Growing up in a Chevrolet family Sean was destined to follow in the old man’s footsteps. At the ripe old age of 16 he bought his 1955 four door sedan, it was a great car, solid body but with no motor or gearbox and needing a full rebuild. The Chevy sat in the shed for a quite a while with Sean stripping it down to a bare shell. The 55’s diff even ended up in his HR Holden at one stage although it may have been just a tad too wide!
The body and chassis were parted with the chassis going to Sean’s for all the mechanical work while the body stayed at dad’s for a bit of massaging. After installing the new shocker cross member the chassis and other hardware got powder coated for a durable finish.
HQ Holden brakes using a Castlemaine Rod Shop adapter kit, lowered HZ V8 springs and Nissan power steering were fitted to look after the steering and stopping. As the diff had parted company long ago a replacement nine inch unit was sourced and Andrew Wakartschuk at Supa-Trik Engineering did the required modifications, it was then fitted with a 3.5:1 LSD centre and Moser billet axles and uses two inch lowered leaf springs, Monroe shock and Cal Trac traction bars keep it all under control.
Power is supplied via a healthy 400 cubic inch four bolt small block, the block was bored, balanced and blueprinted then fitted with Keith Black pistons, billet camshaft, double row timing chain, Speed Pro lifters and hardened pushrods.
Dart Sportsman heads, Edelbrock Victor Junior intake topped off with a Demon carby fed by a Holley Blue fuel pump complete the package. Pacemaker headers and a Dave Hall exhaust handle the spent gases. The Turbo-400 transmission has recently been upgraded to a Coan unit from the USA via Outlaw Speed Shop in SA with a B&M Mega shifter selecting the gears. The ‘55 rides on a set of satin finish Centre Line 15 x 5 and 8 inch rims fitted with 185/80 and 255/70 BF Goodrich rubber.
The body only needed a couple of rust repairs and some panel work to get it ready for paint, but the joys of working from your garage came with a few problems, ‘apparently’ winter is not a great time to be painting a car as we found out as the first layers of paint refused to harden completely and caused massive problems with further coats. Having a mate in the paint industry helped and he mixed up another batch of turquoise as we stripped the body back again, by now he had named the colour “Peterson Blue” as he had made that much of it! Come summer we laid on many coats of that PPG and buffed it to a beautiful finish.
We completely rewired the Chevy using an Ezy-Wire (Ha Ha!) kit that brought the wiring up to modern specs. We got the seats and door panels reupholstered in black and silver ’57 Chev vinyl and took on the rest of interior ourselves including the headliner, thanks to Ciadella’s how-to video, dynamat soundproofing and black carpet finished the package. The dash houses the original style instrument panel and a few additional gauges monitor the ‘55’s vital signs, the column and Monaro steering wheel are from a HT Holden.
The Chevy debuted at the 2014 Melbourne Hot Rod Show and it looked great on our club stand, now well and truly run in and sorted it is waiting in lockdown for a chance to stretch its legs at Heathcote or Calder to see if it goes as good as it looks!
The build took a bit longer than expected, like over twenty years longer! But sometimes things get in the way like work, kids, houses, etc and three paint jobs didn’t help! It was a great father and son project that we can both look back at with pride with nearly all the work done by Sean and Steve in their shed.