- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 9, 2006

Fate was good to Scott Springston in November 2001. By chance he happened to go by a shop on Lee Highway in Arlington the one day that a 1928 Chevrolet was parked out front. “It was just what I wanted,” Mr. Springston says.

Like a moth to a flame he was drawn to the old car. He gave it a cursory once-over before inquiring if it was for sale. The shop owner burst his bubble when he explained that a customer had just bought the car in Wyoming and had it trucked there for a thorough restoration.

He was surprised a few weeks later when the shop owner called to see if he remained interested in the Chevrolet. He was told that when the wife of the man who bought the car in Wyoming learned the cost of a complete restoration, she insisted he sell the car.

“It found me,” Mr. Springston explained to his wife. “I’ve got to get it.” Fortunately, a family friend had had an identical car and had told the Springstons many tales about it. The Springstons bought the 1928 Chevrolet and Mr. Springston arranged to have a rollback truck haul it to his Arlington home the day before Thanksgiving. “That was the happiest day of my life,” he recalls. The Springstons named the car Laurence in honor of their friend.

“It’s home now,” Mr. Springston told his wife.

Unlike the previous owner, Mr. Springston did not want a showroom-perfect car. “I wanted this car to look like your grandpa’s old car,” he explains.

The happy new owner had to find a new float for the carburetor and then he cleaned the points and old spark plugs. The rotor was cracked so he soldered it before putting some fresh gasoline in the tank and stepping on the starter. The four-cylinder, 171-cubic-inch engine fired right up. “It’s no more complicated than a lawn mower engine,” Mr. Springston says.

After getting the car running, he turned his attention to other necessities. When he purchased the car it had one headlight. Mr. Springston could not locate a matching headlight but he found a complete set of two in Wisconsin that now adorn the front of his Chevrolet.

Records that came with the car indicate that it was manufactured in March 1928 and rolled out the factory door on 4.50x21-inch tires mounted on disc wheels wearing a coat of green paint with brown pinstripes.

“I couldn’t see how the overhead valves were lubricated,” Mr. Springston says. The owner’s manual solved the mystery. “Every couple hundred miles,” he says, “the driver is supposed to pull over and give the upper part of the engine a few shots of oil from an oil can that every Chevrolet owner carried.”

Both sides of the engine hood are pierced with 20 louvers in order to give the heat produced by the engine a place to escape. The “Winged Wheel” radiator cap incorporates a Motometer that alerts the observant driver when the engine is overheating.

The two occupants of the car are kept cool by cranking the flat windshield up a couple of inches using the hand crank above the windshield. “It’s my air conditioner,” Mr. Springston says, “and it comes in handy. It really helps.”

The single wiper is vacuum-powered. At the hub of the four-spoke steering wheel the horn button is flanked by two levers, the left one a rudimentary cruise control and the right one to control the distributor advance.

What instrumentation there is is located in the center of the dashboard. The rotary speedometer can register speeds up to 80 mph. “I think that’s there because 80 looked good,” Mr. Springston says. “I’ve had it up to about 40,” he says. That’s plenty fast enough because the Chevrolet is equipped with four-wheel mechanical brakes.

The driver is kept busy double clutching both up and down the three-speed gearbox and wrestling the wooden steering wheel to control the 107-inch wheelbase.

The spare tire nestles between the two parts of the split rear bumper with the single taillight/stoplight/taglight mounted in the center of the spare wheel. The location of the spare tire limits access to the spacious trunk.

“It would be nice to have a rumble seat,” Mr. Springston says, “but a large trunk is nice too.”

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