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Collection of '57 Chevys becomes lifelong obsession for North Georgia man

Charles Warbington of Hog Mountain talks about his journey as a collector of 1957 Chevrolets.


Charles Warbington of Hog Mountain is the owner of ten 1957 Chevrolet vehicles. Warbington has been collecting Chevy’s ever since his father bought him a 1957 Chevy two door hard top sport coupe when he was 16. Warbingotn poses for a portrait in front of his 1957 Chevy original 283 four-speed nascar. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

Charles Warbington of Hog Mountain is the owner of ten 1957 Chevrolet vehicles. Warbington has been collecting Chevy’s ever since his father bought him a 1957 Chevy two door hard top sport coupe when he was 16. Warbingotn poses for a portrait in front of his 1957 Chevy original 283 four-speed nascar. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

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Local man collects ten 1957 Chevys

Charles Warbington of Hog Mountain talks about his journey as a collector of 1957 Chevrolets.

Charles Warbington of Hog Mountain talks about his journey as a collector of 1957 Chevrolets.

HOG MOUNTAIN — Charles Warbington remembers it like it was yesterday. His dad, Alfred, told him if he stayed away from smoking and drinking, he would buy Charles a brand-new 1957 Chevrolet.

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A 1957 Chevrolet 2 door post Belair 350 four-speed is parked in the basement of Charles Warbington of Hog Mountain, the owner of ten 1957 Chevrolet vehicles. Warbington has been collecting Chevy’s ever since his father bought him a 1957 Chevy two door hard top sport coupe when he was 16. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

To this day, Warbington doesn’t smoke or drink, and he’s added nine 1957 Chevys to his collection after adding his first from Nash Chevrolet in Lawrenceville, purchasing it in 1957 for $2,400.

“I bought all of the cars when they were inexpensive,” Warbington said. “I bought that last one in 1994 before the prices on them skyrocketed.”

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The front headlights of two 1957 Chevrolet parked in the garage of Charles Warbington of Hog Mountain the owner of ten 1957 Chevrolet vehicles. Warbington has been collecting Chevy’s ever since his father bought him a 1957 Chevy two door hard top sport coupe when he was 16. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

Warbington is the father of Albany businessman Chad Warbington, who inherited his dad’s love of cars. Chad Warbington says he still has a Chevrolet Camaro his dad bought him when Chad was a teenager.

Between his time as a contracting officer for the U.S. General Services Administration and coaching his three kids in little league, Charles Warbington took to his passion.

All of Warbington’s cars are black, but he has multiple two-door and four-door models. Among those he has are two four-door police cars with lights, two-door hard tops and racing cars.

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Charles Warbington of Hog Mountain is the owner of ten 1957 Chevrolet vehicles stands in his garage in December of last year. Warbington has been collecting Chevy’s ever since his father bought him a 1957 Chevy two door hard top sport coupe when he was 16. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

One of the cars sits at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville, while others have been to the Talledega Speedway Hall of Fame and the World of Wheels. Others reside in various garages on his property.

The race cars were his most recent acquisitions.

The cars didn’t come in one piece, either. Many of the cars were restored by Warbington, giving him the ability to engage in another passion — picking, which has been made famous by “American Pickers” on the History Channel.

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The interior of a 1957 Chevrolet Belair belonging to Charles Warbington of Hog Mountain, the owner of ten 1957 Chevrolet vehicles. Warbington has been collecting Chevy’s ever since his father bought him a 1957 Chevy two door hard top sport coupe when he was 16. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

“Nowadays, you see these cars everywhere. Picking is a lost art, especially when it comes to the ‘57 Chevy,” Warbington said. “I had a lot of fun going around searching for parts for the cars I was restoring. Back then, they didn’t reproduce parts like they do now. Now, all of the parts are factory produced and you can basically buy the whole car from a catalog. It takes all of the fun out of it.

“Picking was the best part of the whole thing. You would search through a lot of junk yards sometimes to find that one part. And when you found it, there was a lot of excitement.”

His trips through the junk yards allowed him to also collect Gulf Oil signs, a brand his father’s Hog Mountain store sold.

Warbington remembers having thousands of pieces laid out on his garage floor as he stripped down the cars and put them back together.

“I learned how to put it all together along the way,” he said. “There was a lot of trial and error. But I stayed with one car. There was no point in rebuilding more than one at one time. The best thing about sticking with one was if you got frustrated with it, you could leave it and pick it up the next day.”

While the passion for his cars is still there, Warbington said there are no plans to acquire and build others, especially considering he’s 73.

“I’m happy with what I have,” he said. “I’m happy I was able to get into something I was passionate about and have a good time doing it.”