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Posted in features, HH LIFESTYLE, Motoring

Bel Air Meets Hidden Hills

A world famous ’56 Bel Air is one of Hidden Hills’ newest residents.


Hidden Hills has more than its share of enviable cars. We’ve got Ferraris, Bentleys, Masaratis, Lamborghinis, antique Packards, “Woodies,” and many many others.

New to Hidden Hills is yet another cool car, but one that’s not hard to miss. It’s a ’56 Chevy Bel Air, silver and white, with blue flames, er, waves, painted on the rear quarter panels.
Now, ’56 Chevy’s aren’t all that common anywhere, and not that common around Hidden Hills. But this isn’t just any ’56 Chevy—it’s the very car featured on the long running show Overhauln’.

Humble Beginnings

This particular car is owned by Tyson Parsons who, with his wife, Emily, recently moved to Hidden Hills. Tyson actually is no newcomer to the West Valley, having grown up in West Hills, and having attended Pomelo Elementary, Hale Middle School, and El Camino High School.

It’s not Tyson’s beginnings that are so humble; it’s the car’s! It seems Tyson bought it when he was 16. Hungry to learn about cars, he enrolled in afterschool classes at Pierce College and the West Valley Occupational Center. He loved working on cars, and loved to learn how to do new things, from motor work to bodywork, and everything in between. He decided to get a car of his own he could work on, and unlike most kids looking for a used Toyota or Honda, Tyson wanted something with a little more, well, style.

Tyson found a beat up ’56 Chevy Bel Air. Similar to the ’57 that has been so famous, the ’55, ’56, and ’57 share a lot of design features, with small differences in the body lines and trim.

He began working on it slowly, but the car having been hit by a bus, this ’56 was going nowhere fast. Tyson sectioned out the entire rear part of the car, getting a lot of practice time with the welder. He fixed a brake here, a body part there, but progress was slow. He dreamed of a cherried out silver and white hot rod, but that dream was many years and many thousands of dollars away.

Tyson’s mother, Teri, who raised him since he was age six, took note of his hard work and also of his television viewing habits. It turns out Tyson was a fan of TV’s Overhaulin’, a show where insiders help hot rod god Chip Foose steal a car, then in just a week, turn it into an outrageous custom machine. Teri submitted Tyson’s story to the producers, and they liked it.

BBQ Chevy

Tyson, an avid surfer, taught surfing at a surf camp, and got called to give a lesson. He headed out to Malibu, but was stood up by the caller. It turns out it was part Overhaulin’ plan. Away from the house, Chip Foose’s team showed up and towed the ’56 away.

Unfortunately for the show, the car was in such bad shape, little other than the dash was salvageable. Foose bought two more ’56 Chevy basket cases, and from the three began a lightning fast build. Meanwhile, with it stripped down, the show and some family accomplices torched Tyson’s car—literally burned it up.

Returning the charred mess to Tyson a few days later, you could see during the episode the loss in Tyson’s eyes. His baby, his project car of more than four years, was burned to a crisp.
Fortunately Chip was there, and the show team revealed its true mission. They brought Tyson back to their shop, and revealed a show quality custom ’56 Chevy, built with all the trick stuff, and painted silver and white, just as Tyson had wanted.

When the show brought out his family, including his four sisters and his mother, you could tell it had been hard misleading Tyson, but the result was well worth it.

Bel Air In Hidden Hills

Tyson now lives in Hidden Hills, and while the show’s episode aired years ago, it’s likely you’ll see the Chevy around everyone once and awhile. “I still take it out pretty often,” tells Tyson, “mostly on weekends or evenings going to a nice dinner.” In addition to just cruising, Tyson is regular at car shows.

He’s still adjusting to life in Hidden Hills, and a golf cart is a likely future edition, maybe even a Chevy hot rod cart. He’s also taken over the horses’ tack room (they don’t have horses…yet). All his welding, metal working and auto restoration equipment are living there for the moment.

Weekdays, Tyson is a digital marketer, working on studio projects for a company in Malibu. That’s also convenient because when he’s not working or driving the Chevy, there’s a good chance he’s surfing.

As for Hidden Hills, he’s loving it so far. “We love the house, we love the environment, we love the community overall, and all the events,” tells Tyson. “It’s been great!”


Published with permission from Hidden Hills Magazine, Summer 2015 issue. Subscribe Here.