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Blast from the past Chance purchase returns classic car to its roots

Blast from the past   Chance purchase returns classic car to its roots
Frank Lerma III has restored this 1951 Chevrolet that was bought in San Marcos. It originally belonged to his grandparents, and was his dad’s first car!

It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. It may very well be so, but in this case a car is worth a thousand memories!

While at the Stockdale Watermelon Jubilee, I saw some vintage cars on display. I have always admired vintage anything, but especially cars, because my dad was an auto mechanic for a very long time. This past weekend being Father’s Day weekend, the memories came flooding back.

As I walked around the cars, I saw a custom 1951 Chevrolet Styleline.

A young lady there explained the car belonged to a friend of her husband’s, and she pointed him out to me.

With a big smile on his face, Frank Lerma III told me the story behind “The Car.” He’d completed restoration of another vintage car, he said, and was out looking for something else to work on. His travels took him to San Marcos, where he spotted this vehicle. It had seen better days and some parts were missing. It needed lots of TLC. But there was something about this car that called him to take it home.

He and the owner struck a deal. While in the process of transferring the title, the buyer saw that the previous owner had been none other than his father, Frank Lerma Jr.

He thought back to the stories his father had told him about his first car, and he got goosebumps on his arms. As he told me the story, he was flooded with the same emotions, and he rubbed the goosebumps on his arms again.

It seemed his grandfather, Frank Lerma Sr., and his wife, Amanda, had bought the Chevy Custom brand new in 1951. They owned it until their son, Frank Jr. was 17, when they turned it over to him.

Frank Jr. drove the car for several years and eventually sold it to the man in San Marcos.

And now “The Car” is back home in Stockdale, with the same Lerma family who drove it new from the dealership.

The Chevrolet Custom is now restored and running once again.

And Frank Lerma III has a thousand memories that travel with it.

Retired from the AEP Electric Co. after more than 40 years, Felipe Salazar and his wife, Ana Maria, moved to Floresville in 2006 from the Rio Grande Valley. His passion, photography, combined with his love of baseball, has led to him taking photos at Little League games and other sports and community events, including photos in the La Vernia News. He and his wife attend Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Floresville.

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