Charles Smith and grandson Matthew Smith

Charles Smith (right) and his grandson, Matthew Smith, are big fans of this 1970 Chevy Chevelle, which sports double headlights and a sleek design. 

Charles Smith of Unionville has owned his 1970 Chevy Chevelle off and on for 40 years. “I bought it from a young kid down at Burr Hill in 1980,” he said as he gazed at the car gleaming in his driveway on a cold and sunny afternoon. Since that original purchase, he has traded it several times for other vehicles, but at this point, he intends to keep it in the family. “The last time I got it back, it was in rough shape,” he said. He did some of the repairs himself and then hired a mechanic to finish the job. It was during that round of maintenance that he had the car painted an eye-catching bright red—“torch red,” to be precise. He has driven the Chevelle all over the country, but these days, it mostly stays put in Unionville. Smith’s grandson, Matthew, shares his love of the elegant little car with the double headlights. “I just like the simplicity of it,” Matthew Smith said. He added that in his opinion, today’s cars look much the same, whereas the Chevelle’s beauty makes it distinctive. Although the odometer puts the mileage at about 49,000, the elder Smith said the car actually has about 100,000 miles on it. How fast can it go? Charles Smith took a puff from his cigarette and said he wasn’t sure, but: “It’ll run over the speed limit.”

Hilary Holladay covers education and politics for the Orange County Review. The author of five books, she is currently writing a biography of the poet Adrienne Rich.

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