Since its inception, the stated purpose of the Amsoil/Street Rodder Road Tour has been to prove that a street rod built from aftermarket parts can be a safe, fun, reliable car to drive anywhere you care to take it and, since the tour's beginning in 1996, that point has been made repeatedly. But while the original focus hasn't changed, another element of this yearly event has emerged, which shows the direction and scope of the hobby-a point we're sure will be made with this year's car: a '55 Chevy.

To show what could be done with a '55 when given the full-on street rod treatment, we turned to Woody's Hot Rodz and its founder, Chris Sondles. The builders of our sensational '09 Road Tour car, a '52 Chevy, Woody's has a reputation for building some of the finest Tri-Five Chevys around, probably because its founder has had a lifelong passion for them. At the age of 2, he began watching his father, Fred, restore a '57 Chevy; the same car he has today.

Because the emphasis of the Road Tour car (and we believe the majority of street rods being built by our readers) is driving, we wanted a '55 that could handle high-speed highways and twisty two-lanes with equal aplomb. That meant a call to Art Morrison for one of his GT Tri-Five Chevy chassis. Based on an all-new CAD-engineered frame, it features a proven front suspension design with Strange coilover shocks for improved ride comfort, cornering agility, and high-speed stability while the Flaming River rack-and-pinion provides instant steering response and greatly improved road feel. In the rear a triangulated four-bar with Strange Engineering adjustable coilover shocks are used and antiroll bars are used at both ends to minimize body lean in the corners. Wilwood disc brakes at all four corners will make sure our Chevy comes to a halt in a hurry.

Morrison's chassis has proven their ability to humble the most pedigreed sports cars on the track, skid pads, and even in the canyons of SoCal. That, and the fact Woody's Hot Rodz has put together some of the finest hot rods in the land, means this '55 will not only go the distance but help establish an alternative direction for the hobby.

While we snapped a few photos of a frame under construction at Morrison's in Fife, Washington, back in Bright, Indiana, the Woody's crew was busy massaging the sheetmetal on the '55. When the crate with the new Tri-Five chassis arrived, Woody's, armed with a selection of fasteners from Totally Stainless, began bolting on the suspension components and making the car a roller. That's where we pick up the story, but make sure to stick around for more. For information on how you can be part of the '11 Amsoil/Street Rodder Road Tour, look for updates in Street Rodder magazine or go to www.streetrodderweb.com.

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