Clay’s Bel Air is all business with a cranked down stance and plenty of horsepower to back
Sometimes it’s easy to see the writing on the wall regarding where destiny will take you. It’s called fate and for Clay Moorman of Elkton, Maryland, it was obvious that he’d eventually find his way into the world of hot rodding, starting way back on his parents’ farm in Roanoke, Virginia. When most kids were still learning how to ride a bike, Clay moved to the head of the class perched atop his dad’s lap while tending to the fields and operating cut-down Ford Model A’s serving as farm equipment. It was easy to see that learning to drive the doodlebugs fueled the fire for his automotive interests. There were also daily journeys taken while sitting on an old log shifting a left-for-dead transmission through the gears as well as cobbling together countless buggies from discarded wood and wheels to race down the meadows at the farm. As the years passed, Clay maintained his enthusiasm for horsepower, getting his fix while watching an endless array of cars light up the quarter-mile at Cecil County Dragway in North East, Maryland. At the same time, there was also plenty of cruising on the local ’strip in big-inch Chryslers with his friends. After raising a family, he decided to finally step into the rodding world and live out his dreams. Having always had a fascination with Tri-Five Chevys, he started to look for one with all the right elements. Sometimes the best cars are found through personal contacts and this time it was old pal, Rodney Manuel, who turned Clay onto a wicked ’55 offered by a local collector. The car had some race history and a neat attitude so a deal was made with Clay taking the keys and driving it for a few years.
A decadent coating of PPG Red Tint brings the car to life while Colorado Customs Alcatraz
Feeling that the Bel Air needed some freshening up, Clay had a meeting with Larry Stewart, owner of One-Off Rod & Custom in Middletown, Delaware. Initially, the plan was to give the car a coat of fresh paint and make some minor updates, however the more the pair discussed their ideas it was obvious that a full reincarnation was about to take place. With Stewart’s talents running deep in custom metal fabrication and attention to detail, the more he looked at the project, the more subtle design elements began to infuse their way into the mix. After the decision was made to start with a full teardown, Stewart and his team first focused on building a rock-solid base to anchor everything with plenty of attitude. Using the original spine, it was blasted clean, smoothed, and molded, and treated to a number of suspension upgrades to give it a great rake. Starting up front, a ’70 Nova IFS was added, accented by a pair of RideTech ShockWaves while out back a RideTech triangulated four-link and ShockWaves support a Ford 9-inch rear filled with 3.55:1 cogs. To add plenty of grip and glamour, a set of 17-inch Colorado Customs Alcatraz wheels capped with Hoosier rubber sets the stance while a Corvette power master pushes fluid through a combination of Nova discs up front and Explorer discs out back to bring everything to a halt. Remembering the adrenalin rush he experienced at the dragstrip as a youngster, Clay wanted plenty of gusto nailed to the ’rails when it came time for a fresh V-8. He contacted longtime friend Bob McMillan of RM Motorsports in Middletown, Delaware, to build a vicious fire-breather starting with a 350ci Chevy base. Bob massaged the block to perfection and filled it with an Eagle crank and matching H-beam rods linked to SRP 10:1 slugs. A COMP Cams stick sets the thump while AFR 195cc aluminum heads meld with an Edelbrock RPM intake topped with a Demon 750-cfm carb to suck in plenty of air. Spent gases get dumped through a stainless exhaust while a custom designed air cleaner and valve covers by Stewart bring an exotic edge to the party. Transferring the power to the pavement, a tweaked GM 700-R4 trans from Deltrans of Newark, Delaware, provides neck-snapping acceleration through a custom driveshaft.
Plenty of seamless power comes from a heavily massaged Chevy small-block by Bob McMillan o
When it came to stepping up the vibe of the Bel Air’s exterior, Stewart worked his magic adding just enough subtle enhancements to complement its iconic allure. Starting with the roofline he gave it a graduated wedge-chop from 1-7/8 inch at the windshield tapering to 3/4 inch at the B-pillar. From there a bevy of custom touches included gradually sectioning 1-1/2 inches from the tops of the front fenders, making them one-piece units, and adding Studebaker headlamp bezels. The ’57 Chevy backup lights were used for front turn signals, front and rear bumpers were flipped, tucked, and made one-piece units, and the driprails were molded to the body. Other notable touches include ’56 T-Bird door handles, removed vent windows, side moldings lowered and flipped, and endless custom fab work underhood. Once all the revisions were completed the team at One-Off massaged the body to perfection then laid down a lustrous coating of PPG Red Tint gloss bringing the creation to life. After catching their collective breath, the team moved inside to the interior working their special voodoo on the dash by removing the passenger side hump, relocating the glovebox to the center, inverting all of the switches, and smoothing out the balance. For comfort, reworked ’62 Impala buckets were added along with a custom back seat, all covered by Mike Haverstock of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, in silky smooth taupe Naugahyde with complementing loop pile carpet. With navigation through a redone stock wheel and shifting thanks to B&M, Clay’s business office exudes an element of classic perfection. All we know is that once the engine sparks to life, this Street Shaker commands attention anywhere it rolls and to us that’s just plain bitchin’!
The factory dash was heavily reworked while comfort comes via a set of updated ’62 Impala
How do I select the right distributor gear?
Correctly matching your distributor gear to your camshaft is critical. Distributor gears should be softer than cam gears to allow for proper mating and prevent excessive cam gear wear. Hydraulic and solid flat tappet cams need cast-iron or composite gears. Austempered ductile iron hydraulic, solid roller, and nitrided cams need hardened steel and composite gears. Finally, billet steel hydraulic or solid roller cams require either bronze or composite distributor gears.
How can I upgrade my XFI to XFI 2.0?
Upgrading your original XFI requires a flash update to the C-Com XFI Windows-based software and can be emailed directly to the customer. Call a FAST technical service rep to have the file emailed to you for a small fee. He or she will simply need to know the serial number of your unit. The unit does not need to be sent to FAST, but if you wish to have your cover updated to reflect the change, the unit may be shipped to FAST for replacement for a small fee.
Are there EFI versions of traditional looking Weber 8 stack systems?
Ingelse partnered with FAST to create electronic fuel-injection systems that look as beautiful and exotic as traditional Weber induction systems but offer all the benefits of modern EFI. Available with either EZ-EFI or XFI 2.0, and with discreet fuel rail placement and specially designed 50mm IDA throttle bodies, each Inglese EFI Induction System is a completely customized, one-of-a-kind creation tailored specifically to your needs.