For generations, the Dedman family has loved all things related to cars.
Out of everyone in the family, however, Cam Dedman and his grandfather, Fred Lamar, are undoubtedly the biggest car enthusiasts of the bunch.
Grandpa Fred — whom Cam calls “Papa” — has for decades dreamed about finally restoring his old 1957 Chevy Bel Air. But in one way or another over the years, life has intervened. Family emergencies, friends in need, and the general exigencies of life, along with his own kind and generous nature, have kept Fred from being able to bring that car back into working order.
Since Cam loved his grandfather so dearly, he decided, starting in 2016, to work on his old Bel Air and make it beautiful again — just the way he wanted it to be.
In the end, the project took nearly two years to complete, and it all had to be done without Fred’s knowledge. Cam also had to battle a great deal of personal difficulties and roadblocks along the way.
But the manner in which Cam Dedman finally gave his dear grandfather something he had wanted for so many years is absolutely heartwarming.
Restoring the ’57 Bel Air
Fred Lamar originally got his ’57 Bel Air way back in 1958, and he got it in a most unusual way. That year, a client asked Fred to rebuild a transmission for him. After the work was done, the client decided to pay him in kind and gave him a ’57 Chevy Bel Air.
The car swiftly became an integral part of Fred’s family, and it worked like a dream until about 1976. That year, the ravages of time caught up with the car, and it was due for some repairs. So, Fred parked it in the family garage, promising himself that he would restore it one day.
But in 2016, his grandson Cam resolved to change all of that. Slowly, he began fixing up the car. Working as a firefighter, the 26-year-old would save as much of his money as he could and devote it to the project. He would ask to see his grandfather’s old car but wouldn’t reveal much about what he wanted to do.
Then, tragedy struck.
Cam was hit by a reckless driver. He had to have surgery on his back. But despite all of his struggles, he continued working on his grandfather’s car.
He continued saving and continued working. Cam even sold his own car to finance the project. Eventually, he spent about $30,000 on the project, replacing and remodeling everything from the frame and exhaust to the fuel panel and the AC. He totally replaced the upholstery, installed new brakes and suspension, and even painted the car the cool ruby red that his grandfather had always dreamed of.
When the time finally came for the big reveal on January 13, 2018, two days before grandpa Fred’s 81st birthday, the old man was beside himself with joy when he saw what his grandson had done for him.
How wonderful it is to see that, in the end, Fred Lamar’s patience and generosity had earned him what he wanted most.