Once owned and built by the late, great Rick Finn, this 1947 Chevy Fleetline was one of the many cars he’s blessed. In all, Rick had owned and traded well over 200 vehicles, and among his favorites were his 1965 Buick Riviera, 1959 Chevy (two-door station wagon), 1955 Ford panel truck, and his beloved 1947 Chevy Fleetline featured here. As a graphic designer, and a noted automotive artist who specialized in hot rod art, Rick was not only one of the cofounders of Donut Derelicts, a weekly Saturday car cruise in Huntington Beach, but also a serial entrepreneur who created Hot Rod Life, an apparel company that promotes automotive culture in both art and apparel.
As an avid car buff, Rick was infatuated with all categories of car customizing. His interest in exploring other car cultures led him to scope out the lowrider scene. From the food to the cars, the camaraderie to the candy and chrome, he enjoyed it so much that he decided to build a 1947 Chevrolet Fleetline.
It was about 14 years ago, when Rick—along with his club brother, Richard Doyle—found the perfect project car parked alongside Pacific Coast Highway and Goldenwest in Huntington Beach. The bomb had a For Sale sign on it, was in decent condition, and had recently been uncovered from a long-term “staycation” inside storage. In all, the paint and the interior were both restored 16 years prior to him purchasing the car so all it needed on the outside was a little buff on the paint and polishing of the chrome trim. Inside, the interior was fully restored with the original cloth, which required the labor-intensive process of removing, cleaning, reinstalling, and restitching the interior.
Once the car was reassembled and fine-tuned, Rick was happy with the outcome but wanted more, so he went on the hunt to find rare OEM factory accessories for his Fleetline. He found the original tissue holder, a hat holder off the dome light, a compass, as well as a steering column-mounted fan. Outside, he found some incredible accessories, including the original spotlight, GM locking gas cap, and the rear wiper, which he located at a swap meet. Among all the accessories he found, the most treasured piece was his Delco steering column-mounted radio, which was a dealer option for 1946-1948 Chevy cars.
Completed with the help of his friend, Doyle, the first thing they did once it was all dialed in was take it to a local lowrider cruise. Being that they were Chevy bomb enthusiasts, they had spent plenty of time hitting local boulevards and car shows so they decided to give their crew an official name. That name? The HB Gabachos, and Rick went straight to work as one of their founding members and the designer of the club logo.
Tragically—and unexpectedly—Rick died September 23, 2006. An avid car customizer who was passionate about his family, Rick had always been a standup guy, and since he had no children of his own, he left his car to his beloved nephew, Marc. When we asked Marc about the memories he had of his uncle he explained in great detail how he used to accompany his uncle to local car shows and meets and it was there that he was taught the ins and outs of car culture. With the 1947 Chevy Fleetline now in his possession, Marc has been groomed to pilot the boat, but at the time he was only 11 years old, so his father maintained the car up until Marc could drive it. “Looking back, I was only 11 years old when my Uncle Rick left me his Fleetline. I will treasure it for the rest of my life, and now that I’m 21 years old, I’m just starting to realize how special the gift really is.”
1947 Chevrolet Fleetline
Rick Finn (original owner)
Marc Finn (willed owner)
Huntington Beach, CA
Original Oxford Maroon Color
Airbags by Ponch, The Bag Man
Stock 16-inch wheels and hubcaps / wide whitewall tires
Original-style cloth interior