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Coming out of hibernation -- ready for the streets

Managing editor

The calendar says it’s spring and warm weather will be here to stay in the coming weeks. So car enthusiasts are thinking about dusting off their rides and getting them ready to hit the streets.

David Silhan of Marion bought his own classic car in 1982 — a 1963 Chevy II Nova — and built it nearly from the ground up.

“I bought the body and frame,” he said.

Silhan had always liked the classic, box-style of that model and 1963 was the year he was born — a natural fit.

It took Silhan five years to finish the car — he bought the interior, built the motor and transmission, and installed the wiring and interior. A difference between this car and a car built with stock parts is the car has high-performance parts.

“It’s street legal but just goes faster,” Silhan said. “There’s more compression and a bigger cam.”

It has a V-8 turbo 350, 3-speed automatic transmission with a board 350 motor. It does a quarter-mile in 11.5 seconds, traveling 120 to 125 mph.

Built for speed, the car only has two front bucket seats and a roll cage — there is no backseat.

“It takes quite a bit of maintenance,” Silhan said. “I have to keep everything tuned up since it’s a high-performance motor.”

David and Cheryl Silhan’s two sons — Jeff, 18, and Justin, 15 — are definitely chips off the old block.

“My two boys have helped me keep it up,” Silhan said. “They enjoy helping and are interested in cars.”

The car is maroon, or officially “autumn maple,” and is only on Marion streets in spring and summer. It is loved by the family and has been a part of numerous outings with more than 80,000 miles on its odometer.

The Silhans store the beauty during the winter months — only after draining the fuel and checking the antifreeze and oil. The car is placed on jack stands to preserve wear on the tires.

In the coming weeks, Silhan and his sons will pull the car from hibernation and prepare it for use.

This season, the car will need a new fuel pump before it hits the road.

The motor will be cleaned and thoroughly checked before it’s started. A lot of elbow grease will remove the winter’s wrath.

“We’ll make it shine,” he said.

And when it hits the streets, it will catch the eye of other classic car lovers.

Last modified March 31, 2011

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