WHAT started with a ’57 Chevy has, at last count, turned into 147 Chevys.
It may not be apparent on a walk through Dennis Albaugh’s sprawling garage here, but this array of rolling Americana had modest enough beginnings: he wanted Chevrolets from the mid-1950s, when he was a young boy on the family farm.
After buying a ’57 Bel Air convertible from a golfing buddy in 1998, Mr. Albaugh’s next Chevy purchase was a ’58. He then decided to complete the set of the so-called Tri-Five Chevrolets, the models built for 1955, 1956 and 1957.
“I told my wife I was just going to get the tri-series,” Mr. Albaugh said this month during a tour of his private Chevy collection — it is open to the public only for fund-raising events — housed near the unassuming headquarters of his agricultural chemicals business. The office parking lot doubles as the roof of his 28,000-square-foot garage.
A look down the rows of parked cars inside this Chevy treasury makes it clear that Mr. Albaugh, 61, did not stop with the Tri-Fives, or even the ’50s. His quest expanded backward and forward. He hit the muscle cars of the 1960s and the land yachts of the 1970s. He moved into the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, and he gathered up the teens.
All the while, Mr. Albaugh focused on convertibles — a model his father would not let him buy, for safety reasons.
In a span of just 13 years — most actively in the last five — Mr. Albaugh has amassed what may be the definitive compilation of open-top Chevrolets. . . . .