The love of cars for me all started with my dad and uncle. My dad serviced his own cars during my childhood. My uncle had three '56 Chevys and several American muscle cars while I was growing up. In junior high, I started building go carts on my own and then in high school after I got my licenses I started working on cars. I realized it came natural to me and the love of cars and speed was born.
I have built and owned many American classics which have included Camaros, Mustangs, Novas, Chevelles, and several Shelby Mustangs. I started looking for my next project with no direction or idea what I wanted to build. My former boss of the automotive garage where I worked found a '55 Chevy Bel Air in the Denton classifieds. It struck my interest so I called the owner and made an appointment to see the car.
I saw the brown and gold '55 Chevy sitting in his driveway and I wanted it! The car was drivable and complete, but it needed alot of TLC. I made an offer that was $500 less than the owner wanted. I drove away without the '55 Chevy that day. I went home and asked my dad for $500 and he said no. If I wanted the car, I had to raise the money myself. After three days the owner called and asked if I still was interested in the car which of course I said yes, but the offer was still the same. He asked if we could meet and talk about the car which I agreed. We discussed the car and the owner was interested in what I was planning to do with the car which I replied that my goal was going to build it into a nice street car. I asked him why he wanted to know. His answer was he had been offered $500 more than he was asking for the car and he asked the same question of what was going to be done with the car in which the other buyer said he was going turn it into a race car. The owner decided he did not want the car to be cut up, so he sold it to me at my original offer which was $500 less than the asking price!
I drove the car for several months before beginning of the restoration process. After getting the frame rebuilt, cleaned, and painted the next step was to find an engine and transmission. I chose a 283 small block Chevy with power pac heads. I installed an L-79 327 camshaft (151) which made it really thump. For the transmission I chose the Muncie four speed and rounded it out with an original rear end I located which had 3:55 gear. After completing the rolling chassis, I started to work on the body. I soon learned it had been painted five or six times which turned into a lot more work than I had hoped. I lost interest in the car and for several years the car sat in pieces. Then one day I thought either finish it or sell it. Well my decision was to finish the car. To go forward I had one big problem that haunted me - what color to paint the car? While in California I saw a '55 Chevy with the colors I liked and when I retuned home I looked up Gray and White to find out they were the original colors. I found Shadow Gray (594) and India Ivory (593) and it is those colors I decided to go with.
Now that the colors were picked out, I needed to have the body blasted to get off all the paint. Off came the body from the frame and once it was stripped and back on the frame it was now ready to go to Gene’s Body Shop. While the car was at the body shop the process of finding someone that specialized in upholstery begin. I found the right man in RO Anderson of R&B Auto Interiors. He designed the gray tweed interior to look like it was from the 50's. After paint and upholstery, the tire selection began. I decided to use the stock wheels and hub caps and took the car to Briscoe Tire where Mark and Scott help me to find right tire combination.
After driving the car for several years, the engine went south on me. It was time for something more radical, so I built a 327 with a 2 - 4 barrel intake. After driving the car for awhile with this new engine combo, I decided I wanted more jump off the line. So I installed a 3:70 gear set-up which made the car really fun to drive. A new engine and A/C are in the works for the future. Thanks to my family and friends for supporting me during this project.
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