1956 Buick Super fit grandfather 'like a glove'
In 1956, Matthew Krajacik strolled into Logan Square Buick, located on Chicago's Northwest side at the intersection of Milwaukee and Sacramento. The bustling city dealership held lots of promise for a fancy set of wheels, which is just what Matthew was shopping for.
His eyes landed on a new Buick Super, dressed up in a striking two-tone, wearing a coat of Harvest Yellow and Laurel Green paint. The car, with all its flash and chrome, suited him perfectly. He was, after all, a tailor.
"That was the kind of guy he was," says his grandson, Don Forbes of Crystal Lake, who now owns the car. "He was always decked out and dressed to the nines."
While Matthew was on board with his new purchase, someone else wasn't.
"Grandmother never liked the car," Don laughs now. "She thought it was too jazzy, always asking him why he didn't just get a 'nice black car.' "
Still, the dapper and dashing sedan fit Matthew like a glove. He was regularly found commuting from his home on North Elston Avenue to where he worked at the A.M. Rothchild department store, located right in the heart of the Loop at 333 S. State St.
While he stayed busy downtown, he did frequent the suburbs, making regular trips out to see Don and the rest of the family at their home in rural Crystal Lake. "Grandpa and Grandma drove out on the weekends or for holidays," Don says, remembering going for rides in the Buick as a kid in the 1960s.
Besides family meals and fond times together, another priority during these get-togethers was helping the grandkids pick out clothes. "He'd drive us to our local Robert Hall (store) to buy outfits for our Sunday's best," recalls Don.
His grandfather never drove the Buick in winter, choosing to leave the classy car stored during the snowy months.
When the clothier retired in 1981, he left the hectic hustle of the downtown life and came out to Crystal Lake, too. "He never drove his Buick again," Don says. "It was rolled into a barn where it stayed for nearly 30 years."
When Matthew passed away, the car was left to Don's dad, who then left it to Don and his younger brother, Larry. "Larry said I could keep it," Don chuckles. "He's into faster cars.
"I've always liked the car and was a big fan of my grandfather."
Despite its careful use, the aging car was well-worn after being stored so many years. The brothers rolled up their sleeves and set to work, getting the 320-cubic-inch V-8 engine and two-speed transmission rebuilt, flushing the rear end and rechroming the bumpers. While no rust had formed on the bodywork, a new coat of paint was applied, making the Buick as good as new.
While the enthusiast loves his ride, he already knows who he'll be handing it down to: his daughter, Courtney. It turns out, she's cut from the same cloth and loves the car, too.
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