Classic cars are all about passion. Some of the nicest classics we feature are those built by folks who invest a large amount of time and money into a project they simply love. And much to the surprise of casual onlookers, most gearhead’s dream builds don’t always involve Ridler finalists or a prestigious pile of name brand parts that serves as garage floor décor. Instead they’re filled with impressive, well-done cruisers which wrap modern power, everyday livability and top-notch road manners in about five times the curb appeal of the local showroom special. This award-winning Chevy was painstakingly crafted into a first class piece of automotive art during a multi-year, high dollar restoration. And thanks to a reliable small block and virtually indestructible transmission, it also sports a fully-sorted drivetrain that creates the perfect platform for cross-country road trips. Looking for a hot tri-five that’s every bit as cool and twice as classy as a ground-up street rod? This killer Bel Air is an amazing car at an excellent price!
Infusing classic Chevrolet lines with a striking combination of Bright White and brilliant Blue Granite Metallic, this fantastic hardtop is the recent beneficiary of a high quality, frame-off restoration. After spending 45 years rolling through North Carolina’s piedmont, the car was purchased by avid Bel Air enthusiasts as a do-it-yourself project. When those enthusiasts dove into the world of tri-five refurbishing, its solid body was stripped to bare metal, fitted with small patches and covered in a slick two-stage finish. And today, this awesome custom is the kind of car we all stare at, many of us fondly remember, and few of us have the opportunity to actually own!
The ‘55 model is certainly the cleanest of the tri-five Chevys, with its minimal trim and crisp, retro styling devoid of the massive chrome and exaggerated proportions that typically characterize 50s era steel. At the front of this hardtop, a trademark bumper rides below a pristine stainless grille, clear parking lamps and chrome-trimmed halogen headlights. At the top of that grille, a factory-fresh Chevrolet crest is centered below a new ‘jetbird’ hood ornament. At the back of that hood, smoked glass rides inside fresh stainless frames and bright stainless wipers. At the base of that glass, razor-straight fenders are accented by factory-optioned trim spears and traditional GM door handles. And at the back of those fenders, snazzy LED tail lights illuminate a second Chevrolet crest above a chrome, body-width bumper.
This spectacular double nickel sedan is powered by a 5.7 liter LS1 V8 that combines road ready reliability with 310 horsepower and a stout 340 lb./ft. of torque. Built to tear up the street and wow show goers alike, that fully-sorted small block combines a sturdy aluminum block with lightweight aluminum heads, coil-near-plug ignition and aluminum flat top pistons to create razor-sharp throttle response and a torque band as wide as Texas. At the front of the eager engine, an attractive VIPS serpentine system spins a chrome alternator and chrome AC compressor between polished power steering components and a polished, “LS1” branded air cleaner. Once air enters that cleaner, it flows through a polished throttle body to a polished intake which feeds completely stock internals. High octane fossils are provided by a GM electronic fuel injection system. Sparks are sequenced via modern Procomp electronics and Napa High Mileage plug wires. Spent gases are whisked away by a slick pair of coated Sanderson headers. And cooling comes courtesy of a polished aluminum radiator that, with the help of a coated OAW water pump, cycles fluid past a polished cap, a polished overflow tank and a quick-spinning electric puller fan. Aesthetically, the smooth, body-matched engine compartment combines with the LS1’s clean silver casting to provide a natural contrast which oozes performance appeal. Niceties such as a polished Wilwood master cylinder, custom Corvette fuel rail covers, billet hood hinges and a fresh combination of polished and braided fluid lines add just the right amount of flash. And the net result is a buttery, muscle-bound V8 that, through its distinctive rumble, foretells this Chevy’s true hot rod nature.
Like its clean engine bay and classy exterior panels, the bottom of this road ready Bel Air continues the theme of pairing proven hardware with enhanced technology. Predictably, that smooth small block transfers power to a modern 4L60E 4-speed that’s hooked to a narrowed 10-bolt and friendly 3.23 gears. Turns come courtesy of a fresh Classic Performance Products gear box, which utilizes the aforementioned power assist to create quick reflexes and excellent maneuverability. Stops are provided by manual, GM-style calipers, which clamp a combination of vented, drilled and slotted rotors. An aluminized, true-dual exhaust system swirls spent gases through great sounding turbo mufflers. The car’s glossy black frame and Blue Granite floorpan complement a rebuilt ‘glide ride’ suspension that’s fitted with relocated leaf springs and tubular control arms. All that reliable hardware rides on a sweet set of polished Billet Specialties wheels which spin 245/40ZR18 Nitto NT555 Extreme ZRs in front of 285/40ZR18 Nitto NT555 Extreme ZRs. And fully sorted details like an electric fuel pump, stainless fluid lines and a baffled fuel tank ensure years of carefree cruising.
Inside this sedan, traditional 50s style is augmented with first class leather installed by Chuck Hanna of Lake Norman Tops and Interiors. The car’s power front and fixed rear buckets are all-day comfortable, featuring supple hides that display no significant wrinkles. In front of those seats, a Blue Granite dash hangs textured billet trim behind Dakota Digital gauges, a modern Pioneer CD player and hardware for a Vintage Air climate system. Overhead, there’s a pliable leather headliner that’s propped up by a fully functional dome lamp. On the floors, like-new carpet rides under billet foot pedals, color-keyed mats and a full-length console that’s detailed with chrome power window switches. In front of the driver, a polished and Chevrolet-branded steering wheel spins a half-wrapped rim around a polished, tilting column. At the sides of the passengers, custom door panels look great behind billet handles and sculpted armrests. And behind the cockpit, a custom package tray hangs great sounding speakers over a fully upholstered trunk.
Not surprisingly, major accolades back up this Chevy’s “award-winning” claim. The car’s most recent awards include:
* Best of Show at the 2013 Chevy Classic Roundup in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
* Best of Show at the 2013 Apple City Street Rodders show in Taylorsville, North Carolina
The sale of this stunning tri-five includes photos and receipts from its top notch restoration.
Cars like this awesome Bel Air are very special, and they represent incredible value to buyers. With a high quality restoration that’s beyond reproach and a custom color combination that creates a riot at shows, THIS is the kind of build you simply can’t touch for our asking price. Just imagine heading out in this old school classic on a warm summer evening; the burble of the 350 as your chorus, the smooth open road as your canvas, and nothing between you mind and miles of happiness!