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Friday, March 1, 2024
The Observer

Baby Doll is one of a kind

arah Rochelle Bacon doesn't look like a grease monkey. No one seeing the Saint Mary's sophomore standing around the Cavalcade of Wheels in the JACC Saturday and Sunday in her pink shirt and pink hoop earrings would guess that Sarah, better known as Skip, had overhauled the engine and done the body work on her bright pink 1984 custom classic Chevy S10 herself.Bacon bought the truck for $500 after wrecking her mom's van in high school. She overhauled the engine with some help from her dad and brother when it failed a month after she bought it."When I bought it the engine was shot and the body was trashed," Bacon said. "It ran, but not for long."When the car gathered so much rust that driving it was barely legal, Bacon decided to redo the body herself. And while she was at it, she decided to make sure everyone knew it was her car and her handiwork."I used to drive into town in a little red pickup, and everyone would ask if it was my dad's, or my brother's or my boyfriend's. They didn't believe me that it was mine," Bacon said. "Now, no one asks."She had the interior redone in pink leather, repainted the dashboard in specially mixed pink paint and recovered the steering wheel herself.The truck was referred to as the Barbie car, Pink, the peppermint car and other nicknames around the show. But its real name, "Baby Doll," is unmistakably written across the top of the windshield.To top everything off, the car was made in the same month and year that Bacon was born. In January the owner and her truck both turned twenty. The age is the requirement for the car, if not the owner, to be considered a classic."In five more years we'll both be 25," Bacon said. "We'll turn antique together."Bacon has yet to undertake any more automotive projects, but still does maintenance on her beloved Chevy."She keeps my hands pretty full," Bacon said. "It's a 20-year old engine, it's not easy to keep running."Thanks to Bacon's hard work, the truck is now an award-winning classic and Bacon's pride and joy. Bacon tours to shows around the state and always dresses in pink to match her car.For the show on Saturday, her car was parked in the center of the hockey arena surrounded by other pickups, motorcycles, dragsters and all other types of motor vehicles. Other cars were taken by elevator to line the hallways on the upper levels of the JACC. Altogether nearly 250 cars took part in the show.Bacon keeps eight pink air fresheners dangling from the gear shift in the cab of her car - one for each award her truck has won. After Sunday, she'll have to buy one more. Bacon left the Cavalcade of wheels with first place in the category of "Mini Pickups, 1970-1987."Although Bacon is excited about the trophy, which stands nearly half her height, and about the cash prize she won at a show in Iowa, she doesn't plan to move into the higher echelons of car shows. Companies will sometimes sponsor top cars to travel around the country and pay for repairs and improvements to the vehicles, but the Saint Mary's student would rather maintain her independence."If you have sponsors, you have to do what they say," Bacon said. "For example, if they wanted me to replace my rims, I'd have to do it. I like what I have."While some classic car owners refuse to drive their cars anywhere but into the show, Bacon uses her Chevy for errands, going to movies and anything else she has to do.So if you see a pink truck anywhere around town, make sure to take a closer look and admire Bacon's hard work. And keep the custom paint in mind when you decide whether to try squeezing into that tight parking space next door.