1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
Ft Worth, Texas
THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF JAMES CARSON AND HIS
FOREVER '57 CHEVROLET!
For newer members I have owned and loved my ’57 Chevy since 1958 having been the second owner. My original car was a 283 Four Barrel 270 HP from the factory. Upon breaking two rods I started a quest for more thrills with a 292, 302, 327, 358, LS1 and currently a LS3 - 376 C.I. (6.2L) motor.
I have driven the car on the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour in 2013 to North Carolina and back and then to the Tri Five Nationals in Bowling Green three times, racing both Friday and Saturday running in low 11 second elapsed times. I decided at eighty years old to have a supercharger installed which Chad at Larry’s Speed and Custom in Ft. Worth took care of. I ran the car at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis with 10.70 ET at 127 MPH on a 1/4 mile and 6.70 E.T. at 102 MPH on the 1/8 mile. This was a dream that I had for a long time - having an everyday street car that looked and drove as one and could go down the track in the middle 10 seconds.
In 2018, Larry Sanders and I drove to the Tri Five Nationals, telling everyone my car was a real 10 second street car and driving 80/85 MPH getting 22.3 miles per gallon on the way to Bowling Green. After tech, I made my first pass at 11:32 ET, I was embarrassed to say the least. I did out run 4 gassers that I raced during Thursday and Friday time trials. I had a car that was consistent and that consistency got me to the final round and finished second.
Back in Fort Worth I talked to several people about my car losing so much ET. One person said it needed bigger headers 1 ¾” to 2” and 2 1/2” exhaust to 3” at a cost of about $3,000, some said the motor needs a blower cam as it did not have one. I just wanted to get back to 10.70 ET in the 1/4 mile and 6.70 ET in the 1/8 mile. I ran and drove the car until March of 2019 and the car idled, ran and sounded fine.
I had Chad (Larry’s Speed and Custom) install new 2-piece value covers because I never liked the looks of coil packs on top of valve covers. Chad found 1 rocker arm loose and suggested looking into what caused this. Upon tearing into the motor, he found the cam going flat on three cylinders and both head gaskets were leaking (hence lost power). Chad fixed all the above and installed a new Brian Tooley Blower Cam.
I had put the car on a dyno and it pulled 528 RWAP and 518 Foot Pounds of torque at 16 degrees of timing, upon going 17 degrees the car showed signs of detonation and possible piston damage. Someone suggested putting a methanol/water injection or to be able to add 5 degree increase of timing and up to 125 more horsepower. Chad built a 2 gallon custom aluminum tanks to fit next to the 12 gallon fuel cell in the trunk of the car.
At the DACC Dyno Challenge event last October at club member Jack Rankin’s Kwik Kar garage in Frisco he allowed car owners for $75.00 (normally $500) to make 3 pulls (but no engine tuning). My car pulled 552 RWHP and 762 foot pounds of torque!
I have not run the car on the drag strip as of January 15, but I am looking forward to the new season of the Texas Muscle Car Club Challenge drag series starting on February 28th at Xtreme Raceway Park in Ferris and more adventures with my ’57 Chevy at 83 years young!
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