The purpose of this Blog

This blog is to detail my 43 years (1973 - 2016) with a 1928 Chevrolet tourer, affectionately called "The Red Chev".

The acquisition, restoration, improvements and my experiences over the years are covered in as much detail as I can remember.

Some of the later postings include car club outings and other vintage car items that I hope will be of interest to people.

If you have the time, scroll back to where it all began in 1973 and follow the journey so far.

Thanks for dropping by.

Regards Ray Dean

See my new section "The Red Chev - Repairs, Improvements, Maintenance and Technical Details" located on the left hand side of the screen.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Seven Weddings

Over the years I have been happy to do weddings. Apart from 3 paying jobs, they were all family or friends, which I enjoyed a lot more than strangers. The 3 non family or friend weddings came about in the strangest way. The Chev has been involved in 7 weddings and 6 are covered in this posting. The 7th was the wedding of Melanie (my daughter) and Justin, and is covered in " 2007, one of the most important years for the Chev and I"

Wedding no 1 (Approx 1979)
My first wedding was for Rick (a guy that I worked with at Novalit in Cheltenham) and Margaret. Being the first time the Chev had a ribbon on its bonnet for a friend, it was a special occasion for both the car and its owner. I picked up the bride to be  and her father from some where in the Chelsea area and we motored to a nearby church. Little did I know that a rumbling, grinding noise from under the car, would manifest its self in a year or so as a very difficult problem to overcome.

Anyway, apart from the noise, which was coming and going, the trip to the church went well, and then we drove to the reception at the Sandringham Football Ground, via a photo session at a local park.

Wedding no 2 (Approx 1987)
I received a call one day from someone who had been given my name by a friend, and asked me to use the Chev as a bridal car to take both her and her father to the church. She never told me who passed on my name, and after her father paid the money, cant remember how much, I didn't bother to ask her again.

The deal was I picked her up from somewhere in Boronia, accompanied by her father, and drive to the church in Underwood Road near the Toyota dealer in Fern Tree Gully.

There was no crowd outside to greet us, and I was not required to wait and take the Bride and Groom anywhere else.

I watched the Bride and her Father walk into the church, the only indication that a ceremony was to take place???

In hindsight I  think the trip in the Chev was a gesture to her elderly father, who I remember was more nervous then his daughter.

Strange, very strange you may say, but I was paid, so I drove home packed up the ribbon and that was that.

Wedding no 3 (Approx 1989)
It was a Saturday, and the wedding was over the other side of town, Essendon or some where over that way. I won't even try to tell you about the wedding, but lets just say that Vintage cars and a traditional Lebanese wedding don't really go together. But hey, I made $100 bucks for day and got a free feed out of it. Time to leave as the boys outside were getting a little bit out of hand, and they were too close to the car for my liking

Wedding no  4 (1992)

Preparations - Or how I broke my thumb in 3 places and nearly got shot by the police on the same night
The occasion was the upcoming wedding for Franca and Nigel, who both worked with me at Stem Industries.

I had embarked upon a mini restoration on the brake rods and linkages, prompted by the upcoming event, and I made good use of the after hours access to the workshop at Stem. In fact you could say on one Friday night I pushed my luck a bit too far, in possibly two directions.

The first thing happened when I was cleaning up the rear axle brake rods that operated the internal hand brake linings. As I recall the rods were not polished up enough for my satisfaction,  so I thought I would spin them in the lathe while holding a piece of emery cloth against the rod.

The lesson I learned was when you are spinning a shaft on a lathe whilst holding emery cloth against it, you never hold both ends of the emery strip between the same fingers as the emery can grip and drag your fingers in under the spinning shaft, which it did, OUCH.

Not realizing the extent of my injury, which the Doctor confirmed 2 days later as three breaks in my thumb, between the tip and the first knuckle, I kept working for several hours, wondering why my hand was tingling and turning red and blue.

Any way, job done, its midnight, time to pack up and go home. Seemed like a good idea, except for one little thing.

