1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
With GM hitting its stride in the mid 50's with the advent of the Tri Five era and eventually hitting a home run, they had several tried and true theories that they stood by to make the car so popular. A few items of note are they embellished the car with brite work so as to make it outshine the Cadillac, the 55 Bel Air weighed over 3400 pounds, and was over 15 feet long, and some wild options were available including an electric shaver to get business done while in traffic, and an ashtray that sucked the ashes into the tray…now that's class!
Forget about these fancy overdone “resto-mods” with their perfect lines, and little attention to the original. Let's keep it simple with this 55, and keep it original, even if not perfect, and all the while make it a reliable driver, to actually turn heads when you are rolling down main street. I give you this restored and hot rodded first year Tri-Five.
The recipient of meticulously managed restoration which now bathes it in red and it does not get any more 50's eye catcher than this! Going with the two-tone prominent in the mid 50's we see a white painted top and trunk with the trim spear as the delineation between the red and white on the rear quarters. Paint presents well, as does attached correct brite-work, badging, and chrome. This car oozes simplicity as the first version with its simple chrome grille, bumpers, and a streaking jet hood ornament that has flown its way to the end of the hood to announce the cars arrival into the jet age and yours at the drive in. Nicely done taillights, a lack of any fins, and wonderful stainless window trimmings and dueling side spears, add to the aura with the wonderful paint. We bottom out with some raised white letter Goodrich T/A's, wrapping Cragar SS shiny wheels on all 4 corners.
Appearing to be like the originals with the design of the door panels, headliner and seats, all have been restored while the exterior was undergoing its transformation. Two tone red and white are on the door panels which are like new. They have stitched tuck and roll vertical red panels with power window toggles within and a fancy smooth white shows with an off center V panel housing the door actuator. A nice curved armrest is taking up some of the tuck and roll in the red and presents in red. Red carpeting is on a small horizontal strip on the bottom. Inside a white overstuffed leather insert with a diagonal white “quotes” design on the backs and seats and wonderful red leather on the bolsters and upper backs. The rear bench presents the same and has easy access with a push of the front bench backs. The all-original steel dash which has undergone restoration sits in front of the benches in its dual fan bumped red and repeating stamped bowtie pattern stainless banding presentation. An aftermarket radio (radio was not standard on any of the Tri- Fives), center mounted glove box, and lots of shining knobs and levers add to the dash along with a gaggle of new Autometer white face gauges in circular form within a chromed paneled fan to match the curvaceous dash top. The passenger side has a speaker in the fan and it is emblazoned with the 50s style type font actually named Be Air, but I like to call it your grandmother's handwriting! Some aftermarket A/C hangs below the dash and just below a thin rod and just slightly curved back shift lever floats in its own space with a red vinyl boot, and within a sea of red carpeting. The headliner is near perfect and also shows in white with chromed strips between each panel above.
Under the hood with a red, red engine bay which does not have a mark on it, sits now a 468ci V8. It is topped with a highly polished 750cfm 4-barrel Holley carburetor, has polished valve covers, and a 6-speed manual transmission in T56 form on back of this beautiful gleaming mill. The rear axle is shown as a Ford 9-inch with a 4.56 Trac-Loc carrier. Under this hood if it's not painted black it's polished. Also, headers are seen from both sides and don't have a spec of rust on them.
Beautifully restored while the frame was off, we see deep red floor pans and rockers, and black framing and undercarriage drive train parts with no rust, and all looking like showroom. Power disc brakes, with drilled and slotted rotors on the front and solid rotors on the rear are now on all 4 corners, and a nice Pypes muffled exhaust is snaking its way rearward. An independent front suspension with tubular control arms are on front and the rear are standard issue leaf springs
This beauty fired right up and ran like a top. Fab neck snapping acceleration, bias free panic stopping with those power disc brakes, and good handling with no creaks or groans. All functions were working just great inside and out. A note to the fuel filler which is now actuated by a switch on the dash...it's an engineering marvel to watch the left tail light swing out to expose the filler neck…suh-weet!
A frame off, completed restoration, new drivetrain courtesy a BIG V8, and new T56 transmission, you can confidently pull up to any establishment, and you will immediately be engaged in a nostalgic conversation about your classic first edition Tri-Five! The two 5 version (55 kids!). And secretly you know you can smoke almost anything also that may be hanging around the lot.
Classic Auto Mall is a 336,000-square foot classic and special interest automobile showroom, featuring over 600 vehicles for sale with showroom space for up to 1,000 vehicles. Also, a 400 vehicle barn find collection is on display.
This vehicle is located in our showroom in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, conveniently located just 1-hour west of Philadelphia on the I-76 Pennsylvania Turnpike. The website is www.classicautomall.com and our phone number is (888) 227-0914. Please contact us anytime for more information or to come see the vehicle in person.
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