Just the Facts
Year: 1955
Make: Chevy
Model: 210 Two-Door Sedan
Owner: Fred Hawley
State: California

The 1955

It's not just the black leather jacket paintjob that makes Scott and Fred's 1955 210 look tough. It's the 1960s-style five-spokes, the tinted glass, and, when you get around to lifting the hood, the 427 Rat motor staring back up at you. And that's just the beginning.

Scott told us that he'd always wanted a 1955 with a big-block, so when this car turned up it must have seemed like the moment he'd been waiting for. There are plenty of different big-block engines he could have chosen, and he ended up with one of the most exceptional versions. In 2008, Chevrolet Performance produced the limited-edition anniversary 427 engine to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the legendary ZL1 427s hand built in GM's Tonawanda plant in 1969. Scott and Fred got #46 out of the 427 new ZL1s produced. Like the originals, the anniversary engines feature an aluminum block and heads. Induction on this one is beefed up with dual Edelbrock carbs and a 2x4 manifold. The AME Tri-Five headers run to 2-1/2-inch exhaust pipes built at Brizio Street Rods with DynoMax Super Turbo mufflers to quiet it down. Backing up all that engine is a TREMEC TKO600 five-speed, set up with a McLeod Racing clutch, flywheel, and disc.

The stock chassis was never meant for anything like the 480 hp and 444 lb-ft of torque this engine is producing. A new AME Tri-Five chassis is up to the job. Strange Engineering coilover shocks and antiroll bars are mounted front and back. The Ford 9-inch rearend features 3.70:1 gears and limited slip, located by an AME rear four-link and Panhard bar, and tied to the rear wheels via 31-spline axles.

The tire and wheel combination provides a 1960s personality to the 210. The 17x7 and 17x9.5 E-T Classic V five-spokes from Team III Wheels have a cast textured finish. They are mounted with 225/55R17 and 275/55R17 high-performance blackwall radials from General. Wilwood disc brakes were mounted all around, with 11-inch rotors in back and 12-inchers up front.

Black is about the most difficult color of paint to shoot—especially when it's a high-gloss, eight-ball level of black. But that seems to be the specialty at Compani Color. The car was in good condition when the Hawleys got ahold of it, but Joe Compani made sure it was perfect before spraying, because if it wasn't, every blemish would stand out once the PPG paint was sanded and buffed to a patent leather shine. The shiny black paint is matched with shiny new chrome from Sherm's Custom Plating. Tinted windows all around add to the Chevy's attitude, a combination of classy and sinister and whatever else is in the eye of the beholder.

Following the factory design of the 1955 210 Del Ray, Sid Chavers covered the stock seats and door panels in two-tone vinyl. The stock restored dash was customized with a Classic Instruments BelEra II gauge set for Tri-Five applications. The ididit steering column is topped with a restored wheel from Quality Restorations, and a Hurst floor shifter contributes to the 1960s hot rod look. Air conditioning is provided by a Vintage Air system. Jim Vickery at Roy Brizio Street Rods made sure everything is wired to work.

The final result is the 1955 with a big-block that Scott had always wanted. He told us that fitting that 427 into the engine compartment was the biggest challenge during the course of the buildup. But he also says that the most enjoyable thing about driving the 1955 is pushing the throttle down and letting that 427 come alive.