Anyone who remembers the car from Lions Drag Strip will recognize some original race decals in the quarter windows, but not the paint or the lettering. When Don Nunes was racing it in the ’60s, the Chevy was dark green with no lettering. Not anymore. Bill sent the car to Jack White in Campo, California, who straightened the sheetmetal and sprayed the gray primer paint. The race lettering was applied by Brad Barrie (who also owns a historic ’55 Gasser). The new appearance is part of Bill’s effort to build the car as well as he could instead of reproducing the original look.
The rear wheelwells had been radiused in the ’60s but were redone and flared during the revival. Bill filled those wheelwells with 10.00-15 Radir slicks on 8x15 chrome reverse wheels. A pair of original Cragar front runners, measuring 4x15, with 5.60-15 Firestones ride up front.
In the ’60s, guys would wait in line for an interior by the late-Tony Nancy. One of the signatures of a Nancy interior was a square cutout in the bench seat, to allow a floor-shifter conversion. This ’55 has that modification, and when Mike Ambrose Custom Interiors, in North Hills, California, reupholstered the seat that square was preserved. The dash is free of all non-essentials—just a Sun Super Tach II on the column and a trio of gauges in a below-dash bracket added by Bill.
The first time we saw Bill’s ’55, the door lettering said Blair’s Speed Shop—part of the tribute to the renowned shop that had originally built the Gasser. He changed the graphics to Solo Speed Shop out of courtesy after Blair’s started getting calls about the Gasser Don Blair built almost 50 years ago. But Solo Speed Shop is not a shop in the traditional sense. It’s the name of a website (www.solospeedshop.com), but more significantly, it’s the name for Bill’s participation in hot rodding. “Anyone can have their own Solo Speed Shop,” Bill says. All you need is a car, a place to work on it, and the passion to see a survivor revived.