Country Cars: Chevy love

THIS is a love story.

It involves a love of old cars, and something else that is a little bit old-fashioned too.

Jono and Krystal Blair have always adored classic cars. And now they have half a dozen or so between them.

Among the Blairs’ collection are a 1955 Chevrolet sedan, a ‘55 Chevy pick-up (bright pink, if you don’t mind), a ‘54 Chevy two-door sedan and a 1950-model Ford Business Coupe. There is also a 1967 Holden HR.

That old Holden was the starting point for Jono: he got it when he was 16 or 17. And Jono would have described himself as a Holden man until he met Krystal at a car club event.

"Friends of the family were all into cars so it really just happened. My brother was also into cars as well," Jono, now 33, explains. "I’ve had the HR Holden for a long time.

"Krystal was also into the car scene. She was a member of the Ballarat Road Rodders. In fact she was the secretary years ago. That’s how we met really.

"We were on a coastal cruise in Geelong. She was there in her ‘55 Chevy pick-up truck. I’d say I noticed them both (the girl and the truck) at the same time. I suppose I had better say that.

"The rest is history. We’ve been together about eight years and married for two."

Krystal was less impressed by Jono’s Holden, it has to be said. When the pair became an item one of her first orders of business was to convert him to her religion - old Chevs.

Jono and Krystal Blair share a love of classic Chevrolets. PICTURE: Justin Whitelock

Jono and Krystal Blair share a love of classic Chevrolets. PICTURE: Justin Whitelock

"I didn’t take any notice of Jono’s Holden at all," Krystals says quite bluntly. "He might have wanted me to like Holdens too but it was never going to happen. But I had no problem converting him to old Chevs."

Krystal’s love of old cars may actually pre-date Jono’s. She says she probably had a spanner in her hand as a toddler.

"I used to play around with cars in the shed with Dad. Restoring old cars is a hobby he has on the side," she recalls.

"I had cars well before I knew Jono. The pick-up was my first build in old cars. I bought the ‘55 pick up myself and Dad and I built it together. It was literally bits and it cost me $900. It didn’t even have a chassis.

"It took us a couple of years because he was working on other stuff as well. My brother painted it and that was my 21st birthday present."

It wasn’t long after Jono met Krystal that he had his first Chevy. It seems it was inevitable.

"She would say she converted me," Jono admits. "It was the creamy-brown ‘55 sedan. She was the driving force behind that one. Her old man eats, drinks and breaths Chevs.

"It was a case of right place, right time, right price. It was a significant amount of money. It was pretty much everything I had at the time."

Jono says it has been a bit of blur since then. The Blairs have accumulated cars, making room for them as they go.

"I felt it was a case of the more the merrier," he said. "My view is, if you have the room, you can have more cars. Now I need more space, though.

"Money-wise, you just make it a priority and you find it. I put money aside for it."

Jono is not a qualified mechanic but he is fortunate enough to work in a business where the demand is not likely to dry up. He is a coffin maker (insert crook pun about people dying to get into his products here).

Fortunately, being in the car scene there are plenty of people who can provide a bit of a hand getting things going, including Krystal’s brother Bayden Roberts who owns a 1930 A-model Ford himself.

"I keep them stock so you can buy all the parts," Jono explains. "Parts are easy for Chevys. It’s probably easier to get parts for American stuff than for the Holdens."

Krystal and Jono are also not the type to lock the cars away. "Pink" still gets plenty of time on the road, while "brown" is Jono’s daily driver. While they love the feeling their classics give them when they drive, it is not without its disadvantages.

"Especially this time of the year. Some of the cars have a heater but some don’t," Jono says.

"The brown doesn’t. I sometimes drive it to Geelong with a blanket on my legs."

• Ballarat Road Rodders meet through the club’s Facebook page.