Over the past few years, many of the world's finest tri-fives have graced our RK Motors Charlotte showroom. According to sales, '55-'57 pro-tourers are often considered our best offerings. And it's easy to see why when something like this incredible Bel Air, a car that backs smooth Chevrolet Performance power with a choice Fat Man chassis and timeless two-tone upholstery, gets busy casting bright glares in our sedate photo booth. Searching for a sizzling custom that mixes proven mechanicals with neck-snapping appeal? Congratulations, you've found your next classic!
THE MOTORAMIC CHEVROLET
Sealed in a superb combination of red and white two-stage, this slick Bel Air is the beneficiary of a body-off, nut-and-bolt restoration that's both clean and precise. That professional rebuild, completed by the pros at Mooresville, North Carolina's Chewnings Unlimited, massaged the car's enticing drop-top profile into the most perfect surfacing possible. That surfacing is founded on sinuous panels that are solid and well aligned. And today, this Chevy rolls as a first-rate classic that mixes polished tradition with rich customization!
Not surprisingly, this double-nickel's familiar fifties pigment creates a fabulous foundation for a select array of choice bolt-ons. At the front of the car, a fully optioned bumper bends around a polished grille, clear parking lamps and chrome-trimmed halogen headlights. An ornate Chevrolet crest leads a requisite Jetbird hood ornament that's centered on smoked and stainless-trimmed glass that's cleared by polished wipers. Tight white vinyl shades tidy mirrors, which reflect guarded door handles and traditional Bel Air Speed Spears. Speaking of Bel Air, correct Bel Air ornamentation looks great between stylized rocker guards and factory fuel door armor. And at the back of the car, a second fully optioned bumper frames a second Chevrolet crest, brilliant tail lamp emblems and traditional halogen taillights.
THE SMALL BLOCK CHEVROLET
Engineered by the experts at Chevrolet Performance, this classic's 350 cubic inch ZZ4 twists a stout 355 horsepower into 405 lb./ft. of gravel-churning torque! At the top of the bright red mill, a billet air cleaner funnels breeze into a coated and electronically choked Quick Fuel 4-barrel, which is supplemented by stainless lines, a Lokar linkage and a coated fuel pump. That pot pours through a chromed Edelbrock Performer EPS intake, which is married to lightweight aluminum heads. Those heads tilt chromed billet valve covers between chromed billet breathers and billet-loomed plug wires that are snapped to a reliable HEI distributor. Spent gases are jettisoned through a slick set of Sanderson block hugger headers, which dodge a fully polished starter. Cooling comes courtesy of a polished aluminum radiator, which hangs quick spinning puller fans and a polished expansion tank between corrugated tubes and a polished core support. The cam keeps spinning thanks to a chromed Billet Specialties V-Trac pulley system, which spins an Edelbrock water pump between a polished alternator, a polished AC compressor and polished power steering components. The compliments keep flowing thanks to a highly detailed, well-executed engine bay that stacks a smoothed firewall behind smoothed inner fenders. And everything, from the car's billet hood latch to its chromed brake components, is set up to be as impressive as it is enjoyable!
FAT MAN FABRICATIONS
Park this Chevy on a lift and you'll find a super clean undercarriage that's nice enough to show and tough enough to go. The choice motor twists a predictable 700R4 4-speed, which spins a proven Ford 9-inch that's finished with 3.55 gears. That restoration-fresh pumpkin rides a tough 4-bar rear-clip, which, along with a big sway bar and adjustable QA-1 coil-overs, integrates nicely into a sturdy Fat Man Fabrications frame. At the other end of that frame, a Mustang II-style front-half centers power rack-and-pinion steering between tubular control arms, a second thick sway bar and two more coil-overs. Quick stops are a cinch thanks to power-assisted discs. Stainless exhaust pipes spent gases through crisp Magnaflow mufflers. And at the corners, polished Billet Specialties Vintecs spin 235/45ZR17 Nitto NT555 Extreme ZRs in front of 255/45ZR18 Nitto NT555 Extreme ZRs.
TRADITIONAL IS GOOD
The spectacular cockpits in second-generation Bel Airs need no introduction, but here goes. Depress the button on this convertible's mirrored door handle and you'll find a gorgeous red and white interior that stays very true to the car's factory scheme. Rebuilt front and rear bench seats are all-day comfortable, featuring supple, French-stitched hides that fit well and feel great. Beneath those seats, fresh Daytona Carpet floats matching Bel Air floor mats next to clean kick panels and bright Fisher sills. At the edges of that rug, retro door panels anchor small armrests and stainless handles beneath color-keyed toppers. A curvaceous dash hangs hardware for Vintage Air climate control beneath clean telemetry and modern, direct-fit audio. And the driver spins a red steering wheel around a full horn ring and a polished, titling column.
The product of a detailed, ground-up build that would probably take a second mortgage to duplicate, this Chevy rolls on the right side of impressive. It's a highly desirable tri-five that's been carefully fitted with all the right stuff to be one seriously cool cruiser. If you're dreaming of the perfect blend of lavish '50s style and modern, reliable performance, you've found the ultimate classic!