When Richard Garbus began restoring his latest 1956 Chevy, it had been sitting in pieces in his Niles garage since he bought it in 1985, a week after the devastating tornado that is still etched in everyone's mind.
''It was what we call a basket case,'' Garbus said. ''About 70 percent was there but everything was taken apart."
Garbus is a member of the Mahoning Valley Old Car Club, a local organization with members from several surrounding communities, including Niles, Mineral Ridge, McDonald, Girard, Liberty and Hubbard as well as Mahoning County. Each year, the club holds an annual car show and flea market in Boardman Park where members and other vehicle enthusiasts can display their antique and restored vehicles.
Niles resident Richard Garbus, left, and his friend and neighbor, Mark Hoeck, stand beside a 1956 Chevy two-door sedan Garbus is restoring in his garage. Garbus said the vehicle, purchased a week after the 1985 tornado, was a “basket case,” meaning the car was in pieces when he brought it home. Garbus is a member of the Mahoning Valley Old Car Club. The club will be holding its annual Cars in the Park car show and flea market from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 5 at Boardman Park. Proceeds from this year’s show will benefit Mario Novello, 3, who was born with a rare chromosomal 4 deletion condition.
At the show, first and second place awards will be awarded in 23 classes as well as awards for Participant's Choice, President's Choice and Best of Show trophies in authentic vehicles and modified vehicles. MVOCC member's cars will not be judged and members are not eligible for door prizes.
Although Garbus, a member of the MVOCC since 1984, started restoring the 56 Chevy 4-door sedan last year, he doesn't expect it to be finished in time for the show in August. So far, Garbus said, he and some of his friends who stop by to help out once in a while have logged about 1,000 man hours working on the car.
''First we did the frame and engine, and around November we started the body work,'' Garbus said.
A car enthusiast since he was 13, Garbus said as a teenager he worked on stock cars and would take his Monte Carlo to drag races. The 1956 Chevy is his favorite over the 1955 and 1957 for many reasons, he said.
''I like the styling and the overall looks of the 1956,'' Garbus said.
Garbus said he prefers to use local sources for the restoration parts, particularly Tom's Automotive in Girard and Jerry Deitz Crank-N Sleeve, also in Girard. A lot of the parts for the vehicle also come from Internet and catalog sources all over the United States, Garbus said.
Although his current project won't be ready for this year's show, Garbus said he hopes to have it road-ready by next spring for driving and showing.
Garbus, a Hubbard native, moved to Niles in 1972. He is retired from Packard Electric and is married to Cheryl, who also is a member of the MVOCC. Garbus said his son, Brian, also is a car enthusiast and hopes their grandson, Cooper, enjoys the hobby as well.
''He's going to be the future motorhead,'' Garbus said.
The MVOCC car show will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 5 in Boardman Park. Pre-registration will be accepted to July 31 but also opens at 8 a.m. the day of the show and closes at 1 p.m. Judging will begin at 1 p.m. sharp for all entries. Proceeds will benefit Mario Novello, 3, who was born with a rare chromosomal 4 deletion condition.
For information and a complete list of classes, awards and rules, visit the website at www.MVOCC.com or call 330-518-9338.