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February 1, 2014

Red hot rod ‘dream come true’

(Continued)

NORMAN —

Letta started learning these skills young. As a teenager he attended Hutchison Central Technical High School in Buffalo, N.Y. Hutch Tech opened in 1904 and is still in operation today. In 1961 it was one of the first high schools in the world with a digital computer, an IBM model 1620.

“You had to take a test to get in,” Letta said. “And there were no girls.”

Hot rods were part of his life even back then. His first vehicle was a 1950 Mercury four door sedan.

“My uncle owned it and was going to give it to me but my dad made me pay him $100 for it,” Letta said.

He graduated from high school in 1964, then entered GM’s toolmaker apprentice program at their engine manufacturing facility in Tonawanda, N.Y.

“I came to Oklahoma City in 1978 with my wife and four little kids,” he said. “The weather’s nicer here, there’s not as much snow.”

As a family man there was little time or money for hot rods but Letta never lost his interest in them.

“We were young and didn’t have a lot of money,” he said.

Over the years, however they did manage to own several fast rides including a 1966 Chevrolet Nova, 1966 Chevrolet Impala convertible and a 1968 Ford Torino fastback.

Letta has always had an affinity for convertibles and that’s one reason he likes his current hot rod so much.

“This car is something I’ve always wanted since I was a young man,” he said. “I finally got to have my dream come true. It’s just like driving a modern car with power steering and brakes.”

Have you seen a cool vehicle around town? Writer Doug Hill’s always on the lookout for future Dig My Ride columns. E-mail him at Hillreviews@hotmail.com.

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