Dude, where's my car? Ontario man desperate to buy back Chevy sold during sudden illness
Greg Henderson of Tobermory, Ont., bought his dream car — a red and white 1955 Chevrolet 210 — for $8,500 in 2007. That first summer, he clocked 5,000 km.
"Most people that have those kind of cars only drive them a couple hundred kilometres a year going to car shows," said Henderson, 39. "I literally would drive it every day I could."
In 2015, Henderson needed some fast cash to pay his mortage after a sudden illness landed him in hospital for two months and he was unable to work. He made rushed decision he regrets to this day — he sold the car he had poured $15,000 into for a meagre $5,500.
Now, he wants the Chevy back.
"I've said to many people since then I should have sold the house," said Henderson, who today works as an electrical lineman. "You can't drive a house. But you can live in a car."
Henderson sold his car in Bayfield, Ont., where he had been storing it at his parents' farm. The car is distinct because the front bench seat had been replaced with bucket seats from a 1965 Corvette.
Had Henderson not lost all the paperwork from the car sale in a move, tracking down the current owners might be easy.
"Other than photos, I have no records of who I sold it to or any of that stuff," he said.
But he's certainly been looking.
"I've been looking on Kijiji, I've been looking on Facebook Marketplace, checking online ads, going to car shows in the area," said Henderson.
As soon as you get behind the wheel, in five minutes you've got a smile on your face and that's what these cars do." - Andrew Sommers, Antique Automotive Club of American - Ontario Region
Henderson's love affair with the 1955 Chevy 210 began with his first viewing of the 1973 film, American Graffiti. The movie culminates with a drag race between a yellow 1932 Deuce Coupe and a black 1955 Chevy, driven by the character Bob Falfa and played by Harrison Ford.
"So '55 is the first year of what they call the Tri Five Chevys — 55, 56 and 57," said Andrew Sommers, the president of the Antique Automotive Club of America - Ontario Region.
"Of course the 57 BelAir is the crème de la crème, but the 55 is where it all started off," he said. The mid-century series of cars featured an all-new design with a revamped engine.
"Hundreds of thousands of them were built," said Sommers, who together with his wife currently owns three Thunderbirds (the 1957, 1968 and 2005 models), a 1972 GMC Custom 1500, a 1970 Mustang, and a 1980 Mercedes 450 SL.
Sommers understands what it's like to be enamoured of an antique car.
"You can have the worst day possible but as soon as you get behind the wheel, in five minutes you've got a smile on your face and that's what these cars do," he said. His advice to Henderson on his mission to track down the car?
"Don't give up."
Although Henderson doesn't recall who purchased his car he remembers it was a father who had hoped to work on it with his son.
And if he's still enjoying that car today: that's good. But that's not always the case, said Henderson.
"I'm just checking because people sell their cars and I would hate to know that it went up for sale or somebody's not enjoying it or not using it and I could get it back," he said.