The 1956 Chevy Bel Air has always been Bob Geib’s favorite automobile. Over the years, the Warren resident has driven his classic vehicle in various car cruises and has displayed it at countless car shows.

The 1956 Chevy Bel Air has always been Bob Geib’s favorite automobile. Over the years, the Warren resident has driven his classic vehicle in various car cruises and has displayed it at countless car shows.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Chevy Bel Air is always cruise-ready

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published September 22, 2020

 Geib uses dice as the caps on his tire valve stems.

Geib uses dice as the caps on his tire valve stems.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Geib has a portable radio that is a replica of his black-and-red 1956 Chevy Bel Air.

Geib has a portable radio that is a replica of his black-and-red 1956 Chevy Bel Air.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

WARREN — Each time Bob Geib revved his 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, five of his closest buddies would tag along for the ride. Sadly, all five friends have passed away, but the spirit of the group lives on whenever Geib goes cruising.

Geib, of Warren, has photos of each gentleman — Michael Arondoski, Lawrence R. Hanlon, Jeffrey D. Wallace, Jerry Stover and John “Eddie” Frantzen Sr. — taped on the front window of his Chevrolet to keep their memories alive.

“They all had classic cars. I like them to be cruising with me,” Geib, 66, said. “Even though they’re all gone, in my eyes they’re just cruising.”

Geib has owned his classic car since the year 2000. It was his wife, Debra, who helped finance the vehicle.

“She had some money coming back from her life insurance,” Geib said. “So we got it through that.”

She also drives the ’56 model from time to time and once won a trophy for it at a car show. When Geib first got the Chevy, it wasn’t ready for the road just yet.

“I stripped it back down to bare metal,” Geib said. “The bumper and the grille were added.”

The two-door Bel Air was eventually painted a sleek black and Coca-Cola red. Geib chose those two colors to pay homage to Debra’s alma mater, Lincoln High School in Warren, Class of 1973.

Geib said the ’56 Bel Air was “always my favorite car,” and he takes special care of it.

“I’m always waxing it or polishing it,” he said. “I call it my second wife.”

The nostalgic car is an automatic, has a 350-horsepower engine and window handles that crank. Sets of fuzzy dice offset the red-and-black interior, bringing back the days of carhops, poodle skirts and superstar Elvis Presley.

One unique feature of Geib’s prized possession is the location of the gas cap; it’s tucked inside the left taillight. The speedometer  clocks up to 130 mph, and the odometer has already turned over four times. Anytime Geib takes the Bel Air out for a spin, the car is always a conversation piece.

“The younger kids come up. They like the look of the old style,” Geib said. “They want to race me.”

According to the website www.56classicchevy.com, the two-door 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air production number was 105,849 and it cost $2,100 when released. The website also stated that the 1956 Chevys “looked sufficiently different than their predecessors.” While most of the sheet metal remained the same, changes were made in the grille, bumpers, taillights and side trim.

Although the car cruises and shows of 2020 — including the Woodward Dream Cruise, Eastpointe Cruisin’ Gratiot and the Shorewood Kiwanis Harper Charity Cruise — were officially canceled because of COVID-19, Geib is still getting out with his set of wheels. He’ll drive all over, including as far away as downriver.

“If it’s nice, I’ll be out there,” he said, adding that there’s always plenty of camaraderie among the other classic car owners. “We talk about everything. If someone needs help with anything, the guys chip in and help out.”

If anyone wants to check out Geib’s Chevy, he said he’s at Dooley’s, on Gratiot Avenue, south of 14 Mile Road in Roseville, every Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

“I’m always the first one in the lot,” the classic car owner said.

Geib is also a regular customer at Lori’s Cafe, near 13 Mile and Hayes roads in Warren.


View all our Behind the Wheel stories at candgnews.com/behindthewheel, sponsored by B&B Collision of Royal Oak.