Over the next three years, Russ was a great source of information for Art, Jim Sterritt, and Art Bates as they put all the pieces back together. The restoration was just that, a restoration. Under the circumstances, Art didn't have much choice but to bring the truck back to its showroom condition, so there aren't any deviations from the way it was when Chevrolet shipped the '54 out West. The original transmission was rebuilt by Howard's Klein Works in Santa Maria, California, just down the 101 freeway from Art's home in the Central Coast town of Nipomo. The Chevy's stock underpinning was freshened up by Art and company. Les Levey of Levey's Top Shop stitched up the bare-bones stock interior and hung the replacement cardboard-type pieces, while Corky Dahle at National Auto Glass swapped out the shabby time-fogged glass for nice, clear stuff, including the first-year wraparound front windshield. Art Bates was responsible for Old Blue's new coat of blue thanks to a custom mix of DuPont paints he whipped up after finishing the bodywork on the acres of sheetmetal that come with a panel truck. Amidst all the commotion, one of the factory optional fender moldings was tossed since it seemed too mangled to use, but that was before they knew how rare they were, so they are still on the same hunt, as are many of you out there, for this elusive piece of brightwork. Speaking of rare parts, another item the '54 was equipped with is a factory radio; love hearing those tubes warming up. An appropriate set of 6.00-16 Firestone whitewalls round out the package with their stock steel 16-inch wheels and painted hubcaps.
A fitting end to the beginning was when Russ was in town on a Friday for some dental work in Art's office. Unbeknownst to him, Art had entered the good-as-new Old Blue into a car show in nearby Pismo Beach. Art took him to the show, where Russ and the Chevy were reunited for a nostalgic ride. Russ' initial comment was that the '54 never did look that good! Is that a bad thing?