As teenagers we wanted people to think we were older. It never worked. Our fake ID (a driver's license with the DOB changed using dad's typewriter) wasn't convincing enough to fool our way into an adult movie or trick the market clerk out of a six-pack of beer. Now we wish people thought we were younger. The waitress who might've flirted with us at one time now smiles with granddaughterly warmth as she hands over the geezer discount menu.
When it comes to car projects, the trend goes both ways. Some street rodders choose to dress up their early cars with modern-looking components, from plus-sized wheels to high-tech engines and in-dash LED screens. For others, maintaining a traditional appearance is important, even if the appearance is deceiving.
The 1955 Chevy that recently showed up at Hollywood Hot Rods (HHR) had been carefully and accurately restored—just the way the owner liked it, almost. The owner wanted to go faster than the stock six-cylinder and Powerglide were capable of going. He also wanted a standard transmission and disc brakes.
The solution to the performance problem was a Chevrolet Performance ZZ383/425 engine with Fast Burn cylinder heads, a Tremec TKO five-speed, and Wilwood discs at the front wheels. Those conversions satisfied the owner's go-fast needs, but sacrificed the car's stock identity.
The solution to the appearance problem, and the challenge for HHR, was to create a fake ID for the new ZZ383 to make it look like a restored early V-8. Troy Ladd and the other fabricators at HHR studied photos of stock 1955-57 Chevy 265 engines to create a convincing camouflage. The first modification was to cut the motor mounts from the side of the 383 block and add front mounts with donut bushings. The finished result is not intended to be a precise 265 replication, but to make it look as authentic as practically possible—and to make the appearance of the engine compartment consistent with the overall look of the 1955.