Featured Car
Dennis & Gail Dirk's
1955 Chevy Belair
My Chevy Belair sat in the same spot for over twenty years. Mike Friel and I were installing a fence in the area about 10 years ago when we saw the 55 sitting there we just had to go over and check it out! It didn't take long to find out that the the previous owner was a U S Postal Carrier in Cleveland who had used it as a Drag Race Car that spent most of it's life at Thompson Drag Raceway on the weekends and being wrenched on during the week. I found it on the corner of East 55th. St. and Chester Ave. in Cleveland. As you can imagine, it was not in the best of shape! The quarter panels had the rear wheel wells cut out for the slicks that must have graced the blown Chevelle rear end sitting under it. The motor and transmission ( whatever they were ) were long gone and the windows had been broken out by stray rocks and whatever else could be thrown through them! Some of the interior was still there but was in dire need of repair and the pink color on the car had been way past the faded point. At least it still had all 4 of the Corvette Rally rims bolted to the hubs, and that probably the only reason they were still there.
From that day in Cleveland, it has come a long way. It now sports a 355 cubic inch small block with a 750 cfm four barrel sitting on a Edelbrock intake delivering fuel to a set of "202" Fueler heads which then gets compressed with 10.5 to 1 pistons connected to a steel crankshaft. Spark is made with Mallery ignition and all is kept cool with an Edelbrock water pump pushing the coolant through an aluminum radiator. The oil splashes around in a chrome oil pan and the air cleaner and valve covers are by Edelbrock while the exhaust flows through a set of headers. The engine work was done by Chris Genevie.
The torque from the engine is controlled by a 350 Chevy Turbo transmission with a 3,600 rpm stall converter to a Chevy driveshaft wrapped with a drive shaft loop and goes to a Chevy rear end sporting a 3:90 to 1 gear ratio. The power hits the ground through "American Torque Two" wheels with 195-15 tires on the front and 225-15 tires on the back! A trans cooler helps keep the transmission from heating up! The stopping is done with disc brakes on all four corners and along with the stock suspension is a set of lift bars helped out by Monroe shocks.
The Gypsy Red and White paint was put on the all steel stock body by S & M Auto Body in Eastlake, Ohio. I left the bumpers and grill chrome to compliment the sharpness of the paint job. The interior was done by Topps in Mentor, Ohio who redid the stock seats in a Grey Tweed material. A tilt wheel with manual steering was added as well as power door locks and the sound is blasted out through a Kenworth sound system.
I'm glad that Mike Friel is as good a friend as he is, because as soon as I could, I bought the "55" and he and I spent countless hours totaling 7 years working on it. I've had a few "55"'s over the years, but nothing can compare to the work we had to do with this one! It gave us quite a challenge but was well worth all the time and effort. I hope that if anyone buys the car of their dreams, that it as Gratifying for them as this is for me. A word of advice, is to "Find your Classic Car & Enjoy it"!