- GM 502ci crate V8
- Th400 3-speed automatic transmission
- Ford 9" rear axle
- Custom interior with alligator skin
- Power Steering
- 4-wheel power disc brakes
- Air conditioning by Hot Rod Air
- 18" and 20" Budnik rims
At RK Motors Charlotte, we've sold more tri-five Chevrolets than just about any classic car dealer on the planet. The design is timeless and they're a killer platform for all types of builds. While the OEM-style restorations always get attention, we get just as many requests for cars like this 1955 Bel Air. It takes those classic good looks and wraps them around a stout big block and a custom alligator skin infused leather interior with amenities like Air Conditioning from Hot Rod Air, and a modern stereo system. The finished product is something you can comfortably cruise on sunny weekends and show with pride any chance you get. If you're looking for a tri-five as versatile as the platform itself, take some time and get to know this '55.
The rebirth of this Chevrolet really got moving in 2008 when it received a rotisserie style restoration. The car was stripped to bare metal, the lower portions of the quarter panels and doors were replaced, and then the entire car was shot in a brilliant burgundy metallic red and accented by gorgeous chrome with cream inserts. If you have any questions about how the body work turned out, just take a look down the side of the car today. The paintwork presents well from all angles and really underscores the quality work below. Take a closer look and admire the even gaps between all panels. They definitely didn't leave the factory looking like this!
The front end consists of a one piece smoothed front chrome bumper which sits below a new stainless steel grille and a pair of round sealed beam headlights. A lot of owners scrap the bowtie logo and hood ornament in favor of a cleaner look, but this car wears those pieces well. Behind the cowl, stainless wipers maintain the front glass which is matched by equally nice side and rear pieces which have been lightly tinted. From either side, you'll find all the classic '55 pieces in place. From the looks of things, the trim is all new and, with the glossy black background, that was definitely the right call. Follow the slope of the decklid back to a nicely finished rear view flanked by new taillights. The bowtie emblem remains in its place above the “frenched” license plate bracket and another near-perfect bumper.
Underneath the hood, there is plenty of brightwork to match the exterior. The bay is framed by a massive aluminum radiator equipped with dual electric fans, a smoothed firewall, smoothed inner fender wells, billet aluminum hood hinges, and even more glossy red paint. The star of the show is a GM 502ci crate engine V8 which pumps out an estimated 500hp. The block is dressed in more red paint that matches the exterior and topped with GM aluminum heads, but the attention getter is the Tri-power aluminum intake manifold from Barry Grant that reads “Triple D Induction”. At the front of the block, a Billet Specialties Truc Trac accessory drive continues the chromed out look of the engine bay. Finish was obviously a priority in this bay and it shows across the board.
Shine a light underneath the car to find a pristine Street Rod Garage full perimeter road-ready chassis with fantastic hardware. Behind the big block, a TH400 3-speed automatic transmission sends power to a Ford 9”. Up front you'll find the suspension upgraded to a Heidts tubular upper and lower control arms with Alden coil over shocks. At the rear a 4-bar setup holds the Ford 9” in place with QA1 shocks on the corners. Steering feels great thanks to an upgraded power rack and pinion steering setup. Braking is equally confident thanks to Wilwood 4-wheel power disc brakes that come equipped with polished calipers. The nicely updated chassis meets the road through a combination of 18 and 20-inch Budnik polished aluminum rims wrapped in BFG G-force tires.
While this Bel Air offers plenty of impressive updates throughout, the interior takes a huge step up. Work began with the installation of the Dynomax sound deadening material to keep the passenger compartment quiet at cruising speeds. A layer of fresh tan carpet was installed, then came the full-length custom fabricated steel console. Aside from looking amazing, the console houses the controls for the TH400 and behind the controls for the power windows. At either side, custom bucket seats are wrapped in rich cream leather finished by alligator skin inserts. The door panels and headliner received the leather and alligator treatment as well. A lot of custom interiors look great but simply don't function that well. This one provides a nearly-perfect seating position for the driver which is further aided by a variety of seat adjustments and a polished tilt-steering that allows almost anyone to dial in their own preferred settings. The dash is dressed in red and features a gauge cluster from Classic Instruments alongside the air conditioning controls from Hot Rod Air. From the door handles to the accessory pulls, every detail shines. Behind the rear seats, the trunk shows equally well thanks to custom leather panels, dual batteries, and tan carpet.
The sale of this tri-five build includes a stack of restoration photos and component manuals.
Whether you're looking for something to bring home trophies or carry you to car shows a few states over, this 1955 Bel Air is ready to deliver on all fronts. Stylish, comfortable, and sure to draw a crowd anywhere you park, this is a great take on an iconic car. If a big block tri-five sounds like your kind of ride, put your name on the title and get ready to see the U.S.A in your Chevrolet.
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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.