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A Texas Rose with a Few Thorns

Steve Kirkton of Copper Canyon, TX is the latest owner of this Greenbrier. He and his friend Scott Netherton purchased it from Jeff Cohen of Dallas, TX in February, 2005. Steve quickly took such a liking to the van that he bought out Scott's interest shortly thereafter.

Jeff had the following to say about the rig in 2003:

"It was originally sold to Davila Electric of Irving, Texas. I bought it from a junkyard in Sanger, Texas, and do not know how long it had been there. It was very beat up, and looked as though it had been used by a hunter to blaze trails in the pursuit of prey.

I call it Thorn, because it has been such a difficult undertaking for me to just get this far in four years. Once it is together and running my feelings may change and I may then give it a better name. Had I known how difficult a restoration, or rebuild, is/could be, I would have just paid someone to do it.

However, it has been a good venue for male bonding and I feel my son has gotten something positive from his experiences so far. He has decided he wants a 1937 Chevy pickup for his first vehicle and his first redo. Heaven help us in that effort!"

Scott told me in June, 2005 that he and Steve decided to rename the van "J.C." in honor of all the careful prep work that Jeff did on the project prior to selling it. Scott said that Jeff "powder-coated everything possible—even the seat tracks."

Scott sent some pictures in March, 2006:

The fellows in the photo above are (L-R): Steve Kirkton, Jeff Cohen, and Bill Wells.

In early May 2006, Steve sent some more photos of the van in its nearly-finished state:

Steve commented:

"Since the pictures I have added original-style chrome Chevy hub caps to go with the beauty rings. Right now I'm working on the headliner. The original outside mirrors need to be mounted, etc. I'll be mounting the original oil bath air cleaner soon. I also plan to install a front anti-sway bar. Carpet and sun visors are yet to be completed—I'm looking to have dark green carpet made and sun visors to match the seat vinyl. The best news is the van moved out for the pictures under its own power!"

In July, 2006 I got to admire the van at the 2006 CORSA international convention in Buffalo, NY. I took the following photos on the concours field:

The van scored a very high 97.14 points and easily made it into the Senior Division. Congratulations, Steve!

At the 2007 CORSA convention, I saw Steve and Scott. Scott related a great story about the dealer emblem on the rear of the van:

"As Jeff mentioned above, the van was originally purchased by Davilla Electric. The selling dealer was Friendly Chevrolet. The paperwork in the glovebox told us this. Friendly Chevrolet is still in operation in Dallas, TX. But, when Steve contacted them, they were unable (or unwilling) to find paperwork from 42 years ago.

Jeff also explained above that he purchased the van from a wrecking yard in Sanger, TX many years ago. I was driving by that wrecking yard one day during the week and had some extra time. After walking around for an hour or so, I spotted a 'Friendly Chevrolet' tag on a 1964 Corvair Monza coupe. Using my car key, I carefully pried the emblem off the car with no damage to either. When I exited through the main building, I put the emblem on the counter and asked the gentleman 'How much?'. He took the emblem and told me that these were not for sale. They had a man who collected these and he would not sell them to anybody else. Damn.

I explained that the emblem was going on a 1965 Corvair van that indeed came from his wrecking yard. I noticed he had his computer online and asked him if he would pull up a webpage. The webpage was this one. After he read the page and looked at the photos, he said he remembered the van. At that point, he slid the emblem back across the counter and said it belonged on the van. Again, I asked him how much, and he refused any money. I thanked him several times and left before he could change his mind.

Steve had the emblem professionally restored. Some pitting had occurred over the last forty or so years. It now makes a great addition to the van."

What a cool addition, indeed! Click on the picture below to see a close-up of the emblem.

 

Steve also reported that the van scored 97.97 points in the concours, which is a pretty good increase especially after driving it 1200 miles to Detroit!

Information from the data plate

Trim code

Description

Paint code

Description

Delivery Date

Description

STD

Standard equipment

5505AA

Dark Green, solid color

None

N/A

(Click on a heading in the table for more information on that item.)

The information on the data plate was mostly destroyed by sandblasting but Steve was able to lift the trim and paint codes with some detective work. Also, there is a delivery date of 12/9/1964 in the owner's manual.

 

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