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Stella: Dee & John Schott's 1947 Chrysler Windsor Business Coupe
by Dee & John Schott

We recently purchased our ’47 Chrysler and have been excited to get to know her. We have named her Stella. We have a fun story to share about Stella and how she came to be ours.

John and I got married about a year ago after both being divorced and single for more than 30 years. I have always admired the vintage and classic cars but never owned one. John, on the other hand, has always pictured himself in a coupe. When we got married, the garage needed emptying for me to move in. He had a 1937 GMC Panel, all stock but dismantled, and a 1963 Ford Ranchero with a custom canopy, which was taking all the space. He couldn’t work on the GMC because of losing a couple of partial fingers in an accident at work that kind of shut down his wrenching days. But he knew that he had something valuable so he held onto it… for about 25 years! We eventually sold the Ranchero and then the GMC to make space. The GMC went to a California car museum to be refurbished and to put on display. We are staying in touch and will get progress pictures.

Well, with this money, John looked and looked for just the right car. We checked out a few and came across Stella. There she sat in all her glorious jewel-tone blue splendor. After a couple of hours of checking her out, we decided to purchase her. The current owners did not know a lot about her history other than they had bought it in 2009 and had too many other toys, so she had to go.

John and I drove her home grinning all the way. She is pretty! Once we got home, we started checking out more detail on the internet about 1947 Chrysler Business Coupes. We didn’t find a lot of information on 3-window coupes. But, come to find out, there were only 1,980 made between 1946 and early 1949. Since they didn’t keep production records post war, it is unknown as to how many were made each year.

After being home for a few days, John took a look in the car and saw the oil change sticker in the window. Curious, he looked closer. The oil had not been changed since 2005! And then, looked at the odometer and saw that it still had 1,275 miles to go before needing a change. It had only been driven 1,825 miles in 8 years! Awesome! Of course, we had the oil changed anyway… out with the old and in with the new.

When looking through the car more, we found the Bill of Sale and Registration of the sale transaction between the original owners and the owners we purchased from. Hmmm… curious about where Stella came from.

We did some searching on the internet to see if there was a phone number for the original owners. We found one! And in calling the number, we reached the widow of the original owner, George. George unfortunately had passed away in 1993, and she really couldn’t tell us much about Stella. As well, she was only the registered owner but it was actually owned by George’s daughter, Donelle. His widow told us of a man named Larry that did a lot of the mechanical work on Stella and gave us the last number that she had for him. She also gave us Donelle’s phone number and thought she would be able to tell us more. Donelle told us how her dad and Larry had restored the car and it was a work of the heart. She told us that this car had been a love of her dad’s and that she was happy to see it end up with people who will care for it with the same joy. She too had a number for Larry and offered it to us.

We tried reaching Larry at both numbers but neither were good numbers. So, again, we turned to the internet. We could find him all over Roseburg directory search but no good number. Hmmm…. Where to go now? John didn’t want to stop there because he knew he had to find more about George, Larry, and Stella. He searched the last name only in Roseburg and came up with a woman who might possibly be a relative or daughter. We called Karen. Bingo! It was Larry’s daughter-in-law! After introducing ourselves and why we were calling, she was happy to relay our number to Larry!

A few days went by and we thought maybe he just wasn’t interested but then he called. He and George were life-long friends who were firemen together and served in the Military together. George did most of the cosmetic work and Larry did most of the mechanics. John was able to find out all the details of what was under the hood (It does not have a stock engine). George and Larry remained best friends until he died in 1993. He and George had finished the car just 2 years prior in 1991 and in those 2 years, Stella was in the “Roseburg Graffiti” spin-off of American Graffiti and was paraded around Roseburg often. Seems a lot of people knew her. When George died, Stella led his precession. Behind her was an antique fire truck that carried his casket. Even as he was being laid to rest, Stella was a part of his life and death.

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