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Decades of Love and Patience
Frank Alvine has never backed down from a challenge. A self-professed car nut since high school, Frank not only owns restored classic cars, he does much of the restoration work himself. While many restored vehicle owners are not personally involved in the restoration, Frank is intimately involved. Also, unlike many restored vehicle owners, Frank drives his restored vehicles. The Jaguar XK 150 (shown on the cover) is driven around town “weather permitting” by Frank and his wife, Marilyn.
He became interested in reserecting some of the 1950’s high performance cars and Jaguars after buying his second car, a 1952 Olds Super 88 Holiday Hard Top Coupe. Born and raised in Sioux Falls, the second oldest of 6 children born to Paul and Gertrude Alvine, Frank graduated from Washington High School in 1957. He went on to attend USD (graduating in 1962). He then attended the University of Washington, graduating with his medical degree in 1964. He served in the US Navy as a Medical offi cer from 1964 to 1967. He then served his Orthopedic Residencey at the University of Washington, fi nishing 1972. He moved back to Sioux Falls in 1972 and practiced Orthopedic Surgery for 35 years, retiring in 2007. He founded Orthopedic Consultants with his son Greg.
His first restoration was a 1931 Pontiac which he still has in his collection. However, it was the Oldsmobiles and Jaguars that really got his attention for restorations.
The rocket 88 engine introduced in 1949 and the double overhead cam Jag engine were both respected and sought after in the 50’s. Most were raced and very few original specimens remain.
Restoration was therefore necessary to acquire one of these early high performance cars.
The 1960 Jaguar was the last of the XK series. The XK 120 and 140 were introduced in the 1950’s and gave way to the E Type. The E Type Jaguar which was introduced in 1961 had a completely new body style. This XK150 Jag is termed a fi xed head coupe and had the standard double overhead cam, 6 cylinder engine. The car came from a friend in Rapid City. An attempt was made in the mid 70’s to restore this car and it was completely disassembled prior to Frank purchasing it in 1978. The previous owner who had disassembled it was killed in an auto accident. Body rust was a major problem with restoration requiring new rear quarter panels and fl oor pans. The car was restored back to original by Frank himself with a fi nal paint and body work done by Koehler Brothers restoration dept. in Sioux Falls. Frank’s friend, Earl Hass, who works for Tri State Implement, helped him restore this car and others. This restoration project spanned about 10 years. The paint scheme was developed as a deep rose over a white primer to achieve the changing colors in various light conditions.
We photographed the car on a sunny day, which made it difficult because of the high gloss sheen the car delivers under the light of the sun.
His 1963 Jaguar XKE Convertible is another one of his special vehicles he has restored. “It has been a joy to own, drive and maintain”, says Alvine.
“It truly is an early Sports Car Classic and with a 4.2 liter 375 HP engine with triple carbs and a four speed transmission, it is fun to drive”.
Alvine thinks this is the only car like it left in Sioux Falls. When he purchased it in 1973, it was in pretty bad shape. The block was cracked but thanks to help from Hass, it was brought back to original condition by the mideighties. This car is a little different from most in that it has a monocoqupe frame, meaning the frame is all in one piece. This makes for a very light vehicle and together with the performance engine, you can see why this car is a joy to drive. The car was damaged in an accident in the mid-nineties, when Frank was hit in the rear by another vehicle. Again the vehicle was restored and it remains on the road today.
Frank loves his Jaguars (he also owns a 1999 Jaguar XJR, a high performance four door sedan.
However, his 1952 Olds Super 88 Holiday Hard Top Coupe is his favorite restoration.
“This car is similar to the one I had in high school”, remembers Alvine.
“I presently am working on a 1950 club coupe Olds which, when finished, might fulfi ll my dreams of an early 50’s muscle car. The engine will be fuel injected, super charged and intercooled and I think will be quite responsive”.
Another restoration project is a 1952 Olds 98 Convertible. This car has proven to be another labor of love.
Forget about the eight years spent working on the car by Frank and the over 1000 hours put in by Koehler Brothers already in the restoration, the real diffi culty was buying the car in the fi rst place. Frank had his eye on this car for over a decade, starting in 1981. However, the owner was not interested in selling. Frank was persistent and over time after the passing of the owner, his son fi nally gave in and sold the car to Frank in 1998. The car was in pretty bad shape, having sat in a grove of trees for years. It was rusty, in pieces, and was home to some raccoons. The original bumper was one of the few pieces he was able to salvage. Only 3000 of these vehicles were made and this one is believed to have been the parade car used by former Governor Joe Foss.
“I personally talked to him a few years back when he was in Sioux Falls and he thought he could recall this car having been used on festive occasions”, remembers Alvine.
This Olds Convertible, which is now on the show room floor at Koehler Brothers, is presently in the fi nal stages of restoration.
stages of restoration. “The professionals at Koehler Brothers have a depth of knowledge that allows the restoration to proceed on either foreign or domestic vehicles at a fairly rapid rate. Their attention to detail is admirable and their work is show quality.” Koehler Brothers includes three brothers and one son who grew up working in their father’s garage. Each brother went into different areas of the automotive business from mechanical to body repairs to sales. They realized that as a team they could take on nearly any project and complete it with their high standards of craftsmanship. Koehler Brothers have been located on the east edge of the Tea exit since 1996.
Dave Koehler remembers how early on Dr. Jeff Behrens brought in his older corvette that no one else could seem to get running properly. After a couple days of diagnosis, they got the car running like new and the word spread about “those brothers out by Tea”. Since then they have done work for people as far away as the United Arab Emerits and have delivered fi nished cars to many states throughout the United States.
According to Dave, “we enjoy doing projects from all over the world but by far our personal favorites are the July 2009 THE MOTOR MARKET | 11 local clients”. “The stories and history on these vehicles is what makes them special”.
Koehler Brothers have worked on many of Dr. Alvine’s restorations over the years. They have also restored many vehicles for Dr. Kevin Horner. Dr. Horner’s goal is to have a 1955, ‘56, and ’57 Chevy convertible. To date the ‘55 is completed, the ‘56 is in process, and the ‘57 has yet to be found.
“We never know what the next project will be and that is part of the excitement about our business”, says Koehler. To learn more about Koehler Brothers, go to www.kbrestos.com.
Reflecting on his love for restoring classic and import cars, Alvine says, “My basic love is for the early Oldsmobiles of which I have three and of course the early Jaguars. I do most of the parts collections, basic refurbishing of parts, painting, and sand blasting. I have my own shop which allows me to keep the restoration process ongoing and also keeps it more economical. I have restored 8 vehicles, including those currently in process. Gathering the parts is one of the most diffi cult aspects of the restoration. When I search for a specifi c car, I will only consider getting involved if I can also obtain one or two cars to go with it for parts. I enjoy restoring and driving my cars in favorable weather conditions. Occasionally, I will also show them”.
When asked what his next project will be, he said, “My next and final project is to show, maintain, and enjoy the cars that I have already restored”.