The Tale of Two Beasts

Contributed by Ecklers, photos by Colin Date

Owner: Hilbert Osborne, Orlando


This 1955 Chevy Two-Ten went from Power Tour cruiser to Pro Street monster

Ecklers 55 Drag Pic 2

I remember it like it was yesterday, a cool crisp Wisconsin Saturday morning in the summer of 1983. A call came from my friend Johnny, he said, “Come over and check out my new toy, you’re gonna wanna go for a ride”. I loaded up and headed over to his shop. When I got there, he was standing in the driveway in front of a closed shop door to keep me from seeing what he bought. He greeted me with a smile on his face and told me to wait there and he would start it and pull it out. Curiosity was getting the best of me – what could he have bought that is worthy of all this, I thought? He went in with a mischievous giggle as I eagerly waited outside, then he started it, and the beautiful whine of a blower bled through the garage door. As the door opened, Ecklers 55 Drag Pic 3he revved the motor and pulled out a gunmetal gray 1955 Chevy Two-Ten with a blown 402 big-block and a 4-speed. It was beautiful! He motioned me to get in and took me for a ride that I will never forget. Standing on the throttle in 3rd gear at 55 miles per hour and spinning the tires like we were on water was incredible. After watching the movie “The Hollywood Knights” 500 times, the thought of owning a blown big-block 4-speed shoebox Chevy was a dream – a dream that Johnny had just fulfilled for himself.

We spent that summer detailing and driving that car every chance we had. We were the coolest kids in town! But as life changes, it would direct me to Orlando and my time for cruising in the car was done (with the exception of the return trips back home on vacation). Johnny would send me videos and pics often, and I missed that car like crazy. Not so much for what it was but more for the memories of a great friendship.

Then the call of a lifetime came, Johnny wanted a boat and asked if I was interested in buying the car! I couldn’t say yes fast enough. I sent him the money the same day and we worked out getting it to Florida. I worked on the car for years and loved it, but was fast learning that there was a great deal of time and money in old cars, neither of which I had at the time. I decided to put the car up for sale. My first call was back to Johnny, but he was into other things and wasn’t interested in buying it back. I decided that I was going to try to sell it at the Daytona Turkey Run. Well no surprise, it sold the first day to a dealer out of the Tennessee area. He was a nice guy that just wanted to put it in his showroom for advertising.Ecklers 55 Drag Pic 5

I woke up the next day, second guessing my decision to get rid of the car. Although the money looked good in the bank, there was a strange void that I felt. Each day that went by, it became worse. I kept walking around telling myself that I should have kept it. I’m sure most people say that, but I was bound and determined to do something about it. Eight months after selling the Two-Ten, I picked up the phone and contacted the gentleman that bought it from me. I asked if he remembered me and if he still had the car. He said he remembered me and was in his office staring at it in the showroom as we spoke. I told him how I felt something was missing in my life, then I asked if he would be willing to sell it back to me. I sat down while the gentleman hemmed and hawed for what felt like eternity, and then he put me on hold. I am sure at this point he was pulling the file on the car to see what he paid and how much he could mark it up. After all, he had me on the hook for sentimental reasons. Then he picks the phone back up and tells me a story of a car that he and his buddy had and proceeds to ask me what he paid me for my car! I mentioned the price and he said to give him what he paid me and come pick it up. I was shocked! I left the next day for Tennessee.

Ecklers 55 Drag Pic 4After getting the car back home, I put together every dollar I had and with the help of Gene and Keith Showers (and other friends from the Chevy Shop), we got to work. Over time, we put in a small-block with a 5-speed, air conditioning, had it painted black, had the interior done, upgraded to disc brakes, and did 10 Hot Rod Power Tours. It was awesome! But then I decided I needed something more.

I have always had a fascination for Pro Street cars, and when I met my friends that had them, it drove me to build one! So with the help of the guys from Outlaw Garage Orlando, I had a 540 built from Dave Hartman at Hartbeat Racing, bought a Blower Shop 871, had the car back-halved by Dave Curtis of Ultimate Motorsports, and had Jose from Word of Mouth Auto Body repaint it to what you see today.

I’m happy I got to spend the years doing the Power Tour with friends and my daughter Erica, but I’m also happy to have a car I have always wanted. Life has been good and has enabled me to have a few old cars, so now I have the best of both worlds; Power Tours with my family and friends from the Chevy Shop, and Pro Street events with my Outlaw Garage friends. Life is good!

Ecklers 55 Drag Pic 1

 

Author: Tara

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