Often the best changes are the ones that are subtle. An example is this '56 Chevy two-door sedan belonging to George Poteet of Memphis, Tennessee. At first look it appears to be a well-detailed and assembled Tri-Five; and it is. Upon closer examination you realize there's a great deal more than first meets the eye. If you stop for a moment and "get into it", and you know your Tri-Five Chevys, you understand this '56 is really a one-of-a-kind hot rod.
A special nod must be given to Dan Kemppainen of Kemp's Rod & Restoration in Hancock, Michigan, for his creative, meticulous craftsmanship that brings this once family sedan into the ultimate performance hot rod from the drawings of Eric Brockmeyer. Let's skip the obvious mods for right now and delve into the more subtle appointments.
While you are caught up in the tasteful uses of nickel plating (Sherm's Custom Plating in California) poured over the custom grille, bumpers, and trim work, your eye should then be drawn to the one-off EVOD Industries wheels. But stop and take a step back and look closely at the top. Do you see it? Possibly not but the normally "tall" roofline is pleasantly reduced, thanks to a 7/8-inch top chop by Kemp's. To this the rear glass is laid down while the rear section of the roof was gently massaged. Now, you see it! This slight modification, albeit a major job to tackle, adds an aesthetically appealing line to the '56.
Mentioned was the Kemp's-fabricated tube grille with a one-piece grille fender brow molding that was cast in brass and then nickel-plated. Closer examination will yield a familiar-looking front bumper but note it's sectioned 1-1/2 inches, shortened, and rolled inward, yielding a tight tuck appearance. Because of all of the mods to the grille and bumpers, the front fenders were also slightly reshaped as was the forward section of the hood. Beneath the hood, aluminum inner fender panels show off more of Kemp's handiwork. The shop also performed massive amounts of sheetmetal/aluminum work under the hood that includes a new firewall, which incorporates the cowl plenum for the air cleaner system that complements a pair of traditional (oil bath) and contemporary (element) air cleaners. The cowl area also serves as the fill point for the brake and hydraulic clutch. More sheetmetal work includes a great deal of aluminum work under the hood, such as the core support and fan shroud that wraps around a Bill Kidd aluminum radiator and Stewart water pump. The rear bumper was fabricated after the fashion of a '55 Chevy but flipped and fit tight to the body. The rear bumper guards and license plate cradle are more of Kemp's handiwork. The license plate on a '56 would normally rest on the decklid, except on wagons. (A popular trick with Tri-Fives is to use a wagon bumper and move the plate from the decklid to the bumper.) More interior sheetmetal mods include the freshly fabricated and 2-1/2-inch-widened inner fenderwells, as well as the new inner quarter side panels.
All of this bodywork was performed and expertly handled at Kemp's with Chad Holzberger and Kemppainen massaging the sheetmetal and then applying the Sikkens Jet Black in a two-stage paint, basecoat-clearcoat. More subtle hands-on is the minimal pinstriping with these lines laid down by Gary Hegman. The olive green pinstripe is used to separate the gloss black from the low gloss green within the engine compartment, along the trans tunnel and in the trunk. Also note that all the badges and stock trim was removed and what trim that does exist is custom fabricated by Rad Rides by Troy of Manteno, Illinois.
EVOD Industries made these one-off wheels that were in turn anodized by Indy Metal Finishe
The taillights are true '56 trim with custom lenses. Originally the driver side would open
The Tremec TKO 600 has a Kemp's custom-machined handle peeking through the leather
The swing pedal assembly comes from Tilton Machine with custom-machined pedals.
The Kemp's-fabricated gas tank is topped off with a Frank Wallic gas cap.
The front and rear bumpers were fabricated at Kemp's; here the rear is neatly tucked