Local folks help restore
man’s unique ’69 Chevelle
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–With the help of a couple of lake-area car
restorers, a Dallas-area man is completing the restoration of an
extremely rare car – literally one of a kind.
Roger Day bought a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle new Aug. 19, 1969,
trading in a 1966 Chevelle SS. He traded the Chevelle in for a
1970 Camaro RS the next October, but later started looking to
see if he could find that ’69.
Roger Day stands with his one-of-a-kind 1969 Chevelle, now
“My wife (Karen) and I had our first date in that car May 30
(1970), and we were engaged two weeks later,” Day recalled.
During a lengthy career in sales – he currently sells airplane
parts – Day moved to Texas (just north of Dallas) in 1982, but
he still looked for that ’69 Chevelle.
Day’s search started and stopped several times (he once heard
the car had been stripped and crushed), but in August, 2009, he
finally found the ’69 in Chicago, and parked it back in his
Texas driveway Aug. 16, 2009 – almost 40 years to the day after
he bought it the first time.
Unlike most folks, Day kept all the original paperwork,
including the dealer sticker and the original sales contract.
“It was one of those things that wound up in a box,” he said in
a telephone interview Wednesday.
Payne Springs resident James “Buddy” Lumans is also a Chevelle
aficionado, and has spent much of his spare time the last 10
years restoring Chevelles at his shop, Lumans Classic Cars and
Parts, located just off State Highway 198 on Henderson County
At the annual Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Car Show
and Kiwanis Krawfish Boil, Lumans won “Best in Class” the last
two years, showing a 1969 Chevelle two years ago and a 1970
Chevelle last year.
(Lumens won’t have a Chevelle in this year’s show May 7; he’s
working on a ’68 Chevelle convertible for next year.)
Lumans fixes and then sells his cars, and Day spotted Lumans’
Chevelle online. “Later, I found out Buddy restored Chevelles,
and we became friends,” Day said.
“He needed a rear end, and I had one that was the right date and
everything,” Lumans said.
Why is the car considered so rare?
General Motors made a lot of Chevelles, but almost all of them
had 396 cubic inch V-8 motors, Day explained.
Thanks to the efforts of Don Yenko (“he was to GM what Carroll
Shelby was to Ford,” Day explained), die-hard speed fans
discovered GM’s Central Office Production Order (COPO) system.
The COPO system handled all of GM’s “specialty” vehicles, such
as police cars, taxicabs – and factory hot rods, Day explained.
“Normally, the largest engine you could get was a 396, but with
COPO, you could get a 427 crate motor factory-installed,” he
Former race car driver Dick Harrell created his own shop in
Kansas City, Mo., and Day’s ’69 was delivered there for some
final modifications before sale.
“GM created 323 total (COPO Chevelles), and 99 of those were
automatics – the rest were four-speeds,” Day said. “My car was
automatic, so it was one of just 99, and it’s the only one
documented with an original factory 427.”
That’s right – one of a kind, and Day has the paperwork to back
After tracking down parts – including Lumens’ Chevelle rear end
– Day took the car to Premier Body and Paint LC in Buffalo, Mo.,
to start a frame-off restoration (progress photos can be seen on
April 9, Day brought the car to the lake area so he, Lumens and
good friend Lonnie Gaddis (who owns OTR Auto Glass and lives in
the Lively community) could spend a very long day putting glass
in the vehicle.
“We started about 8 a.m. and finished about 9 p.m. putting all
the glass in,” Lumens said. “It was a long day’s work.”
“I’m still trying to get it finished up,” Day said. “I’m still
waiting on a few (interior) parts that are hard to find.”
Day said the restoration will return the Chevelle to as near
original as possible, given that no one can buy original seat
covers or dash covers.
“It’ll be as close as I can get it,” he said. “It will look
exactly like it did the day I bought it.
“It’s a part numbers correct car, and a cast day correct car,”
Day is trying to get the car ready for the annual
“Chevellabration” in Tennessee in June, Lumens said.
“I guarantee (the Chevelle) will make every hot rod and custom
collector magazine,” Lumens said. “People all over the U.S. are
talking to him (Day) daily about it – it’s that rare.
“It’s a piece of history,” he added.
Wildlife management workshop
set May 13
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the
Anderson-Houston Soil and Water Conservation District will
sponsor a workshop on managing small acreages for wildlife
Friday, May 13, at the Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area
north of Palestine on U.S. 287.
The workshop is designed for landowners interested in wildlife
management on properties of 250 acres or less or those who are
interested in wildlife tax evaluations.
The workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $15,
which includes a barbecue lunch.
Space is limited, and payment must be made in advance. RSVP by
mailing a letter with your name, property county, contact
information, email address and $15 per person (check made
payable to Anderson-HoustonSWCD) to Engeling WMA, 16149 N. U.S.
Hwy. 287, Tennessee Colony, TX 75861.
For more information or to register by phone, contact Eric
Woolverton, Tucker Slack or Jennifer Ganter at (903) 928-2251.