Family Favourite

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Paul Materazzo drives his 1957 Chevrolet

One of Paul Materazzo’s strongest childhood memories is of the family’s beloved 1957 Chevrolet. The family spent countless weekends and holidays exploring in the car, bought as a result of the success of Paul’s father Tom’s shoemaking business.

But by the mid-2000s the car was worn out. Tom was in his 80s and no longer drove, so the Chevrolet was garaged, seemingly for good.

“The floors had rusted through, all mechanical aspects of the car were worn out and the whole interior was faded or torn,” Paul said.

But during a four-year stint working in Qatar, Paul decided that one of the first things he would do when he returned was to have the Chevrolet restored for his father.

First, the interior.

“I had Ciadella Interiors in the US, which has a 50-year reputation, make the carpets, door boards and seat covers. It was all shipped over and put in by a car upholsterer,” he said.

Everything from the front bumper bar to gaskets, hoses and the engine was repaired or replaced.

Of particular interest to Paul was the restoration of the white Pearlcraft steering wheel.

“I remember being five or six, sitting in front of this beautiful reflective pearl-finished wheel, staring at its beauty,” he said. “It was sad to see over the years how it all peeled off.”

In 2012, Paul presented the restored Chevrolet to his father. “I’m so happy it’s in the family for a second generation, just like I remember it,” Tom said.

Now father and son take the Chevrolet out on weekends, and it is adored by Tom’s grandchildren including Paul’s 19-year-old daughter Delia, who recently bought her first car and continues the tradition of RACV membership in the Materazzo family.

“I absolutely love my Papa and his Chevy, and I hope one day I’ll get to help his legacy live on through the car,” Delia said.

Written by Kathryn Kernohan, Photos Meredith O'Shea
November 02, 2015