- Completed in 2013
- BASF Foose Signature paint
- Upgraded LS3 V8 (est. 560hp)
- GM 4L60E 4-speed automatic
- Ride Tech air ride suspension
- Power steering / Wilwood disc brakes
- Billet Specialties 18/20" wheels
- Custom leather interior
- Vintage Air climate control
Tri-five Chevrolets were great cars from the factory but you could argue that they're even better as a platform for custom builds. Regardless if you're into gassers, pro-tourers, or just subtle resto-mods, these cars can play the roll convincingly. This '55 took a turn down the pro-touring path and never looked back, collecting some impressive upgrades along the way. The car is powered by a 560hp LS3 V8 backed by a 4L60E, a custom chassis with air ride, and a list of unique details guaranteed to draw a clear line between this Bel Air and anything else on the show field. Completed this year, the car not only presents as new - it IS new. If you're ready to collect trophies in a truly different kind of tri-five, take a closer look at this '55 Bel Air.
Getting the best out of a body style sometimes require moving away from the factory color charts. In the case of this '55, it took borrowing a couple of colors from the Chip Foose catalog. The lower portions are covered in Champagne Metallic, sprayed alongside Jade Metallic which covers the roof, quarters, and rear profile. Even by factory standards, it's a subtle combination but one that pays off big time, affording the car a unique presence regardless of where it is parked. The work continues underneath the car where the underside was treated to a layer of Lizard Skin sound deadener and low gloss black paint for a finished look from all angles. Under that top coat, the door handles have been shaved and the firewall has been smoothed, furthering the car's ultra-sleek look.
Chevrolet incorporated a lot of great details into the design of the '55 Bel Air and the best of them were blended with carefully chosen contemporary pieces to complete this cruiser. The Ferrari-inspired grille is still the centerpiece for the front but there is some impressive work surrounding it. The headlight openings have been modified to accept Jeep Cherokee headlights while the hood has been nosed for a clean leading line matched by the smoothed chrome bumper below. The greenhouse benefits from deleted vent windows and fresh stainless trim while bullet-style mirrors hang at both sides. The profile view holds onto more original pieces than you might expect with the side spears, quarter molding, and Bel Air badges all in their factory locations. Chevrolet didn't move the gas filler neck behind the driver taillight until the following year, so the builder added their own electrically-operated version to this '55, shaving the original flap-style gas door in the process. The rear view is completed by a single center-mounted Bel Air emblem and a smoothed chrome bumper.
Like any other hobby, the car world goes through trends and, right now, if a car can physically fit an LS-series V8, someone has done the swap and probably even composed a how-to guide. The builder of this '55 was obviously aware of that trend and went above and beyond to make sure this Bel Air was unmatched on the show field. The core is a GM LS3 which debuted as the base model engine for the 2008 Corvette. In stock form, it made an impressive 430hp and 424lb-ft of torque, propelling the C6 to 4.3 0-60 runs. This one goes above and beyond with some carefully chosen upgrades that improved that number significantly. For starters, the engine now displaces 27 extra cubic inches, bringing the grand total to 403. A hydraulic roller cam has also been added to mix. Paired with factory L92 heads and a the stock fuel injection system, the LS3 now produces a stout 560hp. The front of the engine turns powers conveniences like air conditioning and power steering through a Billet Specialties serpentine system while a custom radiator and a single electric fan work to keep the setup cool. The whole thing resides under a custom carbon fiber engine cover which, combined with the shaved firewall and custom radiator cowl, gives the engine compartment a high-end look you'll be proud to show off.
Underneath all of that show-ready sheet metal is an impressive chassis aided by King Richard himself. The Petty-engineered setup incorporates a fully boxed subframe with polished upper and lower stainless control arms. Out back a matching Fatman three-link keeps the rear end planted. The whole thing rides on a Ride Tech air bags with the air tank and compressors cleverly hidden from plain sight. When cruising the fair grounds at low speed, you'll appreciate the benefits of the power rack and pinion steering and, at higher speeds, the Wilwood four-wheel disc brakes keep the driving experience predictable. In the middle of that modern chassis, a GM 4L60E four-speed automatic transmission knows just when to shift, spinning power back to a Ford 9-inch rear end in a smoothed and painted housing. The exhaust system is custom 3-inch Kooks creation with a cross over and turn downs at the bumper. This isn't some standard catalog item either – it's a $3k piece designed and installed at Kooks' shop in Statesville, NC. Displayed alongside the polished driveshaft and stainless fuel tank it adds up to one impressive presentation. The final piece is a set of Billet Specialties 18 and 20-inch five-spokes wrapped in a Nitto 235/40ZR18 front and 265/30ZR20 rear tires that look absolutely killer tucked under that vintage GM sheet metal.
Step inside the car to find a tasteful interior which elevates the car to a whole new level. Where a lot of builds lean heavily on GM design to carry the cabin, this one committed and customized nearly every available inch. The show starts at the door panels which have been thoroughly reworked. With plenty of soft downward-sweeping lines, the panels offer armrests, custom speaker grilles, and a sense of motion the stock pieces simply didn't have. The door sill plates are finished in tan, anchoring matching carpet topped by custom floor mats. If the front seats look familiar, it's because they're sourced from a Chrysler 300. Wrapped in tan leather with a green insert they look and feel equally good and offer plenty of adjustments. Between the front buckets, a tapered custom center console extends towards the dash, offering room for the gear selector and an expansive storage space that houses the ignition lock cylinder, controls for the air ride system, and a Vintage Air panel for the HVAC system. Moving those items into the console allows for a clean and simple dash, reworked to accommodate billet air vents, a Dakota Digital gauge cluster, a JVC AM/FM/CD/iPod-compatible head unit, and a unique sand cast and chrome plated '55 Bel Air emblem placed in the center. The trunk is finished to same high standards with custom two-tone leather wrapped panels and matching tan carpeting covering the space, lit by courtesy lights with a hidden switch by the passenger trunk hinge.
The sale of this sleek '55 Bel Air includes build receipts and component manuals for everything from the JVS head unit to the windshield wipers.
Car ads always like to say “no expense spared” but very few can deliver on that statement. This '55 Bel Air follows through in every imaginable way. From the carbon fiber engine cover and $3k Kooks exhaust system to the impressive chassis and thoughtful custom interior, nothing on this car came cheap nor were any decisions made on the fly. Everything here works together as part of a unified vision. If it's a vision you see eye-to-eye with, admire all you want but act fast because there are few automotive commodities hotter than a genuinely great '55 Chevrolet Bel Air.
You May Also Be Interested In
What Customers Are Saying
First I would like to say that the staff at RK Motors were very professional and courteous. I was very impressed with the write-up and the details that were presented on this car. The photo shoot was amazing and the video was outstanding. Tony Klein, the consignment manager was amazing to work with. Tony always answered all of my questions within a timely manner. I was impressed with the time frame in which my vehicle was sold. I would and have recommended RK Motors to all of my car enthusiasts. Thank You RK Motors for a great job!