Next up came the original taillights, push them forward and at the same time, tilting them forward to get a much smoother look on the backside of the body. Tucci also installed the Rocky Hinge hidden power gas filler in the driver side taillight. After the taillights were complete, the crew at Tucci Hot Rods started looking at the tailgate and rear window assembly. The stock tailgate (upper and lower pieces) was scrapped in favor of a fabricated one-piece aluminum decklid. The original back glass bezel and glass were retained. This decklid uses an OEM-style hinge from a modern-day hatchback along with the latch mechanism.
Next up was fitting the Art Morrison Enterprises (AME) chassis. The chassis was changed to accommodate the humongous wheel and tire combo. Tucci wanted the chassis to accommodate Budnik Shotgun wheels measuring 20x8.5 and 22x10s. The rear tire size is a 305/50R22; in back new tapered rocker panels were fabbed to give the appearance that the car still had a rake at the roofline but appeared to sit level when completely aired out. Next the original Nomad tire openings were discarded and new openings hammered that were akin to a '55 sedan-style wheel opening.
Jet Hot using Jet Hot 2000...
Jet Hot using Jet Hot 2000 coating, along with Cool It Thermo-Tec exhaust insulating wrap can be found throughout the exhaust system.
A major change in the chassis was about to occur as Jim called Tucci and had an idea for using a Mark Williams' modular rearend. The original 9-inch Ford that AME designed for the car was shipped to Profile Racing where they machined an all aluminum rearend housing, incorporating the airbag mounts and machining titanium four-link brackets. Tucci also designed new front and rear sway bars that Profile Racing machined. A set of Wilwood six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers mounted to four 14-inch rotors supply the "whoa".
As is often the case with large projects, especially those treading new ground, Tucci opted to bring in more help. Ryan Butler was brought in to assist with some of the exterior sheetmetal and Matthew Harris came in to help clean up some of the dash and fabricate upper door panel sheetmetal.
Shortly it was noted that the front fenders appeared to have an uphill look from the door to the headlight assembly. Tucci used Xciting Lighting HID headlights. To overcome this, a wedge section was taken out of the fender by removing 11/2 inches at the front of the fender to zero at the door. A new bodyline needed to be fabricated on the fender where the molding sits over. This also changed the fit from the fender to the door so the rear portion of the front fender needed to be completely fabricated.
The "heartbeat" comes by way...
The "heartbeat" comes by way of a 502-inch big-block Chevy that pumps out 1,000 hp to the rear wheels and 1,100-plus lb-ft of torque.
Next up was the hood. The original '55 Chevy hood had a raised area from the fender to the middle of the hood and that wasn't going to work. An old customizer trick: Pancake the hood to make it give a smooth transition from the fender into the hood. The original raised portion of the middle of the hood that housed the '55 Chevy hood ornament was also removed and smoothed.
All hot rods need power. And if you think it is too much then you are probably getting close. Initially Jim wanted a 502 Chevy motor but in time and after a few back and forth conversations Tucci's idea for a twin-turbo setup took hold. It was fabricated at Tucci's shop with the help of Chris Miniker, who also fabricated the stainless steel headers up to the turbo flanges. Next up was Bill Dehimer of Full Throttle Performance to machine a custom set of throttle bodies and upper intake sections. Dehimer suggested they start with a Ram Jet 502 lower intake and use his individual throttle bodies to transition into two separate 4-inch aluminum tubes that would be connected to a double throttle body located at the front of the motor.