Changing from the 1956 License Plates back to the original 1931 plates.  Bob holds up the original plates from all of the other years.

Puget Sound Region VCCA

1931 Five Window Sport Coupe

On the road for the first time since 1956

By Bill Barker

Issaquah, WA
Aug 28, 2000

A friend in our club, Bill Dudley, owned this car but never drove it.  It wasn't until after he passed away in 1991 that his wife told me the whole story.  His mother originally bought the car new in 1931.  She drove it in the Seattle area until her death in 1956.  At that time, Bill took his mother's car and parked it in the garage with 58,600 miles on it.  It was never started again until I did it last week, in August 2000.


Actually someone else acquired it first from Bill's widow and he immediately pulled the engine out of it and started on a rebuild.  Then after 8 years he gave up and called me one day.  Left the message on my phone and told me to come get it "or else".  With only minor haggling, I purchased it.  Then I spent the next year working on all of the engine and slowly reassembling it.  One year to the week after I bought it, I started it up.  It purred like a kitten.

The following week, I drove it (with 3 miles on the new engine) to our club meeting at the Triple X Root Beer Drive-In Restaurant in Issaquah, Washington.   It arrived with 23 miles on the engine.  While I was there, I "formally" changed the license plate from the 1956 plate back to a 1931 plate.

But wait!   It wasn't just any old 1931 plate.  You see, when I went to pick up the car, the second owner told me that an old cardboard box in the corner of the garage contained every plate that had ever been licensed on this car, including the very first plates from 1931.  Sure enough, every year was there with both front and rear plates!!

sticker1948.jpg (33339 bytes)     sticker1952.jpg (42077 bytes)    license1956.jpg (75259 bytes) <click on images to enlarge>

Now, in Washington state, they didn't issue metal license plates in 1948 or 1952.  They issued window stickers.  So guess what's on my windshield.  Yep, you guessed it, both of these original stickers.   So this car is a walking, er... running, piece of history.  And that's the way that I intend to keep it.  Preserved, with all of it's flaws, caked mud, and grease, as a reminder of days gone by when a 1931 Chevrolet was used for good, dependable transportation... you know, back around 1956!! 


Licensed every year from 1931 until 1956.   Then re-licensed back to the original 1931 plates again in 2000.  What goes around, comes around...  if you're lucky!

More pictures from last year before it was back on the road.

Bill Barker, Bellevue, Washington, USA
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