I was busy loading all my tools into the open boot of my car, and like many times before the Security Service would drive in through the open gates, recognize my car, a flash of the headlights and then take off. Seems very simple, don't you think.

There was one little difference that Friday night, and it went like this. Ray is loading tools into the boot of his car around midnight, car pulls into driveway, flashes headlights, Ray waves, and Blue lights flash on for about 5 seconds.

Now Ray is a pretty smart fella, so he realizes its a Police car, not the security service. Ray waves again, blue lights on again with flashing headlights this time. Obviously he was trying to get my attention. Thinking I had nothing to hid as I was a Manager of this company, in a company car, with company keys, and authorised to be on site after hours.

Whats the sensible thing to do? Simple, walk the 50 metres to the Police car and reassure the constable that I am a law biding citizen, who appreciates him taking the time to drive through the open gate and check out a person loading tools into a car boot.

The policeman was so impressed by my greeting, all he could say was "If you ever walk up to a police car like that again with a weapon in your hand, you will be shot"

Now he has my 100% attention.

The whole time he was talking from inside the car, he was in darkness, with only his hands visible.

The next 10 minutes were spent on small talk.

Who are you?
Where do you live?
What are you doing here?
Tell me your rego number?
Hand me your licence.

All ended well. He advised me in future to have the gates locked if I was working after hours in the dark. This was a practise I religiously followed from then on.

While driving home, I had this thought that my throbbing finger may be dislocated, so what do you do when your driving, simple, you pull very hard on your possibly dislocated thumb to put it back into place.

WRONG, the lights start to go out, the radio goes blurry, and Ray feels very sick, and the oncoming cars start to move from side to side.

Hm, not dislocated after all.

The next month or so spent preparing the car for the wedding with a broken thumb was certainly a challenge, but I got there in the end.

Basic things like hammering, screwing, using pliers etc, all were very difficult.

The WeddingI picked up Franca on a Saturday morning from her parents house in Scoresby, and we then proceeded to St Joesphs Church in Boronia. I can't remember much about the day. The ceremony and reception both went well, and a good time was had by all.

The Chev parked outside the church

Wedding no 5 (Approx 1998)
Driving home one night from Oxford Medical, where I was working at the time, I noticed there was a lady in a Volvo following me.

What had I done to upset the driver who followed me from Bayswater, through Boronia into the Basin, into my street and parked out the front as I pulled up in the driveway.

Before I could even ask the what was going on, she said I want your car for my wedding in 3 months, how much will you charge.

Not really wanting to do a wedding at that particular time of my life, as I was still establishing myself in a new job, I asked for double what it was worth, hoping it would scare her off.

To my surprise she said ok, opened up her purse, gave me the money in cash, got my phone number, said she would call me in a few weeks, hopped into the Volvo and drove off.

Well, she did ring me, the wedding went ahead. I suspect it was another gesture from a daughter to her father, as again they were the only people that rode in the car to the church.

The journey involved picking up the bride and her father in Mooroolbark, and taking an exceptionally long route to the church in Lilydale, under instructions from her father, who had a 28 Chev in his younger days.

Again there was no requirement for the Chev to participate in any activities other than a conveyance from home to the church, no crowds, no photos.

Who am I to wonder and come up with an explanation, I took the money, did the job, and that was that.

Another Wedding, number 6, will take place in 9 years that will change the Chev for ever more, but more about that later.

Wedding no 7 (December 2007)
This was the wedding of Gary (my nephew) and Alex. They could not have chosen a better day, but it was a bit hot.

The ceremony took place in a park in Vermont,  near where Gary's parents Colin and Leanne were living  at the time.

I picked up Alex from Gary's parents house and travelled the short distance to the park.

The Chev then watched the proceedings from the street and then welcomed the happy couple back into the car for the trip to another park for a photo session, followed by transporting the newly weds to Gary's parents house for the celebrations that continued well into the night.

Always a bit special when you do such an event for family.

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