Reunited 23 years later
It broke Zina Donoho-King’s heart when she had to sell her 1956 Chevy 24 years ago. Every time she heard of a ’56 for sale, she had to check it out, hoping just to see her car again. She never expected to be able to buy it back.
“I just wanted to see it again, to know some one took care of it like I would have,” she said.
Then, last August, she was scanning Craigslist.org for parts to another car the family has when she saw a 1956 Chevy Bel Air for sale – a turquoise and white four-door hardtop just like the one she sold so long ago.
But she said the shocker was when she looked at the interior view online and saw the scene of Mt. Shasta on the glove box door – hand painted by her aunt some 30 years earlier.
“I went running out to (her husband) Brad yelling, ‘I found my car, I found my car,'” she said.
It turned out the car was in Washoe Valley, just 16 miles from her south Carson City home, and had been there since 1987 when the owner purchased it from the man she sold it to.
She said she cried when she saw the car and the painting that confirmed it was indeed the same car. She paid $7,000 in $100 bills to get it back.
Because the car sat in that Washoe Valley yard for so many years, it shows just 66,464 miles on the odometer.
Her husband, Brad, who described himself as “her one-man pit crew,” said the car was in excellent condition considering it hadn’t been driven for more than seven years because of the owner’s health problems.
He said the gas in the tank and carburetor had turned to varnish. But after he cleaned the carburetor, cleaned the tank and changed all the fluids – all it took was a tune-up to get it started.
“It was running after the first week we had it. It started right up,” Brad said.
Shortly after buying the car, King said she made another discovery in an old box of magazines: The car’s original blue license plates, which DMV officials were happy to reinstate for her.
Since then, she said she has rejoined Karson Kruzers and driven the car in events including the Nevada Day parade.
The Kings will enter the car in this year’s 25th anniversary parade and Saturday’s Show ‘n’ Shine at Fuji Park.
King said she fell in love with the car when her uncle Bill put it up for sale in 1980.
“I worked three jobs to pay for it,” she said. “When I had that car I thought I was the coolest chick in Carson City.”
She said she loved pulling into gas stations and waiting for the attendant to ask where the gas cap was. For those not familiar with the 1956 Bel Air, it’s hidden behind the driver’s side tail light.
In the intervening years, she said very little had been done to the car. Everything still was original. But, King said, the car does need some work.
“There’s some rust and restoring it is going to take some money and time,” she said.
But not immediately.
“For a year, I’ll just enjoy the hell out of it,” she said.
June 26 at Bodines
6-9 p.m. Registration
7-11 p.m. Dance with McClain’s Mobile Music
June 27 at Fuji Park
7-10 a.m. Registration continues
7:30-9:30 a.m.- Breakfast
11-3 p.m.- Judging
1:30 p.m.- Adult games
11-3 p.m. Bounce castle and clowns
3:30 p.m. – Dinner
6:30 p.m.- Car parade starts at Office Depot and goes down Carson St.
7-11 p.m.- Street dance at the Carson Nugget with live music from the Road Daddies and McClain’s Mobile Music
June 28 at Fuji Park
8:30 a.m.- Poker run
Noon – Awards Ceremony