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Frank Thompson collects Chevrolets
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

 By Tom Strongman

Check out Tom Strongman's new book, "Wheels of Dreams" Vintage Cars and the People Who Love Them

Not only is this collection of beautifully-illustrated true stories perfect for car lovers, it is charming enough to captivate even the reader who never before understood the mystique of vintage automobiles.

Frank Thompson has a fondness for all Chevrolets, and he has an impressive collection of them. In addition to absolutely pristine models from 1952, 1955, 1956 and 1957, he still has his dads 1951 four-door, and it is completely original. He also has a 1938 Chevy and a couple of Model A Fords, plus he is in the process of renovating a 1958 Impala hardtop.

Thompson, an Overland Park Jeep dealer, drove Chevys as a teenager, and one of his first jobs in the automotive business was in the parts department of a Chevrolet dealer. He later worked for a Pontiac dealer who taught him all phases of the business. He bought his first dealership in 1981.

Thompson is a perfectionist and the vehicles in his collection are stunning.

He said that four people at his dealership work to restore his cars to like-new condition, and their restorations are a work of art. Thompson said he enjoys helping them decipher the shop manuals for the older cars.

Each of Thompsons cars has a story, and he keeps records of their history. He is often the second or third owner. He found the 1955 Bel Air through a friend at his church, for example. He sold a 1952 coupe, but when its buyer passed away, his wife called Thompson to offer it back. He brought it back to his collection and refurbished the engine compartment. It looks brand new.

Its hard to single out one car from Thompsons collection, but his bright red 57 Bel Air hardtop is one of the nicest youll ever see. He found this one in Texas, and it was exactly what he was looking for. Every detail is perfect, just like the day it rolled from the assembly line. The 270-horse, 283-cubic-inch V-8 has two four-barrel carburetors. He sold his other 57 to make room for this one.

Thompson also collects pedal cars and various automotive memorabilia. He has numerous signs, models, gas pump globes and even a Whizzer motorbike. If it has wheels, or is related to vehicles with wheels, Thompson loves it.

To get in touch with Tom Strongman, send e-mail to

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