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Old, Restored, and Vintage

Police Officers restore 1955 Chevrolet patrol car

By Fay Castronova  Photos Rase Littlefield

People have always admired the history behind cars and as the years go by, obtaining a vintage vehicle can get a little more difficult. Finding history and artifacts is crucial to society and can help tell the story from the past. That’s exactly what Sergeant Michael Kinzel and Deputy Steve Kelch strive for.

“So many people are drawn to restored cars and I think it takes people back to a simpler time that evokes positive emotions and feelings,” shared Kelch.

Recently, they restored a 1955 Chevrolet Patrol Car that represents what it would be like to be a deputy in the 1950’s. Kinzel has been working in the Ada County’s Sheriff’s Office for over 24 years, and is a Patrol Sergeant. When he’s not at work he’s working on restoring cars. This has been a hobby for Kinzel since he was just 15 years old. Kelch has worked in the Ada County Sheriff’s Office for 16 years and is a part of the City of Eagle Police. Kelch also has a love for restoring vehicles.

Kelch met Kinzel while doing research for his book that was published in 2014 that celebrates 150 years of the Sheriff’s Office, (1864-2014).  They both found out they had a passion for vintage cars and history. They are both on the Ada Sheriff Legacy Council at the Sheriff’s Office. Their main goal is to preserve and research the history behind Ada County.

The goal now for the 1955 Chevrolet Patrol car is to let the public enjoy it. Both Kinzel and Kelch plan to show it at parades, car shows, and anywhere else that people can appreciate it.

“There’s a saying that goes, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is right now. We try to preserve what we have now for others in the future,” shared Kinzel.

The community donated 100% of the funds to bring this project to life. Kinzel and Kelch are also restoring a Police Crown Victoria that’s from the early 2000’s. This will be preserved for a decade then it will be revamped and used as a museum piece or shown off in parades. Kelch mentioned that their next project might be restoring a vintage late 1960’s Harley Davidson Police Motorcycle.

Kinzel on his own time has been working on a 1953 Oldsmobile Rocket and Kelch has been working on a 1964 Alumacraft boat. However, the main focus for the last two years has been the 1955 Chevy Patrol Car and they’re thrilled to finally show the public all the work that they’ve done.

Kinzel and Kelch hope that this story will urge the public to bring stories, items, photographs, and experiences to the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, Kuna, Star, or Eagle police.

“Working on any project (mainly cars) has always given me a sense of purpose and

accomplishment. Bringing something back from disrepair to its “glory days” is so cool,” said Kelch.