Everyone has a memory of their first day of work. For Steve Ellefson, that memory is when he drove his beige, 1967 Ford Galaxie 500, to his new job as an Industrial Engineer at Clark Equipment Melrose Division, forty-one years ago.
The day was Jan. 7, 1974 when Ellefson was en-route to his first job. “It was extremely cold out, 27 degrees below zero to be exact, and the car even started,” he says. “At one point I remember realizing my car had been with me throughout high school and college and then on my first day of work,” he says. “I never thought it would be with me at the end of my career, though.”
In 1975, Ellefson ended up selling his Galaxie 500. But like an old friend, Ellefson never lost track of it. “I realized I wanted to get it back sometime,” he says. “It was my first car.” And when the opportunity arose several years later, Ellefson purchased it back.
In the meantime, Ellefson began his position at Basin Electric as an auditor, June 25,1984. His title was later changed to Manager of Internal Auditing. Just as his job titles changed, so did the name of his car. “Before the car was a straight Galaxie 500, but I turned it into a better model,” he explains. “I did a total frame-off restoration and added options, so now it’s an XL.” When Ellefson restored the car he also re-painted the beige color, only to realize, “I just couldn’t love it,” he says. He then painted the car “carnival red.”
“It was much more eye-catching and I wanted something that would look fast,” he says.
Looking back, Ellefson recognizes another similarity between his career and his car. “There’s been a lot of work that went into both and I take pride in both,” he says.
Last Monday marked Ellefson’s last day of work at Basin Electric. He decided to end his career the same way he started it, by driving his Galaxie 500. “I usually keep it stored away for the winter, but I brought it out for today’s occasion. It’s neat how this car started out as just basic work transportation and ended up as pleasure transportation,” he says.