While it’s fun to find an old, clapped-out rat trap and envision its future greatness, the more cars you build, the more you find it easier to start with something that doesn’t need a lot of work in order to get it to that upper level.
Jerry Rice, from Royston, Georgia, who has been involved with hot rods since he was 14 (that’s 42 years ago), was lucky enough to find this ’56 Chevy 210 hardtop in great condition. As nice as it was though, he wanted to take the car to the next level, so he contacted Mike Goldman at his shop in Meridian, Mississippi, to get the job done.
Mike has been around for the past couple of decades building all sorts of nice hot rods, from a coast-to-coast ’39 convertible (that was a Ridler finalist at the Detroit Autorama back in 2002) to a more recent badass black ’61 Corvette for Ed Breedlove that won a Top 25 at the Shades of the Past event. In fact, over the past few years, Mike has built 10 Top 25 award winners.
To begin this project, Mike started with an Art Morrison chassis setup on a stock wheelbase of 115 inches. A Ford 9-inch was outfitted with a Strange third member with 4.11 gears, 31-spline Strange axles, and a triangulated four-link suspension that works with Strange adjustable coilover shocks. Wilwood 13-inch slotted and drilled discs found out back complement the 12-inch Wilwood discs used with the independent front suspension that features Mustang II 2-inch-drop spindles.
Up under the hood is an impressive Chevy big-block—impressive in both its displacement and appearance. A 572 (a 4.560x4.375-inch bore and stroke) crate motor incorporates a forged steel crank, pistons, and rods, along with a GM roller camshaft. Up top are a set of rectangular port aluminum cylinder heads equipped with a 2.25/1.88 valve combo that draws fuel through an Inglese fuel injection system that is topped with eight polished aluminum stacks.
The intake is a Hogan Racing manifold that was smoothed and polished by Jeff Smith, and the exhaust is handled by a four-tube Patriot Tri-5 manifold, stainless steel tubing (fabbed by Mike), and a pair of polished stainless steel MagnaFlow mufflers. Other engine items include a chrome Power Master alternator, a polished aluminum Be Cool radiator, and an MSD-based ignition with Taylor wires. The engine backs to a Richmond five-speed trans equipped with a clutch and disc from Hayes.
Goldman Customs was responsible for the bodywork, too, which included shaving some of the trim and emblems, smoothing out the engine bay, and getting the bumpers (plated by Dan’s Polishing) to tuck in close to the body. More metalwork went into the hardtop’s interior with the addition of a long center console that splits both the driver and passenger sides of the car.
Talbert Goldman, Mike and Sherrie’s 26-year-old son (who, at 16, had his ’48 Studebaker truck on the cover of CLASSIC TRUCKS magazine), worked on Jerry’s car, too, filling the radio hole, then subtly extending the dash downward to get more space behind the dash. Once the body and interior work was finished, Talbert painted the car using DuPont Hot Hues Brilliant Silver bases and clears.
The only item Mike would trust to an outside source on this project was the interior, which was stitched up at Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop in Gadsden, Alabama. Red square-weave carpet was laid out and matches the lipstick red upholstery used on the door panels, headliner, and the ’65 Thunderbird bucket seats.
Up on the simplified dash, a cluster of Classic Instrument gauges are in their stock location, and a 15-inch steering wheel was smoothed up and painted two-tone to match the look of the dash. Hidden from view are the Vintage Air Gen IV air and heat system and the wiring that came from American Autowire.
Of course even though Jerry had the right concept in buying a pretty nice stocker to start with, he really showed good forethought in contacting Mike Goldman and having his shop build the latest car to occupy his garage. A STREET RODDER Top 100 winner at the Goodguys Columbus show last year, the ’56 is one of those subtle cars that, the more you look at it the more you can see the high level in its attention to detail—something that makes a winner out of any car.
Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop stitched up the interior in Jerry’s ride, using ’65 Thunderbird seats as a base and lipstick red upholstery to cover everything, including the Goldman-fabbed center console. Mike also deleted the radio from the dash before extending the base and color-matching it to the car’s exterior. The gauges are from Classic Instruments, and the steering wheel is a 15-incher prepped and painted by Mike.
Power comes from a 700-plus horsepower, 572 Chevy crate engine Mike Goldman Customs assembled that uses a forged crank, rods, and pistons, and setup with a 12:1 compression ratio. Talbert Goldman created custom fuel rail covers for the Inglese injection, and he also machined the valve covers smooth before painting them to match the car. Patriot Tri-5 headers send exhaust back to stainless steel MagnaFlow mufflers, and the whole shebang bolts to a Richmond five-speed transmission.
The hardtop, which rests on polished 20x12 and 18x8 Schott wheels (wrapped in Pirelli 245/40 and 335/30 rubber), sits on an Art Morrison chassis that incorporates an independent front suspension and a Ford 9-inch out back. Talbert painted the car using DuPont Hot Hues Brilliant Silver paint.