Cheney Free Press -


By Luella Dow

Cheney's own "Bob the Builder" turns rust into musts


Bob Sbarbaro

Bob Sbarbaro stands with a recent project.

Beauty is not always in a pretty girl or a gorgeous sunset. How about a 1935 Ford ? “I went to college to be a pharmacist and ended up doing cars,” Bob Sbarbaro said.

“The particular car I admired was commissioned by a man in Palm Springs, Calif.,” Sbarbaro said. It had an old rusty body. He built the frame and often builds or modifies other parts of cars he can’t buy.

This car now has a 1950 motor in it. With a vision of an old car in my mind I asked Sbarbaro how fast it would go, he said “Over 100 mph.” He laughed at the prospects of finding a place to verify that speed. Not on my road, please. Maybe a race track in California.

Sbarbaro said it takes about a year to complete the transition of a rusty piece of junk into a work of real art. Sbarbaro does not do the painting. While that is in progress he said, “We do the small jobs on the cars.”

He gave me a peek at the inner workings of this car that reminded me of a racehorse. All the important mechanical parts I couldn’t possibly name gleamed as nicely as the outside. I didn’t put my grubby fingers on them, but he mentioned, “We wear white gloves to be sure we don’t scratch anything or get oil on the car. Oil is very hard to get off.’’

A couple paces more and Sbarbaro uncovered another beauty. “This is ours,” he said. I was looking at a 1932 gleaming red Ford pickup. Mrs Sparbaro, who goes by “D” is a professional upholsterer. Sparbaro invited me to touch the seat. This pickup would, if it could, shake its head in disgust at the hard seat of my “modern” car. Sparboro said they drive this pickup to Spokane or to the lake for fly-fishing. And as I said to myself, “All in luxurious comfort.”

Sbarbaro hasn’t spent every minute reviving cars. He is rightly proud of their three-story log house he built. Does he look back at his college days and wish he had become a pharmacist? Not at all. We might all have to travel to Palm Springs one of these days and view that 1935 Ford as it purrs along in the sunshine.

Luella Dow is a Cheney-area author. She can be reached at


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