“Hutch’s Mission” is the title of the article in a U.K.-based car restoration magazine that features David Soul’s latest project. What car is he looking to restore? You’ll never guess! So you’ll have to read the article.
Hutch’s mission: David Soul calls on PC to help with Cuban resto
David Soul—Hutch from the cult 1970s TV show Starsky and Hutch—needs your help. He wants to restore the great American writer Ernest Hemingway’s 1955 Chrysler New Yorker and bring it back to showroom condition in six months flat. But there are two problems. One: half the car is missing. And two: it’s in Cuba—and it’s not a moveable feast.
‘The second “problem” is actually a blessing,’ David told PC, ‘because what the Cubans don’t know about keeping old Yank barges going isn’t worth knowing.’ It means that, given the right parts, a June 2013 completion date is more than possible.
The car itself is a 1955 Chrysler New Yorker Deluxe convertible built on February 18, 1955. On Hemingway’s orders it was shipped with specific options and colors—two-tone Navajo Orange with Desert Sand inserts (Code 46)—to the selling dealer in Havana. The engine was a C68 FirePower V8 married to a Power Flite automatic.
Insurance documents and chassis plates held at the Hemingway Museum in Cuba prove the provenance of the vehicle, which Hemingway used on the island before returning to the States in 1960.
‘It’s a very special car with a grand future,’ says David. ‘Restoring it gives us a symbolic approach to his literary legacy as well as to the land and the people of Cuba. I work very closely with the folks at the Hemingway Museum and we are aiming to complete the restoration in time for the International Ernest Hemingway Conference in June—an event that draws aficionados from every corner of the planet to Havana.’
David and the team of Cuban restorers will be joining PC for the duration of the project and you’ll be able to catch up with them in Staff Car Sagas. But we need help with spares. We have some funding in place for transport costs but we need to find numerous trim, hood and brightwork parts to make this happen. Email Danny Hopkins if you think you can help.
‘Driving through London in a Torino to publicize the Ernest Hemingway Chrysler project stopped the traffic’
Gran Torino Reunion
To help publicize the restoration, David agreed to a reunion. Not with Starsky, but with the car that defined the show—a Ford Gran Torino GT. The Torinos used in Starsky and Hutch, had a few tweaks. ‘They stiffened the suspension and reworked the gear ratios to make the car handle and get off the line quickly,’ says the UK-based actor. David’s car in the series was a beaten up, beige 1973 Ford Galaxie 500. ‘It was much better than the Torino,’ he adds. ‘That was good over short distances, but my Galaxie could beat it over a quarter of a mile.’
Driving through central London to the photoshoot at the Floridita Latin American restaurant in Wardour Street, Soho, in the Torino with David in the passenger seat stopped traffic at every junction. ‘Kind of surreal, isn’t it?’ was David’s response. ‘This is the first urban journey I’ve taken in a Starsky Torino in more than 35 years.’
Article thanks to: John Slack, Torina owner, Star Car Hire Floridita Restaurant
About the Magazine: Practical Classics has a 30-year tradition of delivering the very best, hands-on classic car experiences to its readers. Every staff writer and contributor works on and restores their own classics, and each issue is packed with rigorous buying advice, real-world product tests, inspirational classic driving features and fascinating historical insight.