For a lot of us, summer is about hitting car shows and spending sunny weekends behind the wheel of our favorite cruiser. If you’re looking for a 1955 Chevrolet that’s ready for either of those options, the RK Motors Charlotte inventory has plenty of great choices. You could go with our stunning "yellow LS1-powered Bel Air":http://www.rkmotorscharlotte.com/sales/inventory/active#!/1955-Chevrolet-Bel-Air/134336 , the "sinister black big block Bel Air":http://www.rkmotorscharlotte.com/sales/inventory/active#!/1955-Chevrolet-Bel-Air/134338 , or this frame-off restored example that finds some middle ground between the two. The car features a fully dressed small block, a Muncie 4-speed, an amazing leather interior with plenty of modern updates, and a look that you’ll always be glad to see in the garage. If you’re looking for a reliable hot rod with no shortage of visual sizzle, take a minute to learn about this killer Chevy.
With their distinctive side trim, 1955 Bel Airs were basically born to be two-toned. This car follows that formula but turns up the ‘wow’ factor with a mix of metallic burgundy and pearl white. In low light the car looks sleek and simple but let the sunlight in and the paint comes to life with mirror-like reflections all around. Below the top coat, the sheet metal is as straight as ever thanks to some quality body work. The quarter panels, lower front fenders, and floors have all received some metal aid but, looking at the finished product, everything flows as it did from the factory. Panel gaps are consistent and the car presents well from virtually any angle.
Chevrolet did a great job creating timeless trim pieces for all the tri-fives. This ’55 utilizes those factory pieces to create a clean finished look. The front end consists of a smoothed chrome bumper which sits below a new stainless steel grille and a pair of round sealed beam headlights. The hood has been freed of its Chevrolet emblem and hood ornament, so the front view is especially clean. Behind the cowl, stainless wipers maintain the front glass which is matched by equally nice side and rear pieces which remain crystal clear. 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 maroon 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 license plate bracket and another chrome bumper.
The heartbeat of this Chevrolet is a 350ci V8 that’s been fully dressed for show. The foundation is a 3970010 block which has been sprayed black and appears to be from the early 80s judging by its TDT suffix code. The heads also appear to be factory cast iron units hidden under finned aluminum valve covers with finned wire looms just below. In the center, a polished Edelbrock intake supplies the base for a Holley four-barrel carburetor that tucks underneath a finned air cleaner assembly. Behind the air cleaner, a Mallory distributor transmits spark through bright red Taylor wires. The front of the engine hosts an impressive billet accessory drive that spin pieces like the polished air conditioning compressor, alternator, and power steering pump. Opposite, a massive aluminum radiator works in concert with dual electric fans to make sure the bay stays cool. The polished centerpiece sits in some pretty impressive surroundings thanks to the smoothed firewall and core support as well as the body-matched inner fenders. All lines and hoses have been thoughtfully placed and pieces like the chromed brake booster and master cylinder finish the space off with style.
Don’t let the show-quality engine bay fool you – this Bel Air is still ready for the road. Shine a light underneath to find solid floors covered in a thin layer of undercoating while the frame and suspension components are finished in satin black. In the middle, a Muncie M21 four-speed adds some muscle car backing to the tried and true small block while a stock open differential puts power to the ground through 3.31 gears. At either side of the drivetrain, ceramic coated shorty headers send spent gases out through a stainless dual exhaust system with an X-pipe and turbo mufflers that offer a deep tone without being overly loud. Bumps are absorbed by a relatively stock chassis that sits a little closer to the ground thanks to lowering springs and blocks while new shocks cap off all four corners. The suspension is further aided by power steering and power four-wheel disc brakes that combine for a thoroughly modern driving experience. At the corners, 18-inch Boss wheels are wrapped in Falken tires.
Even in stock form, tri-five interiors are a sight to behold but this leather-wrapped rendition takes things to the next level. Work gets started just beyond the Fisher Body door sill plates where plush tan carpet sets the groundwork for the interior. A custom center console starts at arm-rest height and sweeps down, making room for two cup holders, a chrome Hurst shifter, and an AM/FM/CD head unit. The piece is sprayed in the same metallic maroon as the exterior and trimmed with the same pearl white for a unified look inside and out. The console terminates just below a factory-style dashboard dressed in pearl white paint with finned aluminum trim. Instrumentation is provided by a Classic Instruments design which monitors fuel, voltage, speed, revs, oil pressure, and temperature through an attractive Art Deco font. The modern air conditioning system is operated by the original sliders and passenger side clock bezel has been body-matched for a subtle update on classic styling. Front row seating is provided by late-model power adjustable seats, wrapped in a light tan that blends well with the taut headliner and custom door panels. Open the doors and LED lights hidden within the sculpted arm rests illuminate the custom interior. Controls are provided by three-spoke billet wheel which tops a polished tilt column while billet pedal covers provide some style down low. The custom work continues into the trunk where more plush carpeting and leather-wrapped panels round things out.
Ed Cole, former Chevrolet Chief Engineer once said of the ’55, “We got a big kick out of designing this new Chevrolet, and you will get an even bigger one out of driving it.” Fun was an inherent part of the ’55 Chevy and, with its subtle custom style, small-block power and custom leather interior, this Bel Air stays true to that idea. If you’re ready to put a versatile classic in the garage, don’t miss out on this killer ’55 Bel Air.