With a flip of a switch, Rob Bay's metallic-gray '53 Chevy rises off the ground before the lime green wheels start to spin for a take off. It's a sight around Collinsville that really catches eyes.
And now Bay's customized car is getting national attention. The classic car was featured in a recent edition of Gears and Gals Magazine, which calls itself a "traditional pin up and hot rod magazine." On its cover, it states: "Rob Bay's Cool '53: the Story of Chevy Soooo Fine."
Bay, 32, has been repairing and restoring cars, trucks and motorcycles ever since his dad, Ron Bay, gave him a 1987 Chevy S10 pick-up truck when he was 14. He couldn't drive it but he could work on it. He said it was something that kept the teenager busy.
"So many young people get involved in drinking and drugs, so this was a positive hobby," said Bay, who graduated from Collinsville High School in 1998.
It was a hobby that he could share with his dad, a former drag car racer who also has a passion for cars. Bay, who delivers ice cream for a living, said the two have spent countless hours together lovingly restoring their custom car collection.
But it's his latest car that has given him the most joy. When he bought the Chevy a year ago, it only had 77,000 miles on it and he estimates that he's spent more than $5,000 on customizing the classic car, which he said has been recently appraised at $50,000. Bay even built an extension on his Collinsville home garage to house it.
While Bay's Chevy has has won all four of the car show competitions its been a part of, the vehicle has a even bigger role to play next year.
"The car's going to be in my wedding," said Bay of his planned October 2013 nuptials to fiancée Casey Spenserberger.
The same gray-and-lime-green colors on the car will be the colors for Bay's wedding. The groomsmen will be wearing gray pin-stripe suits and lime-green sneakers and the bridesmaids will be wearing gray and green dresses.
And after the ceremony, Bay will drive off with his new wife to their new lives together.
Contact reporter Ramona C. Sanders at 618-34-0264, ext. 136