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John Xidis1956 CHEV 2 DOOR COUPE BEL AIR

Purchased vehicle in January 2008, started build in October 2008, completed and fully registered June 2011.


Had originally purchase a 56 2 door Bel Air sedan, during fabrication works the 56 coupe came up for sale from in America, a mate organized the purchase for me thru his contacts. A 56 coupe was the vehicle I wanted, it was an opportunity that I could not pass up. A full restoration was required.


I wanted to build a vehicle from scratch, my own works (along with talented persons) that was my weekend driver, had no intention of purchasing someone else’s dream. We had put the 2 door sedan aside which it still is and concentrated on the coupe.


Body work and fabrication was all handled by a good mate of mine Kiwi Dale, an experienced panel beater and fabricator that has a great attention to detail. He worked on my car on weekend in his garage.


Matt from Badland Bodyworks – Bayswater sprayed the vehicle, the paint works came out better than I had expected. I was concerned about spraying the vehicle one colour and not going traditional two tone. Matt worked well with Dale to paint the car in stages. All paint supplies used were PPG, from your high fill epoxy, polyester and custom red top coats.


I met Michael Kendall – Clayton Holden Wreckers for the first time when he knocked on my parents front door, he was taking his dog for a walk and had seen the vehicle when I first purchased it and was storing it at my parents. He asked to have a look at it, talked for a while about his past Chev’s and passions. I asked Michael when it came time for the engine & running gear for the vehicle if he would be interested on working on the car which he said yes.


Michael and I had Frank from Headspec – Clayton rebuild the engine that the car came with into something reliable, 350 Chev with a mild cam.


Once the body was sprayed, we transported the vehicle back to Dale’s to lift the body off the chassis so works to the chassis could start. The chassis was sand blasted and then transported to my parents carport in Mt Waverley where chassis was spayed and Michael and I assembled the running gear, differential, brakes/fuel lines run. Then back to Dale’s for the body to be mounted and then back to the car port for more work.


About midnight on a weeknight when we completed the engine install, not sure if it was Michaels or my idea to fire up the engine for the first time. Great to see they neighbours enjoyed the entertainments, started first pop.

The vehicle was then transported back to Dales for the body & guards to be assembled. Once all parts were fitted and gapped, the vehicle then returned to Mt Waverley for further assembly. From there the vehicle went to Michael & Ross at the Sunroof Centre – Noble Park for the wiring and instruments to be fitted. These guys have a great appreciation for these old girls.


The glass & window gear was installed by Dave – Road Runner Glass in my fathers carport, great service and price. Friends have used Dave for his service for their projects and he had come highly recommended and now I know why. No scratches to the paint works and everything works well.


Came time for the interior, Adrian from Kool Trim who invited me to have a look at his workshop, I knew I had the right guy. Adrian took the time to work with me, we had gone thru all materials and options for the vehicle and what he could do. He stripped the seats and made them better than new. We had used the internal door trim from a 55 Bel Air as the stainless is not as chunky as a 56 and the arm rest were more appealing.


I really enjoy getting in the car and going cruising with the 567 Chev Club or just a general drive with the wife or the boys, driven in all weather conditions and not transported on a trailer. Your car will get scratched, get dints and get dirty from use and that’s why us guys have an excuse to spend time cleaning our cars. FYI, sitting in the garage collecting dust. Have been given a fair bit of flack not putting a baby seat in the back for daughter my daughters. One day they will be able to sit in the front and drive it themselves. I still get annoyed when they wear gum boots covered in dirt and jump over the front seat to get to the back.


The vehicle was entered in the 2012 Hot Rod Show in which it took 1st Place – Custom Classic. I was blown away as there are so many great cars that entered. The Chev was built as a driver, built in garages and carports and not some fancy shop. It goes to show who you know and not how deep your pockets are. I now appreciate and understand all the hard work that goes into getting cars looking good.


I had a great experience building my car, more so to the fact I had the right guys working on it that made it an enjoyable experience. You hear so many horror stories that make you cringe from being overcharged to poor workmanship.


Without the great works carried out by Kiwi Dale & Michael, I would never have undertaken such a project of full restoration. The two of them made this project very enjoyable and educated me in the process.


Ten years later on, looking at another project. The Chev was built at a time I was single, pockets are not as full having a wife and three young girls. Will have to resort to going to Super cheap Auto and buying spray cans to paint the car.



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