In his first 20 years of marriage, Fred Bibler understood how his wife, Patricia Bibler viewed cars. She sees cars, Bibler said, as washing machines on wheels.
So as they were heading toward their 20th anniversary of the day they were married in 1963, Bibler had little inkling the type of gift his wife had planned for him.
Before they were married, Bibler had a Chevrolet convertible that he sold.
“She knew I was very upset selling the convertible,” Bibler said. “She knew I loved the ’55 Chevy.”
That bit of history prompted Patricia to search classified advertisements in the newspaper. She eventually found the car she felt her husband would like and told him about it over dinner. The car was in Bates City, Mo.
“I was shocked,” Bibler said. “I was very surprised she took the time to look for it and find it and offer it to me. She looked at about 20 different cars that she thought I might be interested in.”
Bibler called the ’55 Chevy a “barn find.”
“Numerous mice had lived in the interior,” he said. “The whole interior needed to be removed. I did that.
“She gave it to me so I would have something to do and work on at home and stay out of trouble.”
And that is what Bibler, of Blue Springs, has been doing the last 32 years to turn what he calls a barn-find ’55 Chevy to one worthy of taking to car cruises and car shows. He goes to two or three cruises a week during the summer months.
His 1955 Chevrolet 2-door sedan has the classic look of cars driven in an era before rock and roll took complete hold in the U.S. Bibler even bought an original-style hood ornament that is exactly like the one that was once on the car.
The hood ornament is just one feature that separates cars from that era to now.
“They don’t put hood ornaments like this on cars now because at some point it was determined to be a safety hazard because if somebody bumped into it, it could cause a puncture,” Bibler said.
In refurbishing his ’55 Chevy, Bibler made sure to keep the car as original as when it came out of the factory.
“This is still a six-cylinder with an original motor, original transmission, original rear end,” he said. “The motor has been replaced. The transmission has been rebuilt and numerous chrome has been replaced on it.
“I’ve done a lot as far as purchasing pieces and parts to go on the car and installed them because they needed to be replaced. To make it look like it does today, it has taken me 32 years.”
For Bibler, it has meant a lot of work and a lot fun.
“I really enjoy it,” Bibler said. “You are never done with it. There is always something to do on it. She did well.”
Do you have a car, truck or motorcycle or other vehicle you would like see featured in Make It Yours? If you do, email your idea to David Boyce at Drive@kcstar.com