- Ridler Great 8 winner
- Over 28 awards overall
- Extensive 10-year build
- GM 502 crate engine
- Fully polished TH400 automatic transmission
- Polished Mark Williams rear end
- Fully custom leather interior
- Air ride suspension
- One-off Boyd Coddington wheels
When you spend as much time around custom cars we do, it's easy to feel like you've got a good handle on the automotive scene. Every car has limits and most of them have been found by now, right? About the time that thought last crossed our minds, the shop door flung open, a tremendous rumble shook the building and this completely radical '50 Chevrolet arrived. This is more than a custom car – it's an absolute game changer. Built over a 10 year period by a drag racing veteran, this once mild-mannered Chevrolet coupe has been masterfully massaged into the rolling piece of art you see today thanks to time, expert craftsmanship and six or seven wheelbarrows full of cash.
Its evolution is a familiar one involving a man who finds a pristine classic car without even being in the market for one. Within a few days, a deal is struck, the car comes home and a few basic modifications are planned. Dreams of the prestigious Ridler award start to become more frequent and suddenly the build becomes something more extensive than anyone could have anticipated. The difference between this story and most others is that the Ridler attempt was largely successful. In 2006, this Chevy earned its place in the Ridler Great 8 alongside cars built by the likes of legendary designer Chip Foose. All in all, the car has claimed first place at over 28 shows and we're not talking Frisch's cruise-ins either. Its victories include the PPG Dream Car award, first place at Carlisle and numerous Super Chevy wins. If you're the type of enthusiasts who will settle for nothing but the best, this Chevrolet is a must have.
The most common reaction to this car is to believe it is some kind aftermarket body. The awe sets in when viewers begin to realize just how much work has actually been performed. Up front, the fascia has been completely transformed with Mercedes headlights and a custom chrome grille. From the forward slope to the snug fitting metal front bumper, absolutely everything has been modified in some way. Up top, a highly modified Saturn hood fits the look perfectly. The roofline, including front and rear glass, is borrowed from a Dodge Neon though most folks would be hard pressed to identify the shape thanks to the alcoves that been carved out in front of the C-pillars. Naturally, the doors and every inch of trim have been shaved in favor of the clean look. Out back, everything is smoothed with subtle tail lights taking up very little of the available real estate. Like the front bumper, the rear has been tucked neatly against the body and features routing for the custom exhaust system. The amount of body work involved in the creation of this car is incredible but it's the execution that is truly mind blowing.
A glossy two tone paint job was chosen to cover the extensive body work. It features PPG Chianti Red on the upper half with Lamborghini Orange adding a healthy dose of contrast to the lower portions. Peak underneath the car and you'll see that orange paint continues on to the floor pans, suspension components and frame. On the body, the two predominant colors are broken up by airbrush work that simulates a thin strip of chrome trim that terminates into a small graphic featuring crossed flags reminiscent of the Corvette logo. A black stripe runs from the logo all the way to the headlights. Behind the logo, marbleized orange paint fills the gap between the airbrush work and a magenta stripe that has been outlined by hand in neon green and extends all the way around the back end. As you may have already guessed from the PPG Dream Car award, the paintwork is stunning and shows incredibly well from all angles.
If your response thus far has been, “Yeah, but is it fast?”, that answer is a resounding “YES.” Power comes from a fuel injected 502cid big block Chevy from Street & Performance. Off the shelf, this engine produced over 500hp. With the addition of a Comp roller cam and custom sheet metal intake manifold, it's safe to assume a few more ponies have been awakened. Up top, a custom air intake, designed exclusively for this car and wearing the same orange PPG paint as the lower half of the body, feeds air through that stainless intake and into the aluminum heads. Those heads are covered by custom chrome valve covers with carbon fiber inserts. With the exception of the neatly tucked spark plug wires, there isn't a visible wire in this bay. A polished radiator has also been expertly hidden under a custom body-matched panel that covers the front of the bay and forms a tidy square around the big block. The setup breathes through Hooker headers that exhale through a custom polished stainless exhaust system featuring Stainless Specialties mufflers. We have half a dozen big block powered cars at any time but the angry snarl emitted from those polished pipes is unlike any other we've heard.
Put this Chevy on a lift and you'll find an undercarriage as wild as the body. That snarling 502 is mated to a fully polished TH400 3-speed automatic transmission with a B&M torque converter. That tried and true transmission has been brought into modern times with a Mooneyes Smart Shift system that scraps the tradition shift lever in favor of a digital push button unit. From there, power is fed to a polished Mark Williams rear end that's nestled within a chrome four-bar rear suspension. Up front, bumps are smoothed out by a chrome tubular-arm independent front suspension. Air Ride Tech's Shockwaves can be found at all four corners. Steering comes courtesy of a rack and pinion setup while braking is handled by giant Baer disc brakes at all four corners. At the rear, a chrome fuel tank rests between the frame rails. All of these parts are mounted to a custom smoothed and painted Art Morrison chassis that's cleaner than most model homes. From the freeze plugs to the exhaust hangers, everything visible from underneath is either chromed, polished or painted PPG Lamborghini Orange. Connecting this elaborate chassis to the road are a set of one of Boyd Coddington three-spoke wheels in sizes 18”x8” and 22”x10”, respectively.
Trigger the poppers on the shaved doors and a fully custom interior by Street Seats in New Port Richey, Florida awaits. The bucket seats were borrowed from a Pontiac Fiero and wrapped in beige leather, like all the soft parts in the cabin. From the driver's seat, a custom leather-wrapped Body Coddington steering wheel sits atop a polished Flaming River steering column. in front of a slick set of Dolphin gauges that keep tabs on that monster 502. Between the seats, a custom full-length console divides the cabin down the middle while offering a sleek luxurious look. In the center of that custom dash, a panel folds back to reveal controls for the air ride system, air conditioning, Mooneyes Smart Shift system and the JVC sound system. At the sides, the hand built door panels feature a mix of leather and body-colored sheet metal. Up top, a suede headliner with a custom dome light surround finishes of the cabin. Naturally the trunk is finished to the same exceedingly high standards with patterns found on the door panels repeated. Behind those panels, the air ride tank and compressors have been removed from sight.
Of course this amazing Chevy comes with an equally impressive pile of paperwork. From build photos to receipts to numerous laminated magazine features, this car's journey is thorough and fascinating to flip through.
Having limited production cars is special. Having an absolute one of one car is something very few people get to claim. If you'd like to join that club, don't miss your change to bring this incredible Chevrolet home. With jaw-dropping looks, unparalleled fit and finish, big block power and an interior you'll never want to leave, you can't go wrong.
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