Josh also installed a stock, 16-gallon 1957 gas tank (the one from 1956 doesn't have a needed vent) and centered it in the car. Stance is extremely important in identifying design traits of a real hot rod, and the Baileys chose one-off Boyd Coddington wheels (17x7 and 20x10) wrapped in Goodyear Eagle rubber (215/50-17 and 275/55-20) to aid the look and performance of their 1956.
The seats are out of a 1965 Impala and sewn in red leather with the 1965 Impala stitch pat
Josh also fab'd new engine mounts for a 454 Chevy engine, and then ground the Richmond Super T10 five-speed transmission housing, engine block, and heads smooth before turning the engine pieces over to Mylon Keasler of Keasler Racing in Maryville, Tennessee, for assembly. Internals are stock, and the cast-iron, square-port heads were dialed in with a 9.5:1 compression ratio. A Steve Long radiator went in, too, as did a Vintage Air FrontRunner pulley system and a 140-amp alternator.
Cal Custom valve covers hide the roller rockers, and a set of Edelbrock 500-cfm carbs feed the beast. Up top a Mooneyes air cleaner filters the air and an MSD ignition system (with Blue Max wires) supplies the spark. Exhaust is sent through Sanderson headers and mandrel-bent 2.5-inch polished stainless steel tubing before exiting out a pair of stainless Flowmaster 40 Series mufflers.
At first glance the paintjob Joe Bailey applied (with PPG products) might draw you in and past the fact that there is a fair amount of custom metalwork done to the 1956. Little tricks like removing the bird before peaking the hood are easily found, but under the decklid you'll find a lot of subtle fabrication. First, the spare tire hump near the passenger side trunk hinge isn't there—Josh copied the non-hump design of the driver side for the passenger side for a cleaner appearance. Josh also used the trunk's interior side panels from a 1957 four-door so they can be easily covered and bolted in place. He also created a metal panel to cover the torsion bars running under the backlight, and used a panel from a Model A pickup bed to hide the battery and MSD ignition box.
Mylon Keasler of Keasler Racing assembled the 454 for the Baileys, topping it off with a s
The floor on the 1956 came from C.A.R.S. Inc., and the Baileys molded in the braces for the smooth look they were going for with the rest of the car. They then painted the floor pan area silver and split it from the car's exterior color with a red pinstripe. Josh also routed the emergency cables up under the rear seat to just under the window on the driver-side quarter. It then connects with a pivot lever and then up to the original pull handle, which is hidden from view. To clean up the underside of the car, all of the car's brake and fuel lines are routed inside the car and through the framerails.
Underhood the inner fenders are 1955 units modified to give more tire clearance than the ones found in a 1956. The radiator support was also boxed on each side, which provides a perfect hiding place for the wires connecting electric fan, headlights, and parking lights. Both bumpers were modified, too, with the front having its bolts shaved while the rear (a station wagon version with the flat area for the license plate) was relieved of its bolts and guards before Bill Richards of Knox Custom Chrome in Knoxville dipped everything in their chroming tanks.
The same effort put forth with the underside of the vehicle was employed with the car's interior, too. The fresh air vents in the kick panels were removed to make space for the stereo's Sony 5x7 speakers, and the controls for the Vintage Air A/C system were hidden under the dash (though the control knob for the blower is on the dash, but it resembles a cheap heater control knob). The 1956 Chevy repro A/C vents were added to the dash, and United Speedometer refurbished the gauge cluster to include a speedo that reads to 140 mph.
Besides the "antique" AM/FM radio, there is also an MP3 hookup for superior tunes. Josh used a Painless Performance Prodcuts' 18-circuit fuse block and wired the car himself, which included a pair of courtesy lights from a 1962 Corvette mounted under the dash that light up when either door is opened. To get the Daytona weave carpet to fit so well against the contours of the floorpan, ABS plastic was formed over the floor and then the plastic was covered with carpet by James Edgar of James Custom Upholstery in Maryville.
Black is always a test of a painter’s ability and this paintjob is awesome. Joe and Josh B
Edgar also covered the 1965 Impala seats with red leather (using nine hides in all for the interior), stitching the 1965 Impala sewing pattern into the seats as well. Rather than go with a red or black headliner, the Baileys had James create a perforated white vinyl headliner, only installed with 1955 Chevy headliner bows and 1956 Bel Air trim. A 1961 Chevy shift plate (with a red leather boot) then went in along with a Hurst shifter modified to look like a Muncie stick. Though most of the interior parts are Chevy-based, the Baileys did stray away from the farm a little by using 1955 Pontiac armrests and door pulls along with speaker grilles out of a 1967 Jaguar. Topping off the steering column is a repro 1964 Chevelle wooden steering wheel that was painted red and then polished. Even the garnish moldings didn't escape attention: they're covered in leather, too. As a finishing touch, the Impala SS speaker grille that fits at the top of the rear bench seat was modified a little: the Impala logo was removed in favor of the crossed-flag Corvette trim.
The Baileys say the hardest thing about building this car was locating the Chevy 210's stainless steel paint dividers that fit in the quarter-panels as well as the very-rare stainless beads. These are located at the top of the doorskin where it meets the window and flow out onto the top of the quarter-panel. The Bel Air models use a 1-inch-thick piece, but for the low-production 210 models the piece is about an eighth of an inch wide. But by searching the Internet Joe and Josh were able to locate everything they needed to finish the car. But though their 1956 is now a far cry from what it was when Joe laid out his initial cash investment of $700 (and don't forget the extra $100 to get it home), it does show what a little bit of imagination and a whole lot of talent can do for you, especially if the last name is Bailey.