When David Graves asked me to do a story on my car, I was surprised and thankful he gave me the opportunity to showcase my í55. I havenít had to write a story like this since the 10th grade. Even back then, in the early Ď70ís, people were nostalgic about eras gone by. For young guys, cars, hot rods, show carsÖanything with wheels was always a dream. We all have a love and memory of our first car, and wish we still had it. Some of us do, but many of us donít. I am one that doesnít. But, I have always wanted a í55 Chevy, because I thought it was the best car to make a fast hot rod with a big motor. Some in my generation have said that the Tri-Fives were big and boxy. I feel the same way, but these cars have more character than anything before or after them. It is the era that these cars represent as much as it is the cars themselves. We all like to hold onto the past and dream of the future. Some of us just like to hold onto the past longer than others...
Remember when 50 cents was a
When you didnít have to pay for air at the gas station, you got your windshield cleaned, your gas pumped, and your oil checked, every time, without asking?
Remember when 30 weight oil was about your only choice?
When you went out cruisiní and took your favorite girl to watch the submarine races?
When decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-moe"?
When war was a card game?
When taking drugs meant orange-flavored chewable aspirin?
When candy was a nickel and they used real sugar?
When you cut the front forks off your sisterís bicycle to make your bike a chopper?
When putting baseball cards in the spokes made that fluttering motor sound?
I certainly donít hang onto the past, but I love having a piece of it in my í55. Itís fun to be a part of a club that has plenty of guys and gals out there that share the same passion for the Tri-Fives, no matter whether they are showroom original, daily drivers, resto-rods, drag cars, or a car in progress. My car fits in several of these categories. I bought it after I finished one that really didnít move me. I had been looking for a big block í55 that I could turn into what I thought would be one of the fastest í55ís around. With a little help from my friends, especially Wayne ĎLuckyí Killebrew, a club member and a í55 aficionado who knew where one was that probably hadnít been driven 100 miles in ten years, I went to look at it one afternoon. When I arrived at the house, I went around back and dodged car parts and old projects, making my way to the back. Behind the garage, under a torn up cover, there it was, the perfect í55. When I was discussing the car with the owner, he said it didnít run well and overheated and that it hadnít been driven much. So we made a deal, and off I was with the car of my dreams on a trailer with no brakes. Once again, I had a project that I knew would take at least a year, but I was looking forward to this one. The car was already in good shape; paint, interior, front end, chassis. I wanted to put in the biggest, baddest motor I could dream up, which I did with help from a few old timers who know blower motors.
I had to come up with a motor, transmission and drivetrain combination that would hold up under heavy street use, but I never intended to run this car at the drag strip. I felt it was easier to order the block and internals from Speed-O-Motive out of California, who have been building hot rod motors since the Ď40ís. Some of things I decided to go with wereÖ.the big Pro-Mod 632 cubic inch dart block, custom made Ross pistons, Total Seal piston rings, 4750-4340 Enduro crank shaft, custom made oil pan for clearance, Comp hydraulic roller cam shaft, hydraulic roller lifters, forged steel piston rods, all the best bearings, push rods, retainers, nuts, bolts, gaskets, etc. I used the original rectangular port Chevy, high performance heads from the other motor and had them redone, which are probably the only Chevy parts on the entire motor. What sits on top is a Wieand manifold, 871 BDS blower, with dual Barry Grant carburetors, complete with MSD ignition set up for the blower. The transmission is a turbo 400, which the jury is still out on for its durability due to the horsepower of the engine. It is built with all heavy duty parts and clutches including a Hughes torque converter and reverse valve body. It has a B & M shifter, 12 bolt Chevy rear end with 3:42 gears , it needs 2:90ís in a Ford 9 inch. Hoosiers in the back, BF Goodrich in the front.
Maybe Iíll run it down the track during our LONE STAR CONVENTION drag night in Denton, it sounds like we are going to have a great time. I hope everybody is as excited as I am about this event, especially since the Club is turning 30 YEARS OLD!!! It has been a pleasure being in the Club and meeting everybody, I hope to get to know everyone better so we can share our passion of the past and present with the TRI-FIVES ! ! !
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