Herald JournalWinsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Dec. 16, 2002

Santa uses a hot rod in Lester Prairie

By Julie Yurek

Instead of reindeer and a sleigh, Santa uses a souped-up blue 1938 Chevrolet roadster in Lester Prairie, with the help of Bill and Joan Kocourek.

The Kocoureks own a Christmas display that is modeled after Bill's real life '38 Chevrolet Sedan, parked in the garage at Maple Street.

Bill Kocourek built the Christmas display out of a wire cattle pen panel, using over 1,200 lights.

"I followed the flowing lines of the car for the display. I wanted it to look like something older," Bill said. "I had to make it a roadster, otherwise you wouldn't be able to see Santa inside with the roof on."

The '38 Chevy was Bill's first car, Joan said.

"Right after he got it, he started to restore it." "Then I decided to hot rod it," Bill said.

"It's had four different engines. Right now it has a 409 engine, six-speed stick, and is fuel-injected. It's like the song by the Beach Boys, "She's Real Fine My 409,"" he said.

Right now Bill is working on the wiring in the vehicle.

It wasn't until about five years ago that he started to seriously put time into the restoration.

"We are also thinking about what color to paint it, but it's hard. We pick a color, but then we see it on another '38 and we don't like it," Joan said.

The Kocourek's also own a 1948 Chevrolet pickup, which has quite a story to it.

The couple owned the pickup in the mid 1980s. They got married in 1985 (they just celebrated 17 years) and in their wedding picture they are posed with the pickup.

Two years later, they sold the pickup. However, Bill kept track of who owned it after they sold it.

The truck went through four owners after the Kocoureks.

A few years ago, Bill lost track of who had the pickup and they were looking to buy it back.

This past July, Joan surprised Bill by locating the current owner and buying it back without him knowing.

"I told him we were going to a sale. We were waiting in the parking lot when the pickup pulled up. He thought he was just going to get a ride," Joan said.

The pickup is mostly the same as it was when they sold it, Bill said. "The other owners did a few changes, but nothing major."

"The paint job is still the same," Joan said.

Their Christmas cards features Joan and Bill with the pickup, in the same pose that they had in their wedding picture, only in each other's spots.

"I told him we were going to a sale. We were waiting in the parking lot, and I pretended to call my girlfriend when the pickup pulled up. He thought he was just going to get a ride," Joan said.

The pickup is mostly the same as it was when they sold it, Bill said.

"The other owners did a few changes, but nothing major," he said.

"The paint job is still the same," Joan said.

Their Christmas cards features Joan and Bill with the pickup, in the same pose that they had in their wedding picture, only in each other's spots.


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