One of the last ‘fin’ cars

Published 6:26 pm Friday, February 2, 2024

David Walter of Troy has had a passion for cars since he was in 10th grade. He began collecting, building and showing vintage vehicles a year later.

His dad, the late Ed Walter, noted Troy University professor and highly acclaimed glass artist, shared his passion for vintage automobiles.

“Fifty years and I’m still enjoying the hobby,” Walter said. “I can’t explain my fascination with cars, especially old cars that are on their last wheels. But, because my dad shared the passion with me, it was even more enjoyable.”

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At this time, Walter has eight vintage cars, most of them don’t run and he is okay with that, “for now.”

However, there was one car among the eight, that Walter wanted to hear running once again and back on the road.

Once the1961 Chrysler Newport was cleaned up after a long sleep, it would be road-ready.

But that was not a project for Walter. He needed someone who could get the car cleaned up and back on the road.

Walter realized that finding someone with the skills needed to do the job wouldn’t be easy.

Through his web search, Walter found just what he was looking for and hoping to find.

In Tennessee, he found “What the Rust,” Richard Bonazzoli and Christina’s traveling business that would, not only get his 1961 Chrysler Newport vintage vehicle cleaned, cranked and on the way to the possible realization of whatever hopes and dreams their owners might have.

“What the Rust” offered old car rescues … but old car rescues were more than enough to encourage Walter to contact Bonazzoli.

“Last week, on Wednesday, “What’s the Rust” came to Troy and, right there on Love Street, Bonazzoli and Christina brought new life to Walters’ 1961 Chrysler Newport.

Working in tandem, the couple made the diagnosis that would get Walter’s vintage Chrysler up and running.

For Christina, the diagnosis was visual. The vintage automobile needed a good deep cleaning to remove the sediments of being long stored in the warehouse and a little “polish” was also in order. However, getting the vintage Chrysler running was a much taller order.

After checking under the hood for a variety of potential problems including the alternator and car ignition, repairing and  replacing parts as needed, Bonazzoli gave the signal to crank’er up!

Just like that, the engine turned and there were smiles and high-fives all around.

“She cranked right away and started running,” Walter said. “And she sounded good, I don’t know what I might do. I might sell it…but I don’t have another fine car. So, I might keep the 1961 Chrysler Newport to ride around every now and then. It is one of the last fin cars. It might be hard to let go.”

However, if the opportunity presented itself, Walter might be willing to sell or trade the Plymouth … for an Avanti by Studebaker or a four-passenger sports car…or.”