Ray found the Stewart-Warner gauges (located under the dash) at a swap meet to complement
The steel heads are ported and equipped with COMP double-spring valves and billet 1.7:1 rockers. Induction is accomplished with a pair of Holley 660 center-squirt carbs that sit atop a vintage TR2X tunnel ram intake manifold. Tall Moroso air cleaners bring air into the mix, and spent gases exit out fender-dump headers from Speedway. Vintage Purple Hornies mufflers are used with a 3-inch stainless steel exhaust system, and ignition is handled by a Joe Hunt magneto. Mike Williams set up the Muncie M22 rock crusher transmission with a Hurst shifter, Liberty Gears, a Center Force DFX clutch, and a billet flywheel from Hays.
Once Burton was done with the extra fabrication (adding a hole to the hood for the air cleaners, adding a four-point rollbar, and getting the wheelwells dialed in), “Big” Mike Reynolds and “Little” John Ostendorf got the job of prepping and painting the car, and the color Ray wanted was a hue found on mid-’60s GTOs: Tiger Gold. Reynolds and Ostendorf used R&M paint materials to give the car its distinctive color, which also helped tie the mid-’60s theme together.
After Jake Burton opened up the rear wheelwells for the big 31x13.5 Hoosier tires that wra
Other trips to the swap meet over the years also netted Ray a set of Stewart-Warner gauges (which came out of a ’60s-era ’57 Chevy drag car from California), which were now mounted under the radio-delete dash. A tachometer mounted in a chromed bucket above the dash works with the stock instrument cluster in front of a 20-year-old, three-spoke, deep-dish steering wheel.
Dennis and Shane Gamble, the father and son team from Sew What Interiors, understood what Ray and Burton wanted the car to look like, and they continued the Chevy 210 theme inside with a pleated black ’n’ gold metalflake vinyl over the split bench seat and door panels while using reproduction rubber mat to cover the floor. A wiring kit from American Auto Wiring ties all of the interior’s electronics together, though there is no radio and no air conditioning (Ray says, “real race cars don’t have air”).
To honor the spirit of the car, Ray nicknamed it “Hoodlum” and, while he was once known ’round town as the guy with the red ’n’ white ’55, he’s now known as the guy with the gold ’55, as this car makes a statement everywhere it goes. When it was debuted at the Detroit Autorama earlier this year, it picked up a STREET RODDER Top 100 award as well as other accolades since. But for Ray, it isn’t about the awards, it’s about mashing down on the go pedal and going along for the ride—something any hard-core hot rodder can understand.