While visiting relatives in Texas, fate introduced my parents, Rich and Pat Lutty, to a yellow 1964 Impala ragtop. Although they could not afford the car, they could not leave the state without it. After working out a deal, they drove the low mileage car 36 hours back to Pittsburgh, PA. They loved that car! I recall holding on for dear life while my mother raced whomever was beside us at the traffic light …and Dad driving, huddling in a blanket on the backseat floor, top down, windows up, freezing!
In August of 1976, Pat was hit head-on around a bend; she and the Impala were beat up. Although the car was totaled, my parents spent the next two years piecing it back together. At that time, reproduction parts were hard to come by, especially sheet metal. Southern sheet metal, however, was plentiful! Several trips were made to chigger-infested junkyards to repair and fund the restoration, of their beloved car. Our 1963 Chevy pickup Truck was crammed with unneeded parts we sold at local swap meets.
Over the next five years, word got out and the phone was ringing. In 1981, we officially became “Lutty’s Chevys”. My mother quit her school bus driving job, ironically, to sell Chevy parts out of an old school bus at swap meets. She set up shop in our 4- car garage, which Dad expanded to an 8- car garage when the reproduction parts started to add up. At some point, a couple of employees were recruited to help.
My father eventually quit his job as a local 5 union electrician to join the business. My father and brother found a 1966 truck that we converted to haul our parts trailer and be a home away from home for my parents. In Junior High, with my parents on the road from NY to Texas, I was responsible for laundry, dinner, and answering the phone when I came home from school.
We added the Chevelle, Nova, 55-56-57, and Camaro lines and needed more room. In 1988, we purchased a half-acre under roof old mushroom farm for cold storage warehousing. As our inventory grew, we needed to expand. Plans were drawn and building began on a new warehouse. In 1995, on April Fools’ Day, we moved in to our new warehouse. The Chevy Truck line was added and we had plenty of room to spare! Rich and Pat found themselves overwhelmed, working 14+ hour days at the shop during the week and selling at 48 swap meets a year trying to pay off 2 mortgages.
Thirty-eight years later, we now have approximately 20,000 parts from over 160 suppliers. We are your (second generation) one stop restoration shop… with no room to spare!