Power brakes.
Mr. Colick said it took him a while to get used to the push-button transmission at the left side of the 120-mph speedometer.
The three-button top row holds, from left, the Reverse button, the Neutral button in the center and the Drive button on the right. The lower two-button row contains first and second gear buttons. Pressing and hold the Neutral button starts the engine.
"It's got power," Mr. Colick said. "This thing will move you down the road."
In the center of the dashboard is a rectangular panel with chrome D-O-D-G-E letters. It swivels to become an ashtray.
Inside the spacious car is full instrumentation just below the speedometer. Atop the dashboard is the dash-mounted mirror. Complementing that mirror through the tinted windshield are a pair of fender-mounted mirrors.
Typical of cars in that era is the protective heavy-gauge clear plastic covering the seats. Dodge was one of the first to feature a 60/40 split front seat.
At the lower left side of the dashboard is a red light that flashed to warn the driver that the emergency brake is engaged.
Another pair of white lights, one each above the side windows, illuminates the interior of the Dodge. Of course the torsion-bar suspension was a big selling point of Chrysler products in the late 1950s.
Mr. Colick was surprised to learn the capacity of the fuel tank is 20 gallons.
About the longest trip Mr. Colick has taken in his grandmother's Dodge on its 8.00x14-inch tires amounts to 10 or 12 miles.
Firing up the remarkable Dodge V-8, he said, "It sounds good." Mr. Colick has every intention of adding to the 38,661 miles already on the odometer.
Those miles are going to have to be during fair weather in honor of his grandmother.

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