Five gauges from Doc’s Kustom (with a big 8,000-rpm tach in the middle) fill up the panel
Don Eddin and the guys at Fat Cat Customs (Albemarle, North Carolina) did the bodywork and paint while R&D Finishing (Elizabethton, Tennessee) not only did the car’s plating but supplied all of the rubber and repro items. Once the two-tone paint had cleared it was time for the engine and trans, so Dick Lowder assembled the 383 with a forged 400 crankshaft, a COMP Cams camshaft, Chevy pink rods, and production GM aluminum heads.
Up top an Edelbrock Air Gap manifold supports a 650-cfm Edelbrock carb, which is fed by a dual cold air package system by Spectre Performance. Exhaust is handled by Sanderson headers and Hushpower mufflers, but the tubing fabbed by Whelan’s Rod Shop exits the car in front of the rear wheel, NASCAR style. A Powermaster alternator was also used, and a Vintage Air Front Runner System allows for the running of a serpentine belt system. The small-block is backed to a Ford Top Loader transmission, which has been equipped with a Hays disc ’n’ plate and a shifter from Hurst.
It looks like a race car inside the ’57 due to the clock and radio delete plates, and the aluminum door panels Brent fabbed (he did the aluminum panel work in the engine compartment, too). And you can bet with a nickname of “Fatman”, Brent isn’t a Jeff Gordon-sized (5-foot-7, 150-pound) driver, but he fits well in the aluminum ButlerBuilt, vintage-style bucket seat (secured by Simpson five-point belts) whether he’s driving or riding shotgun. Bobby McCarter did the interior work using black Naugahyde, and the stripped-down race car look is capped off with a genuine NASCAR steering wheel from City Chevrolet in Charlotte attached to an ididit tilt steering wheel. Up on the dash are a set of Doc’s Kustom gauges, with a big 8,000-rpm tach taking centerstage to the other four (temp, oil, volt, and fuel) gauges. An air-conditioning system from Vintage Air still uses the factory vents, and the wiring from It’s A Snap Wire and Cable was installed by Dick.
“Crew Chief” Dick Lowder has his name above the door on the passenger side, and the big 13
Since completion the car has made the rounds, including a brief pass through Southern California where Super Chevy magazine put the car through its paces in a slalom course at its Suspension Challenge Track Day. Besides commenting the car generated “unadulterated fun,” the magazine went on to state, “The fact it went through the slalom faster than a new Camaro SS speaks volumes about its capabilities.” And that’s what Smokey would have liked about this ride: The best tricks of the trade expertly applied under the skin of an iconic ’57 Chevy.