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Ride Of The Week 10/26/2020: Charlie Eichenlaub’s 1957 Bel Air Wagon

Updated: Nov 17, 2020


When I saw this 1957 Bel Air Wagon in Mill Hall, PA at the beginning of October, I knew this had to be our Ride of the Week heading into Halloween! This rat rod has a great story behind it.

When the first Fast & The Furious film came out Charlie Eichenlaub’s son insisted that he and his dad get themselves an import to tune on. So, they picked up a 1992 Honda Civic and proceeded to make it into something streetable. After investing between $12-15k, the kid blew the motor and talked his mother into letting him get a Supra.

Now here was Charlie, stuck with the Civic with a blown engine. He started out on a quest to replace the powerplant and try to sell the car. As it turns out, he found an interested party with an offer he couldn’t refuse, a trade for a 1957 Bel Air Wagon. The wagon was in less-than-stellar shape, but he saw potential.

He immediately brought the Chevy home and tore it down, expecting to restore it, but the expense of all of the chrome parts on this ‘50s cruiser held him back. Charlie, fell into his pack rat ways, and let it sit for 8 years. His wife dubbed him the pack rat and tried to get him to get rid of the car when inspiration struck. Instead of making the car something it used to be, he’d make it something of his own.

Using items he’d collected over the years, Charlie set out to make a one-of-a-kind ride on a budget. He used license plates and road signs to make up a lot of the interior panels. He had other odds and ends to that lend to the ‘50s vibe like the bowling pin/9-ball rack ornament that he uses as a hood prop, plastic skeletons, spiders and a treasure chest. He uses the chest to give back, offering up gifts and candy to kids at car shows.

The PACK RAT is powered by a 350 Chevy small block from Miller Racing Engines putting out 400 HP and mated to an automatic transmission. Brian Gavek of Gavek Graphics did the Pack Rat Artwork throughout.

If you’d like your ride to be featured as a #carshowlife #rideoftheweek, send us your story and photos to

And don't forget that each submission from now until Nov. 30, 2020 will be in the drawing for a custom Car Show Life Show Board valued between $175-250! Click here for details!

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