Beautiful recent build. Bare-metal paint, new interior, ZZ4 crate motor, Muncie 4-speed, 4-wheel disc brakes. Runs and drives extremely well, looks fantastic, no issues. Great-looking ’56 Bel Air ready to rock!
Aside from the body and frame, there are almost zero used parts on this car. They started with a slightly scruffy but complete and solid 1956 Chevy in red and white, which was stripped to bare metal and refinished from there. Restoration photos show no significant panel work required aside from two little patches on the quarters in the usual spots—just ahead of the wheel wells where they each received a small 6-by-6 metal patch that was welded into place and metal finished properly. The bodywork was straightened and smoothed, which is critical on any black car and especially on a ‘50s car with sweeping side trim, and they did a few small custom touches like the shaved nose, deck, and door handles. Two-stage urethane gives is a spectacular shine and the bright Twilight Turquoise accent running along the sides really makes this car pop. New chrome was used throughout, the stainless was polished to shine like new, and even the beautiful taillights—which look like custom pieces all by themselves—were fully restored.
The stunning two-tone turquoise interior makes the car. The bench seat is OEM, the dashboard is factory-issue, and even the hardware used is vintage 1956 Chevrolet. But note the little details like the stock steering wheel with a slightly smaller and fatter rim—nice! There are snug-fitting Auto Meter gauges in the original instrument panel and they look like they were born there. The same goes for the radio, which is a digital AM/FM unit that uses original knobs and buttons for a factory look. Correct carpets were installed with matching floor mats to keep everything looking its best and yes, that’s a 4-speed Hurst shifter sticking out of the transmission tunnel, a modification that completely transforms the Bel Air’s personality. Original knobs and switches control the proper functions and everything works like it should. In back, there’s also a beautifully finished trunk with a filled tire well and custom side panels to hide the battery and wiring for a very clean look.
The hardware doesn’t break any new ground, but then again, what’s more authentic under the hood of a Bel Air than a small block Chevy V8? This is a ZZ4 crate engine with aluminum heads, a roller cam, and about 350 horsepower. It’s smooth, reliable, and plenty potent ahead of that 4-speed gearbox. Finished in Chevy Orange, it really stands out in the black engine bay, and it certainly looks right. There’s an Edelbrock 4-barrel carburetor with electric choke on top, a giant aluminum radiator with electric fan to keep it cool, and a modern serpentine drive belt system for the accessories, including power steering. A few pieces of chrome and polished aluminum give it a dressed-up look, and you can see that they took the time to make the wiring look neat so it doesn’t distract from the overall look. Shorty headers feed a great-sounding Flowmaster dual exhaust system with tips that fit neatly under the center of the rear bumper for a trick look.
The aforementioned Muncie 4-speed makes this Bel Air a lot of fun to drive, and it has been selectively upgraded to enhance the on-road experience. You’ll note a bulletproof Ford 9-inch rear end out back, filled with 3.55 gears on a limited slip, a custom driveshaft, and cross-drilled power disc brakes at all four corners. The floors and rockers are in excellent condition, and with close examination you can see that the transmission tunnel was modified to accommodate the Muncie’s side-mounted shifter. Everything was painted gloss black with a textured undercoating to help offer some protection, and you can see that it has never seen inclement weather. Out back there’s a new gas tank and the stance is just about perfect on those polished Billet Specialties wheels and staggered 245/40/18 front and 275/35/20 rear performance rubber.
This car has been driven very little since it was completed due to a change in circumstances. What I can tell you is that this was a labor of love that took years to complete and was built to be a forever car. That’s always the best kind of car to own, because the guy that builds a car for himself tends to take his time and get it right. The way it drives, there’s no question this car is right and even though car shows are awash with Tri-Five Chevys, we’ve quickly learned that this one seems to stand out in a big way. Call today!
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com