All you have to do is look at our sold inventory page to confirm tri-five Chevys are some of the most popular and in-demand collector cars on the planet. Factory-correct Bel Airs, especially ’57 convertibles, tend to leave our RK Motors Charlotte showroom almost as fast as they arrive. And if you want a chrome-laden show boat that’s great for garage parties and Saturday afternoon parking lots, a car like that is all well and good. But what about enthusiasts who demand more? Combining a healthy dose of pro-touring attitude with one of the best automotive designs ever produced, this irresistible ‘55 custom is a high power monster that puts a new spin on an old favorite. Best of all, you can have all this old school Motown swagger AND upgraded mechanicals for significantly less than the cost of any restored-to-original concours queen!
Combining classic Chevrolet lines with brilliant red two-stage, this fantastic Bel Air is the beneficiary of a high quality, frame-off restoration which created one unique and very impressive cruiser. After spending many years rolling down the road as a bone-stock bowtie, the car’s solid body was shipped to a professional restoration shop for a high dollar overhaul. Once that body’s panels were completely stripped and thoroughly worked, it was layered in a smooth basecoat and sealed in a tough clearcoat. And today, this slick resto-mod, which hints at classic gassers of days gone by, is the kind of car we all stare at, fondly remember, and rarely get the chance to 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 which typically characterize 50s era steel. At the front of this hardtop, a trademark bumper rides below a pristine stainless grille, bowtie-branded parking lamps and modern tri-bar headlights that are lined in traditional chrome trim. At the top of that grille, a factory-fresh Chevrolet crest is centered below a new ‘jetbird’ hood ornament which looks fantastic against the car’s mirror-like paint. At the back of that hood, tinted glass rides inside fresh stainless trim, bright stainless wipers and a small billet mirror. At the base of that mirror, razor-straight fenders are accented by factory-optioned trim spears, traditional GM door handles and highly polished side pipes. And at the back of those fenders, smoked, Buick-style tail lights illuminate a second Chevrolet crest and second body-width bumper.
By now it’s probably pretty obvious this Chevy was built to be seen. But, thanks to the 468 cubic inch V8 under its rolled hood, that might be easier said than done! At the top of the painted and polished powerplant, small air cleaners hang reusable filter elements over coated Carter AFB Competition Series carburetors, a series of polished fuel lines and a small Summit pressure gauge. Below those carburetors, a coated Offenhauser intake sends a perfect air/fuel mixture into big, free-breathing heads that are topped with slick, polished aluminum valve covers. When the juice hits the cylinders, a Delco Remy HEI distributor sends fire through loomed Reactive Core Silicone wires while spent gases exit into custom, coated headers. Cooling for that fire is provided by a polished aluminum radiator which hangs a large electric puller fan between a chrome overflow tank and bowtie-branded cap. Fluid for that cooling system is provided by a familiar Weiand water pump which, along with a polished alternator and chrome AC compressor, is spun by aesthetically pleasing pulleys. And the car''s engine compartment is exceptionally clean, centering its solid black block between a body-matched firewall, glossy inner fenders and details like a polished SSBC master cylinder, a chrome brake booster, a modern power steering pump and bright top-end accessories.
Like its engine bay and exterior panels, the bottom of this road ready Bel Air continues the theme of pairing proven hardware with enhanced technology. Behind the awesome big block, a smooth shifting Richmond 5-speed sends power to a 12-bolt posi-traction rear end that’s equipped with friendly 3.42 gears. Turns come courtesy of a modern power rack and pinion steering system, which gives the car quick reflexes and excellent maneuverability. Stops are provided by a Baer four wheel power brake system, which utilizes bright calipers to squeeze giant drilled and slotted rotors. An impressive true-dual exhaust system sends spent gases through great sounding Hooker Maximum Flow mufflers to polished, side-outlet tips. The car’s glossy black frame and vivid red floorpan complement a rebuilt ‘glide ride’ ball-joint suspension that’s fitted with thick sway bars and thicker traction bars. All that reliable hardware rides on a sweet set of polished Billet Specialties wheels which spin 225/40ZR18 Kumho Ecsta SPTs in front of 255/35ZR20 Kumho Ecsta SPTs. And fully sorted details like braided fluid lines, a tubular transmission crossmember and a high quality Milodon oil pan ensure this classic Chevy is ready for years of carefree cruising.
Inside this sedan, traditional Bel Air style is augmented by a high level of customization and close attention to detail. The car’s firm bench seats are all-day comfortable and feature tough leather hides that fit without any significant wrinkles or annoying creases. Overhead, there’s a pliable leather headliner that’s propped up by a snazzy billet mirror. On the floors, like-new carpet rides under billet pedals, a chrome shifter and color-keyed, bowtie-branded floor mats. At the front of the cockpit, a satin black dash, which features textured billet trim from door to door, hangs a custom instrument cluster between a Creative Automotive Antenna, controls for the car’s Vintage Air climate system, a modern Kenwood CD player and stylish Auto Meter Sport Comp telemetry. At the sides of that dash, leather door panels look great behind billet handles and satin black toppers. In front of the driver, a satin-spoked steering wheel spins around a satin-finished tilt steering column. And behind the passengers, a custom leather package tray hangs Alpine Type R speakers over a custom upholstered trunk.
What started out as America’s first low-priced hardtop has now become a legend. And today, the 1955 Chevy is one of the most exclusive and highly-sought collector cars of all time. If you’ve been searching for a top notch tri-five custom that’s as much fun to drive as it is to show, this cool ’55 Bel Air’s combination of great performance and classic style simply can’t be beat!