Walt Got His Dream Car. He Didn't Live To Enjoy It

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Walt worked harder than most people, and served his community more than most people do. That’s not a knock against anyone else. It’s just a testament of how tireless the man was. But he wasn’t looking for any special recognition, no grand displays of gratitude or accolades. All he wanted was a ‘55 Chevrolet Bel-Air when he retired. And that’s exactly what he got. But sometimes timing can be tragic.

Learn about the life and death of Walter Appell, as told by his two sons and his widow on this, the season finale of Tempest.

Kenny Appell, Walt’s son, is one of my closest friends. We grew up together. But I hardly knew his dad because the guy was always at work or volunteering.


Kenny and I briefly lost touch in when we both went off to college. When we reconnected after we’d graduated, he told me his father had passed away. He didn’t say too much else about it, but he wore his pain on his sleeve. Or, more specifically, on his hands, where he had the words “LOVE LOST” tattooed across his knuckles.

I knew Walt was a car guy, and I knew there was an old classic Chevy sitting in the garage of the house Kenny grew up in. But I never asked Kenny to tell me too much about it for fear of upsetting him. But when I started doing Tempest, a podcast that documents our heartbreaking and hilarious relationships with cars, we both knew it was time to tell the tale.

It’s funny at times. Sad, too, of course. More than anything, it’s real. A real story about how hard we work, how much we love our family and friends, and how much a car can mean. I hope you’ll join me for the last episode of Tempest for now, and let me know what you think in the comments. Give it a listen.

Tempest is available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, GooglePlay, iHeart Radio and every week here on Jalopnik, too. And hit us up at tempest@jalopnik.com if you want to learn more.


Tempest is written, hosted, and produced by David Obuchowski. Mandana Mofidi is the Fusion Media Group Executive Director of Audio. Editorial oversight provided by Patrick George and Kristen Lee.