Vintage Chevrolet Owners Parade Their Passion in Hua Hin
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Vintage Chevrolet Owners Parade Their Passion in
Hua Hin

HUA HIN, THAILAND: Dr. Dean Giliard, a 70-year-old retired American living in Thailand for 30 years, and Mr. “Teddy” Salaporn Hiran Pradith, a 28-year-old Thai businessman, don’t seem to have much in common at first glance, but they share a common passion: vintage American cars.

Both men drove Chevrolets in the recent 12th annual Hua Hin Vintage Car Parade – Dr. Dean drove his 1955-56 model 3100 Chevy pickup truck and Khun Teddy drove his 1987 Camaro “Bumblebee” muscle car. Both men own other vintage Chevys, including Corvettes. They both have owned many different vehicle brands, but say performance is what makes Chevrolet a favorite.

“You can’t beat a Chevrolet V8 engine – it just keeps going and going and going,” said Dr. Dean of his bright red Chevy pickup that took three-and-a-half years to build, using a 3100 truck body and a gasoline-powered 1989 Corvette engine imported from America. The truck won the “Best in Show” award at the 12th annual Automobile Concours in Hua Hin in early December.

Dr. Dean built the 3100 using genuine Chevrolet parts, including a 700R4 four-speed overdrive transmission, fuel-injection and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) systems. The L98 5.7L engine delivers 350 hp. The master brake cylinder also comes from a Corvette. It has power brakes, power steering and power windows. The only component that isn’t genuine Chevrolet is the digital driver information gauge.

Because the body came from America its interior was originally left-hand drive, so Dr. Dean worked with a Thai craftsman to convert the interior for right-hand drive, hand-building the dashboard that includes a DVD stereo system. The red steering wheel comes from a 1959 Chevy Impala. The interior is trimmed in plush two-tone grey upholstery, steel skull-topped floor-mounted shifter, billet aluminum on the doors and a polished stainless steel step plate with laser-cut bowtie logos.

Dr. Dean says his first Chevrolet was a vintage 1934 three-window coupe that he turned into a hot rod when he was still living in America. Currently, he also drives a 1980 Corvette Stingray.

“I enjoy the Corvette and anything Chevrolet,” Dr. Dean added.

Despite being more than 40 years younger, Teddy shares Dr. Dean’s enthusiasm for vintage Chevrolet, and owns several models, including a 1958 Chevrolet Impala Convertible, 1959 Chevrolet Apache and 1982 Chevrolet Corvette, as well as the Camaro he drove in the parade.

The Corvette and Camaro are Teddy’s “daily drives” and his family uses a Chevrolet Colorado for its business delivering products all over Thailand, from Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the north to Surat Thani in the south.

“The Colorado can go anywhere. I really like Chevrolet’s suspension, both past and present. It gives a really good ride. It’s good and smooth for driving long distances,” Teddy said.

Teddy studied the Camaro’s history before he acquired one from a friend. He thought he would have to install a Japanese engine and suspension, but decided not to after driving the muscle car, finding that it performed even better than expected.

“I bought a classic American car because I like the art and culture of the past. I study classic cars and I wanted to own a symbol of that period,” Teddy said. “Every car has a story. I didn’t choose the car, I chose its story.”