A Grand Inheritance
Collision repair by day, vehicle restoration by night. That’s been Roger Sack’s routine for more than three decades. He’s always loved tinkering with cars, both as a profession and hobby.
Sack says he’s loved his 35-year career as a body shop manager, now with United Quality Collision in Aurora, Colo. But his true passion is the work he does after business hours—the 30-plus classic cars he’s restored in his backyard.
“I like to paint, and I like making stuff look nice,” he says.
And he’s done it all, everything from an old Snapper Comet riding lawn mower based on the Forrest Gump movie to a 1958 Volkswagen. They’ve all been fun, he says, but the one that means the most is his 1962 Chevy II.
Sack’s grandmother-in-law bought the Chevy brand new in 1962. She drove it for 20 years before she died. Sack received it as inheritance.
And it was still in great shape: The engine ran well, it had no signs of rust, and the only imperfections were a few dents and dings “where grandma hit the garage a few times,” he says.
Sack had always loved that car, and its solid condition didn’t stop him from making $20,000 worth of upgrades—the first project he started with his son.
Sack installed a Mustang II front-end suspension with a rack and pinion and disc brakes, and a 4.10 Posi rear-end. Then he dropped in a 327ci engine with a two-speed aluminum Powerglide transmission.
“A few buddies of mine built the engine block and heads, and we assembled everything,” Sack says. “I got to show my son how to take the motor in and out, put the heads on and torque them.”
Sack left the car’s original transmission in place, but beefed it up with a shift kit. He also installed a new radiator and cooling fan built by a friend who owns a local radiator shop.
Then came the interior. Sack replaced the old vinyl headliner with a handmade tweed headliner, which matched the new gray-colored tweed seats. Then he added blue insets in each door panel that run front to back across both sides. He also replaced all of the interior trim, and painted the dash in gray to offset the blue-colored exterior.
Sack estimates the car is worth roughly $30,000 after all the upgrades, but he doesn’t plan to shop it around. It’s his fun cruiser around town, his favorite ride to display at 10 annual car shows, and a memory of his first father-son project.
“It’s definitely got sentimental value. It’s been in the family for a lifetime, and we will keep it that way,” Sack says. “It’s not going anywhere.”
Sack says the Chevy was one of the latest projects he’s completed, and jokes that there may not be many more because his “knees aren’t in the shape they used to be.” But he’s still finding ways to continue his passion for restorations. His next project? An antique Radio Flyer wagon for his newborn granddaughter.