1955 Chevrolet Belair
This beautifully customized 1955 Chevrolet, belonging to a Clavey Auto customer, has recently spent some time in our shop in preparation for a trip down route 66 from end to end. It began life at the St. Louis assembly plant as a 1955 Belair Sport Coupe with a 265 cubic inch V-8 engine with a two barrel carburetor and an automatic transmission that was capable of going from zero to sixty miles per hour in 12.9 seconds. When these newly designed cars hit the showroom floors, they changed Chevrolets history. The 55 Chevy represented a completely new vehicle in both design and engineering.
The development of a brand new tubular frame chassis and Turbo-Fire drivetrain was quite a departure for Chevrolet. The old torque tube drive was replaced by a lighter open driveshaft. Front suspension was coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers while the rear suspension had leaf springs that were 9 inches longer than the 1954 model and were mounted outside the frame rails. “Idiot” lights replaced gauges for the generator and oil pressure. Two tone paint schemes were very popular in the 1950’s and 14 different colors were available for the 1955 Chevrolet.
This car has undergone quite a bit of customization over the last few decades. A GM performance parts “Crate” motor was installed. The automatic transmission was removed in favor of a floor shifted 4 speed manual transmission. Power steering and air conditioning systems were added and the front drum brakes have been replaced with modern power disc brakes. The interior has custom upholstery, reminiscent of the hot rods of the 50s and 60s.
The owner is planning a post-retirement trip that involves driving this beauty down Route 66 from its beginning in Chicago, to its end in Los Angeles, covering a total 2,448 miles. We can’t think of a better way to start one’s retirement. We wish him safe travels.