Kentucky Man Transforms Grandpa's 1957 Chevy as Birthday Surprise

Inspirational - Deborah Hastings

Since he was a little boy, Cam Dedman listened to his beloved grandfather's constant banter about how someday, they would rebuild the hulking carcass of a 1957 Chevy Bel Air that lived in his grandparents' garage.

Dedman comes from a long line of Kentucky car enthusiasts. His dad and his granddad lived for car shows, racing and putting together hot rods. Dedman lives the same life.

So he decided that he would not only rebuild his grandfather's Chevy as a birthday present for the 81-year-old, he would trick it out beyond belief with air conditioning, mag wheels, custom-tufted seats and a high-grade carpet.

He painted it his grandfather's favorite car color, ruby red, with white stripes on the back panels. He fitted it with a three-speed automatic transmission controlled by a floor shifter. 

And he did it all in secret.

Over the weekend, on Fred Lamar's birthday, Dedman put him and his grandmother in his car, blindfolded both of them, and then drove them around in circles. Dedman eventually stopped at his sister's house, where the ruby red coupe sat glistening on a snow-lined road.

When his blindfold was lifted, Lamar stumbled in disbelief.

"I didn't expect his reaction to be so dramatic," Dedman told on Tuesday. "Honestly, he almost passed out. I had to hold him up. His legs gave out. He said, 'There's no way that is my car.'"

Dedman's grandmother shook her head.

"That was their family car," Dedman said. They got the Bel Air in 1958 as payment for Lamar building a transmission for a man who couldn't afford to pay in cash.

"They drove it every day until 1976. Their kids, my mom, rode in it."

This is what was left of the 1957 Chevy owned by Cam Dedman's grandfather. Cam Dedman/Facebook

Dedman moved the old car last year on the premise that he would start fixing it up. Every time his grandfather asked when they were going to start work on the Chevy, Dedman would say "Grandpa, I'm really busy right now. We'll get to it."

The grandson had been saving a long time for the restoration and had sold one of his cars to help pay for it. In all, Dedman says he "put every bit of $20,000 in it, and that doesn't include labor."

Dedman says his grandfather is his best friend. They talk every day. "When I was little, he would always tell me, 'We're going to fix this up.'

"But he always put his family first, so he never had time to do it."

When Dedman decided he would do it, he decided to spare no expense.

"I figured if I was going to do it, I was going to do it right," he said.

And he did. His grandfather, he said, is a very good man who loves his family above all else.

"He's never had anything that nice and he really deserves it."

As soon as it warms up and snow is off the roads, Dedman and his grandfather will hit the highway in their big red Chevy.