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1955 Chevy Bel Air - One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor

You Can Get It If You Really Want It. But How Bad Do You Want It?

Mike Harrington Feb 12, 2007
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The "Money Pit" as it's affectionately referred to in the Spencer household, has evolved, revolved, and dissolved many times over. It all started in August 2001 when a very clean, very nice looking '55 became part of the Spencer family Toney Spencer wanted a "nice car" to drive, and at the time of purchase this Bel Air was good enough to be that car. But one man's ceiling is another man's floor, and it was then that the Spencer's definition of "nice" began to evolve.

Out in the back forty where Toney's shop is, the little shoebox Chevy was undergoing a transformation. Every evening and every weekend the tribes would gather and start the hammering, hacking, whacking, and welding. But let's give credit where credit is due, as nobody is capable of this kind of work by themselves; not even the Lone Ranger could work without Tonto. If not for the collaborative effort of friends like John Blackstock, David Yanello, and Toney's offspring, Anthony and Brandon, this Chevy just might have stayed "nice." Having a brother who owns a paint and body shop surely ranks high on the help list, and after the car was put on a rotisserie, Toney's brother Timmy took charge.

Timmy took some torch red paint and colored this bad boy bright red. But somehow in transit, on a return trip to his brother's shop, the rear quarter-panel got warped. After the huge headache of reworking the panel, lightning struck twice, and the panel was again warped. We can only wonder what kinds of words and knuckles rendered the air after this second accident. Like we said, you can get it if you really want it, and the third time there were no more mistakes.

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After the car and chassis were back together, it was time for the interior. Dan Wickett at Hot Rod Construction in Piedmont, South Carolina, took delivery of the Bel Air and agreed to do the interior. Well, sort of. After meeting with their interior man, Toney's wife, Amy had a change of plans. Most guys would moan and groan at their wife's suggestions, but being the wise man he is, Toney let his wife change the interior plans for the car. She didn't just alter a few things; she made some radical design changes.

There was no turning back and after the interior was done, the rest of the car had to be modified to match. The dash was customized, the door handles were shaved, as was the bird on the hood. Dan, the interior man, completely revamped the engine bay, as well. A custom air breather was made, along with the inner fenders, firewall, and radiator cover. This large cubed 425-inch small-block is dressed to the nines. All the engine chrome was produced by billet specialties. Down under, the Bel-Air is equipped with Hotchkis suspension, Wilwood Disc brakes, Bilstein shocks, a 700-R4, and Billet Specialties GTS wheels. Do think the car is "nice" now? It seems a woman's touch was the best part of the car.



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