Gear Heads band together for ‘Duke of Earl’ project

Published on Wed, Aug 10, 2011
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Gordy Earl drives the restored 1964 Chevy Malibu.


A Blaine family dealing with a daughter’s serious illness got a surprise recently when the Gear Heads of Whatcom County presented them with their own car – running again and spotless.

Gordy Earl and his daughter, Heather Earl, who is currently undergoing treatment for a brain tumor in Virginia, own a 1964 Chevy Malibu convertible that Heather’s great-grandfather bought new. It had fallen into disrepair by the time Heather was born.

Heather and Gordy began working on the car together in 1997, Gordy said. After a few missteps involving crossed spark plug wires and a blown-out muffler, the car was driven as often as time and the weather would allow.

It was last running in 2009, when the Earls drove it in Blaine’s Fourth of July parade.

With Gordy due to return from his seasonal job in Alaska on July 28, the Gear Heads started planning early. In June they towed the car from Gordy’s barn to a storage unit in Blaine to begin repairs. Meeting once a week to work together on the Malibu, the Gear Heads were supported by contributions from the Whatcom Cruisers car club and individual Gear Heads members. Hawley’s Auto Parts donated the necessary parts at cost.

The car was presented to Gordy and his wife Debbie on Friday, July 29, which also happened to be their 10th wedding anniversary.

The Earls drove the Malibu to the fundraiser for Heather, held July 30 at Nicki’s Bella Marina in Bellingham.