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An old school surprise

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A Toronto man reunites Campbellsville man with his classic car after 36 years

By Emily LaForme

 Automobiles… They carry us where we have to go, they help us get to where we want to be, and sometimes they bring us to places we never thought we’d end up. After 36 years, an old car is doing just that… Bringing people together in entirely unexpected ways.

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Chuck Frame, of Toronto, Canada, has a passion for cars that has taken him all over, and when he heard that a friend was selling his favorite model - a 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS - he jumped on it.

“My friend called me up and said he was thinking about selling the blue car, was I interested?” said Frame. “I said I would be right there. I went down, did the deal, and brought it home in the spring of 2015.”

Frame, who shows cars at different classic car events and competitions, needed to do a little work on his new car, and it was there he began a new journey.

“Last year, I was taking the car to the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals, the largest muscle car show in North America, where it was going to be judged for originality,” said Frame. “I didn’t have any documentation with the car, so I decided to have some made up, a window sticker and a dealer invoice.” 

While Frame was working with the reproduction company they started researching the original dealership, which turned out to be located in Kentucky. They were then able to track down an old bookkeeper who still had records of the purchase, the car itself, and the original owner.

“So then, I went on a hunt for Pete Gupton of Campbellsville,” said Frame. “I searched for probably two weeks, and I came across a website with his daughter’s name on it, and it had her work email. I thought, ‘What do I have to lose?’ So, I emailed her and told her my story. Within 20 minutes, I got a response. We emailed back and forth, and a couple weeks later Pete called me, and we talked for over an hour.” 

Pete and his wife, Betty, purchased the car on April 27, 1966, straight from the manufacturers catalog. Pete owned the car for 20 years, his wife Betty learned how to drive in the car, and they brought home their four children, Becky, David, Tim, and Michelle, in it as well. They decided to sell the car in 1986 to a local man.

“I told the man that I loved that car, and if he ever decided to sell it, to find me because I would see about getting it back,” said Gupton.

However, the man who purchased the car never reached Gupton, and he eventually sold the car to a man in Florida. The car was then inherited by the Florida man’s son, and it traveled to New Jersey before being purchased by Frame’s friend in Mississippi.  

The two men had talked a few times over the phone, but Gupton had no idea he would ever see the car again. Frame had been planning to going to a car show in northern Ohio and decided to drive the extra seven hours to Campbellsville to surprise Gupton and let him see the car again after all these years.

“As soon as he pulled up into the driveway and I saw the truck and trailer, I just knew what it was,” said Gupton. “I couldn’t believe he was there.”

Gupton’s family had come together under the pretense of a family get together in order to pull off the surprise, which worked perfectly. 

“This is unbelievable, you don’t see this happen every day,” said Gupton. “You don’t see many people willing to come all this way to do this.” 

Frame and Gupton, and Gupton’s family, spent the evening with good food as they reminisced about memories in the car their dad so loved. 

“It’s such a rarity to find the original owner of these cars,” said Frame. “To find Pete the way I found him, it was just a stroke of luck. It was, by far, the most memorable moment for me in this great muscle car hobby. It was a special moment for the entire family and something we will always remember.”