1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
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The timeless look of the shoebox Chevys will never go out of style, and the most successful cars are always those that don't mess with success. The GM designers were at the top of their game in 1955, and this car was a game-changer for the entire auto industry. So when you're building your own, have faith in the factory and do as the builder of this car has done: make it as nice as you possibly can without altering the basic goodness of the car. That means classic two-tone paint over cleanly prepared bodywork. As street rodders tend to do, the finished work is simply beyond anything the factory could have managed, with excellent gaps and panel fit that makes a statement all by itself. This paint finish is two-stage urethane and the classic white and baby blue color scheme looks right out of California in the'50s. With hours invested in the finish, a quick wet sand and buff created a shine that glistens in the sun.
Trim is always a challenge in any restoration, and many street rodders, when confronted with the costs involved in restoring and re-plating all that chrome, take the easy way out and paint it. Sure it gives you a unique look, but there's something about this car with all its original trim restored to show condition that sets it apart. The chrome is brilliant, and the stainless steel has been straightened and polished. With the two-tone paint, the trim is the focal point of the entire car, and you know it has to be good. The glass is all in good condition, and all the emblems are still present and accounted for. If you can overlook the rumbling exhaust and flashy wheels, this car would be easy to mistake for a top show piece.
Here's a question though… what about folks who want the best combination of custom components and drivability in a tri-five Chevy that they firstly, don't want to (or shouldn't) mortgage their house for and/or secondly, actually want to drive it without having to rope it off every time they park? Fear not, Custom Classics has a car for you too! The beneficiary of a recent frame-on restoration, this slick light blue and white '55 Bel Air is an awesome custom tri-five that you can enjoy day in and day out for less than HALF the price of that high dollar show queen. With an equal emphasis on both show and go it combines a small block 350 with a few custom components on it to create a head turning hot rod that is ready to hit the road for weekend cruises and car shows.
In a very successful attempt to appeal to a younger audience Chevrolet gave the '55 Bel Air timeless Ferrari inspired detailing which has become some of the most beloved 'car art' of the past 60 years. Up front, a trademark body-width Bel Air bumper sits below a pristine stainless grille; clear parking lights and fresh headlights adorn the face. At the top of the grille, a factory fresh Chevrolet crest is centered below a new chrome hood ornament that looks fantastic against the car's stunning blue paint. At the back of the hood, clear factory glass sits inside of nice straight stainless windshield trim along with stainless electric wipers and a slick chrome rearview mirror. On the sides of the car, factory optioned front fender trim accents sharp front fender lines, and straight stainless quarter spears are highlighted by white paint and pristine Chrome “Bel Air” scripts that are just about as iconic as the Coca-Cola logo. At the back of the car, a second body-width chrome bumper hangs over great looking stainless exhaust tips. Above that bumper, clear chrome trimmed taillights sit next to a near perfectly aligned smoothed out trunk lid.
Pop the Light Blue hood on this hot '55 Bel Air and you'll find a dependable small block Chevrolet 350 that produces around 300 horsepower. At the top of that motor, a Chrome Edelbrock air cleaner sends air into a full finished Edelbrock four-barrel carburetor and an aluminum intake. Below that intake, a Chevrolet Orange engine block props a HEI distributor next to a factory looking coil and hangs “heartbeat” Chrome valve covers above ceramic-coated long tube headers. At the sides of the motor, black wire looms and new plug wires contrast well to satin black inner fenders, and at the front of the motor, billet pulleys combine with an aluminum AC compressor, a new alternator and a new upper radiator hose. Cooling is provided by a factory fresh correct era looking radiator, a factory style fan mounted by a billet pulley. Not a detail has been missed under this cars finished hood! A correct looking satin black firewall and a new brake booster are all present and accounted for.
One look underneath this Bel Air shows a 59 year-old chassis that has stood the test of time exceptionally well. Both the frame and floor pans have received a coat of satin black paint by the former owner for added durability and a proven 700 R4 4-speed transmission with overdrive easily handles anything the small block V8 throws its way. At the back of the car, correct leaf springs and drum brakes sit at the sides of a factory rear-end that runs street friendly 3.08 gear. At the front of the car, traditional double A-arms sit inside of a modern CPP power steering gear box system and retrofitted power disc brakes which make stopping and turning an absolute cinch. Exhaust is handled by a true dual system that combines two turbo mufflers and two rear mounted stainless tips into an awesome chorus of sound; and grip is provided by 235/60 R15 front and 255/60 R15 rear Avenger GT raised white letter radials that are bolted to classic Cragar SS chrome finished 15 inch wheels.
The inside of this killer '55 Bel Air is an excellent mix of outstanding custom parts and classic GM design. The Black tweed bench seats are in great condition and perfectly match custom sculpted tweed door panels that integrate modern armrests and chrome handles into a great looking stainless trim. In the front foot wells there's custom covered kick panels and below the pedals, black carpet and black rubber 'Bel Air' floor mats throw in a killer contrast. At the top of the car, a clean black headliner stretches tight from door to door across the curved roof. At the front of the car, a classic black Bel Air dash features a bow-tie stamped chrome insert that is anchored by a set of factory looking gauges and an iconic passenger's side Bel Air clock and speaker combination. At the center of that dash, an AM/FM radio sends great sounding music to the speakers which are mounted in the package tray, and a Vintage Air climate control system turns hot summer days into ice cold road trips. In front of the driver, a cool new classic 15-inch steering wheel sits on a polished tilt-steering column which adds a classy look, and behind the cockpit, custom sculpted black tweed panels combine with a new black trunk mat to create a nice clean place to stash your lawn chairs and cooler for those hot car show days.
If you add up all the ingredients which make this 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air such a unique car, the final tally is much larger than our asking price. And when you look at the quality of the work and the restoration, it becomes very apparent that someone really spent a lot of time and money making sure everything is right. There are no shortcuts, no marginal parts, and nothing that looks out of place on what is a uniformly quality budget built car; and thanks to the small block under its hood and drivetrain under its floor, this Chevy is as reliable as it is handsome. Quality never goes out of style and this '55 Bel Air is all the proof you'll ever need.
• Frame-on restoration
• 700R4 4-speed automatic transmission
• Light Blue / White
• 3:42 gear in the rear
• 350/300hp V8
• 15-inch Cragar SS wheels