February 26th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

Tomorrow would have been my cousin Tom’s 74th birthday.  Tom died way too young in November of 2019.  Back in the fifties, Tom was the first kid in Upsala to see the newest Chevrolet model every fall. His grandfather, Bill Hagstrom, owned Hagstrom Chevrolet.  The auto transport would come to Upsala in the evening with the car wrapped in a covering and Grandpa Bill would have it delivered to his home on the edge of town.  He would have it stored in the garage behind his house.  Later, he would let Tommy into the garage to get a look at the brand new model before the unveiling at the dealership. It was a huge event in this small town.

It must have been pretty exciting to work in the design department of Chevrolet back then.  The 1954 Chevrolet was quite different from the ’55 and the ’57.  Both of those are collector cars today.  In those days there was only one body design with the addition of chrome being the major difference between the Biscayne, the Bel Air and one other.  In 1958 Chevrolet introduced the Impala.

I bought my first car from Tom’s dad, Uncle Duke.  It was a white 1954 Chevrolet “150” which was the low end of the line.  Black rubber took the place of chrome on various parts.  I paid $300 for it and my grandmother Laura Ramlo had to co-sign the loan from Farmers State Bank.  The owner of the bank, Axel Borgstrom, was not very loose with his money. 

Today “Hagstrom Chevrolet” is Upsala Motors.  They are located in beautiful downtown Upsala.  Upsala Motors is a program sponsor for Radio Lab every Saturday here in central Minnesota.  Stop in and say hi to the Peterson brothers, Dean, Tim and Mike. 

 “Love is the magician, the enchanter, that changes worthless things to joy, and makes right royal kings and queens of common clay.  Love is the perfume of that wondrous flower, the heart; and without that sacred passion, that divine swoon, we are less than beasts; but with love, earth is heaven, and we are gods.”  Robert Green Ingersoll.

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