“The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air was my Grandfather's dream car, he was fortunate enough to find one on a trip to Florida in 1987. He was passing by a Pool Hall just outside of Tampa and saw it parked outside with a ‘For Sale’ sign on the windshield. He turned back, found the owner, made an offer and the rest as they say was history,” said Anthony Echenique, whose love of classic cars made him start off the recently formed Cayman Islands Classics and Hot Rods Club.
“When he bought the car it was still on great condition but there were some things that needed a little brightening and tightening. In 1992 Jim and Tim Pontiff of Pontiff Bros. Showcars in Louisiana came to the island to visit Ronnie Foster as they had restored his 1957 Ford Thunderbird. Mr. Ronnie knew my grandfather was interested in getting some work done to the Bel Air so he made the introduction.
“The car was shipped off to Louisiana on July 1992 and underwent a full “chassis – off” restoration. The car was completely taken apart and put back together without replacing anything, all the original parts taken off, repainted, refreshed and placed back on. Even the engine: The block is the same 283 small block chevy that the car had when it came out of the factory, back in 1957.
“The car was painted in the same color that it was originally painted with. I later found out that they produced a limited number of Bel Airs in that color "Canyon Coral" which included the 2 door Sedan, 4 door Sedan, and 2 door convertible.
Growing up i was very close to my Grandfather and still am today, I also fell in love with the Bel Air and that became another bond that he and I shared. To me the Bel Air is more than a car, it's memories; ones that i had when I was a child and ones that I'll create with my family. It's a bond between a Grandfather and Grandson, it's a piece of my heart, and it's an heirloom that has been passed to me and one day will be passed to one of my sons.