We all know that 'tri-five' Chevys are some of the most popular and in-demand collector cars on the planet. Last month we sold our perfect black '57 convertible for a cool $105K; and it was just the latest in a string of restored-to-original six figure Bel Airs which seem to leave our RK Motors Charlotte showroom almost as fast as they arrive. That's all well and good if you want a chrome trimmed show boat which is great for garages and Saturday afternoon parking lots, but what about those of us who demand more? Combining a healthy dose of pro-touring attitude with one of the best Chevrolet designs ever produced, this irresistible red and silver 1955 Bel Air custom is a 502 powered monster that puts a new spin on an old favorite. Best of all, you can have all that traditional 'shoebox' Chevy personality AND upgraded mechanicals for about half of what those restored-to-original cars are selling for!
This sweet looking '55 hot rod is a no-compromises build which combines everything great about Bel Air design with modern technology that's more akin to a new Corvette. Starting life as a simple '55 Chevrolet sports coupe, a recent frame-off restoration ensured that its long and tall body panels were returned to their rock solid factory appearance. Once the body was free of ripples and imperfections, killer glowing red and faded silver basecoat/clearcoat was applied to exactly duplicate the cars more timid original two-tone paint. It's very apparent that someone spent a lot of time getting this rounded masterpiece smooth as panel alignment is great from front to back and the entire build exhibits excellent details and first-rate finishing work. Today, this Bel Air car presents exceptionally well and has the visual punch of a fire engine while maintaining a clean and modern look.
The '55 is certainly the cleanest of the 'tri-five' Chevys with its minimal trim and crisp, modern styling devoid of the massive chrome and exaggerated proportions that typically characterize 50s era cars. Up front, a trademark body-width Bel Air bumper sits below a pristine chrome grille, clear parking lights and slick aftermarket headlights. At the top of that chrome grille, a factory fresh Chevrolet crest is centered below a new chrome hood ornament that looks fantastic against the cars bright red paint. At the back of the hood, smoked glass sits inside of new stainless windshield trim and faded silver door frames. On the sides of the car, new Chevrolet scripts lead sharp front fender lines and straight stainless trim spears which are highlighted with both black and body matched red paint. At the back of the car, a second body-width chrome bumper hangs over polished exhaust tips, and clear chrome trimmed tail lights are split by a second pristine Chevrolet crest and highlighted by small chrome Chevrolet emblems.
Pop the cars domed hood and you'll find an impressive 502 cubic inch Chevrolet motor that has been completely outfitted for both show and go. At the top of the motor, a large satin finished air cleaner forces air into a giant four barrel Holley carburetor that is complete with braided hoses and an inline fuel pressure gauge. Below that carburetor, a high rise Holley Team G intake holds an MSD Blaster 2 coil which sends spark through an MSD billet distributor and a firewall mounted MSD ignition system to black Taylor performance plug wires. In front of the motor fresh V-belts spin a chrome alternator above an upfitted power steering pump, and at the sides of the motor, exhaust exits through great looking ceramic coated long tube headers. Cooling is supplied by a heavy duty aluminum radiator that is equipped with two quick spinning electric fans, a billet overflow tank and a custom body matched fan shroud. Despite its large displacement, the big 502 fits well in this Bel Airs clean engine compartment and details such as evenly coated satin black inner fenders, chrome hood hinges, chrome Chevrolet scripted valve covers and a chrome master cylinder add a nice finishing touch.
At the bottom of this '55 Chevy the custom theme continues with a smooth shifting Richmond Super Street 5-speed transmission that sends power to a Ford 9 inch rear end which is equipped with both traction bars and 4.11 Richmond gears. Braking is supplied by an SSBC four wheel disc system that is complete with slotted front rotors, and a nice true dual exhaust system sends spent gases through Flowmaster mufflers and stainless tips. The cars satin black frame and floorpan complement a rebuilt “Glide Ride” ball-joint suspension which benefits from stronger components and upfitted power steering. The details are fully sorted too, with a new gas tank supplying new stainless fuel lines, stainless bolts holding everything together and a polished oil pan adding a little flash. All this head turning style rides on 18 inch 5 spoke Boyd Coddington wheels that are wrapped in 225/40 front and 285/40 rear Dunlop radials.
Climb inside this Bel Air and you'll find a completely custom interior that features dramatic colors and enough great looking aluminum trim to balance Alcoa's books for a day. Featured in bright red and black leather, the cars modern seats are all-day comfortable and the leather fits without any wrinkles or annoying creases. Overhead there's a new headliner, and below the seats like-new black carpet lies below chrome trimmed pedals, carpeted floor mats with red “Bel Air” scripts and a chrome Long shifter. On the doors, custom black and red door panels look great behind billet handles and feature trick billet arm rests that are branded with cool “55” inscriptions. In front of the driver, the cars bright red dash has been completely trimmed in stylized polished aluminum from door to door and features a passenger's side “55” inscription, a center mounted direct fit Chevrolet tape deck and a combination of Classic Instruments and Autometer gauges. Connecting the driver to the road is a polished steering wheel that sits on a polished steering column and mimics the look of the cars original wheel down to its horn ring. Behind the cockpit, Pioneer speakers, which match the speakers found in the cars custom kick panels, hang over a custom upholstered trunk that features the same red and black theme as the car's interior.
What started out as America's first low-priced hardtop coupe has become a legend; and the 1955 Bel Air is one of the most collectable, highly-sought classic cars of all time. Sure, there are a lot of nice 'tri-five' Chevys out there, but how many are built to this level and carry this kind of individual appeal? If you've been looking for an exceptionally nice, custom Bel Air that has twice the street credibility of an original car for a fraction of the price, this '55 Bel Airs combination of performance and style can't be beat! Call today!
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