Dell Chandler's 1960 Pontiac

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A page on Dell's Pontiac from Jerry Drake's photo album. Photo courtesy of Jerry Drake.
A photo of Dell's Pontiac right after Jerry had finished striping it. Photo courtesy of Jerry Drake.
In 2014 Jerry still considered Dell's Pontiac as one of his best creations. Photo courtesy of Jerry Drake.
Jerry did also paint the show sign for Dell's Pontiac. Photo courtesy of Jerry Drake.
Photo courtesy of Jerry Drake.
Photo courtesy of Jerry Drake.

1960 Pontiac Ventura owned by Dell Chandler of Lansing, Michigan. Dell came from a well-to-do family. He attended Sexton High School, and was not a member of any car clubs. In the winter of 1960, Jerry Drake gave Dell's Pontiac a crazy panel scallop paint job. At the time Jerry, who went by Spider, worked with Larry Cooper at Cooper Body Shop. Spider recalls; "I had scalloped Jack Struble's car. It was also a Pontiac. Dell Chandler and Jack were good friends Dell liked my work and he approached me on scalloping his car. There was one problem: He wanted the scallops to be the color of his car, silver. WOW! This was going to be time-consuming and expensive."[1]


"I asked Dell to meet me at Cooper Body Shop and we could have Larry look at the project and then give Dell an estimate on the cost. Larry said he wanted to tackle the job. I don't remember what the cost was but Dell had plenty of money and it was a "Go!" for him."[1]


"We started on the car right after the body shop closed on Friday night for the weekend." While Jerry masked the scallops, Larry did the painting. "We finished the car late Sunday. Because it was winter and the body shop had to be cleaned-up and ready to open Monday, it was decided that I would stripe the car in Dell's garage."[1]


"Now, I had met his girlfriend, Karen Reynols, who was an ex-cheerleader at Sexton. She was drop-dead gorgeous! She looked like present-day, Jennifer Anniston. Dell, himself, was a good-looking guy right out of the pages of Gentleman's Quarterly magazine. No tennis shoes and jeans for this guy. He dressed impecable!"[1]


"When I arrived at Dell's house to start strping his car, I found a 2 1/2 car garage that was immaculate! The floor was all tiled and you could have eaten your breakfast off from it. It also had plenty of light and was heated."[1]


"The house was a large, ranch-style and a basement that was entered through the garage. I had never seen that before. All the time I was striping Dell's car, Karen had a ton of her ex-cheerleading girlfriends stopping by to party, play pool and listen to a juke box full of the top Rock 'n' Roll tunes of the day, in the basement rec room."[1]


"Her girlfriends were every bit as gorgeous as Karen. Of course, to enter the basement they had to come in the front door, enter the kitchen, go into the garage from the kitchen, stop to see what I was doing and chit-chat before entering the basement rec room. I can't tell you how distracted I was. I enjoyed the experience so much that I dragged the striping into two days. It was worth every minute of it."[1]


The panels on Dell's Pontiac was the original color of the car, and Spider remembers that it was a very difficult paint job. The car became a "hit" during cruising in downtown Lansing, and after painting the car, Spider had many people call him to say that it was the best thing he had ever done. Before Jerry and Larry painted Dell's Pontiac, it had been shaved for emblems and some of the trim. Jerry can't remember who did this job, but it could have been Cooper. It had also been fit with a dummy spotlight on the driver side. Jerry has no idea what happened to Dell's Pontiac, like so many of the car he did, it just wasn't around any more one day.[1]


References



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