- 6.0 liter LS2 V8 that makes 400 horsepower
- 4L60E 4-speed automatic transmission
- Modified suspension
- Power rack and pinion steering
- Four wheel disc brakes
- 17 inch Boyd Coddington wheels
- Haartz cloth top
- Custom interior
- Vintage Air conditioning
- $165K build
With '57 Chevy convertibles being six-figure collectables in factory-correct condition, it takes a very special guy to pull the gloves off and build what may very well be the world's nicest Bel Air resto-mod. But, as you'll see, the results are definitely worth the $165K it required to finish this amazing car, as few tri-fives possess its combination of sheer performance and classic style. Ready for a no-compromises build that combines everything great about the '57 Bel Air with technology that's more akin to a modern Corvette? Here it is!
You'll have a hard time finding a '57 Chevy that's straighter than this one. Once the obligations of a “correct” restoration are removed, you'd be amazed what a good body man can do to vintage sheet metal, and this car is proof. Its panels, including those unique doors and quarters, are amazingly flat, without a single ripple or wave to be seen. Fit and finish is excellent; just look at the way the hood fits and how tight the gaps truly are. And then there's the paint, which is two-stage urethane that's been wet-sanded and buffed to a spectacular shine beyond anything that you're likely to see on any AACA show field.
'57 Chevys were renowned for their brilliant use of chrome and bright metal trim, and one look at this convertible tells you all you need to know about how to do it right. From the distinctive anodized aluminum inserts in its quarters to the gently curving stainless that begins just behind its headlights, this car is exceptionally well executed and superbly finished. All of that trim has been professionally returned to show standards. And every factory piece remains intact and in place.
Back in 1957, Chevrolet's top motor was the fuel-injected 283, but today this Bel Air packs a modern-tech LS2 cribbed from a C6 Corvette. With 6.0 liters of displacement and a solid 400 horsepower, it's a lot more motor than Chevy engineers ever envisioned in a workaday Chevrolet. Nevertheless, the mill is a neat fit, and putting a small block Chevy in your classic Chevy is never a bad idea. Naturally, this LS block retains all of its Corvette accessories, including a modern alternator, power steering, power brakes and Vintage Air conditioning, so it drives and feels like a new car. All the metal pieces took a trip under the polishing wheel before being installed. And the Corvette's plastic coil covers were treated to a brilliant coat of bright red paint. Up front, there's a massive aluminum radiator that's fitted with electric fans and a custom fan shroud that neatly dodges a conical air cleaner. Custom inner fenders were fabricated to hide wiring and plumbing, yet still provide unrestricted access for service. Designed to be on display, there's not a single component in the entire engine compartment that wasn't massaged, polished, painted, or modified. And the many hours it took to create this under-hood showcase were definitely well spent.
Backing that slick LS2 up is a 4L60E 4-speed automatic that was designed to work in conjunction with the car's engine management software to provide seamless performance. Out back, an original Chevy rear end hangs on re-arched leaf springs that give the car a slightly lower stance. The front suspension is augmented by tubular control arms and a new rack-and-pinion steering rack. Spectacular red and black paint contrasts the car's over-restored floors with its glossy frame. As expected, there's a bright stainless exhaust system. And no respectable resto-mod is going to go cruising with that many horses and ordinary brakes, so this '57 wears vented and cross-drilled discs at every corner. Choosing the right wheel for your custom is always difficult, but I think you'll agree this builder nailed it with a set of 17-inch Boyd Coddington billet aluminum hoops that spin 225/55/17 Premium Radials.
Inside this Chevy, a custom, cost-no-object interior has been stitched out of fine leather hides. Both front and rear seats wear lovely new covers that feature custom stitching and seams that line up almost perfectly. New door panels were created to match, but use correct trim and handles to tie everything together. The original gauges have been replaced by Classic Instruments units that perfectly complement their leather surroundings. The car's classy dash was restored to new condition, and tan leather was wrapped around the rim of its custom billet steering wheel. Naturally, the aforementioned Vintage Air conditioning system, which was neatly integrated into the original dash, features discreet vents. An AM/FM/cassette player feeds speakers hidden throughout the interior. Overhead, a tan Haartz top has been sewn around a glass rear window and, when folded, fits neatly under a matching tan boot. And finally, the car's trunk has been upholstered to match its cockpit, with a large Chevrolet emblem complementing matching side pockets.
This awesome tri-five's sale includes a small stack of restoration receipts and a large display board.
With merely shakedown miles since it was completed, this is exactly the kind of car that ends up on the covers of magazines and taking home the big awards at shows. Professionally built, no corners have been cut and the restoration work is absolutely first-rate. With an initial construction cost of over $165K, this Bel Air obviously represents the best of everything, and it all works as it should. Take this Chevy for a drive, or trailer it to shows, and watch the crowds form. Everyone loves the '57s, but some cars are a lot nicer than others. If you've been looking for the ultimate tri-five to enjoy for years to come, you just found it!
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What Customers Are Saying
After hearing good things about the people at RK Motors, I contacted them regarding consignment of my street rod. I found Tony Klein to be a pleasure to work with. He was very professional and forthcoming in our communications. He evaluated my vehicle and made suggestions of enhancements which would help ensure the desired result would be achieved in the marketing of the vehicle. We agreed on an acceptable sale price. Following the completion of the recommended items, I brought the vehicle to RK for consignment. After a thorough inspection and correction of some minor issues at what I considered a fair price, the vehicle was offered for sale. It sold quickly with me receiving the agreed value. I would have to repeat the recommendation that I received. RK Motors does what they say they will do, and obtains for the seller a fair and agreed value. What more could you ask for?Doug C.