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World’s Largest Gathering of ’55-‘57 Chevys at the Tri-Five Nationals

Shoebox-Palooza: Inaugural Tri-Five Nationals Hosts Nearly 2,000 Examples of ’55, ’56 and ’57 Chevys from Across the Country

Patrick Hill Sep 1, 2015
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It’s been over 60 years since the first Tri-Five Chevy hit dealer showrooms. And, in that time, the model triumvirate of Chevrolets hasn’t lost any of their popularity. This was easily proven at the inaugural Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals presented Super Chevy magazine and produced by Woody’s Hot Rodz. With 1,758 1955-’57 Chevys filling up the car show space at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky, it was easily the largest gathering of Tri-Fives in one place since they were being built and filled the lots at GM factories across the country.

The two-day event featured a massive car show, drag racing, and an autocross competition. As an added bonus, the Golden Star Auto ’55 210 sedan, built by Woody’s Hot Rodz, was given away to a lucky fan. Also announced was the formation of the new American Tri-Five Association, a club for owners and enthusiasts of Shoebox Chevys to interact with each other and enjoy similar passions for the cars that helped reinvigorate Chevrolet and put the brand at the front of the American car scene.

2015 Danchuk Chevy Tri Five Nationals 02 1955 Nomad 2/52

Back in 1955, air conditioning was a luxury item on Chevrolets, and it’s unusual to see a Tri-Five with this factory option. This Harvest Gold/India Ivory ’55 Nomad had it, along with factory power brakes, power steering, windshield washer, and a host of other options. The interior color was green and beige waffle-pattern vinyl.

2015 Danchuk Chevy Tri Five Nationals 03 Air Conditioning 3/52
2015 Danchuk Chevy Tri Five Nationals 04 Bill Wamboldt 1955 Gasser 4/52

If you’re a veteran Super Chevy reader, you might recognize Bill Wamboldt’s ’55 gasser from the feature we did on the car back in 2011. Since then, he’s installed a new 400-cubic-inch Dart-based small-block, swapped out the four-speed for a TH400 automatic, and added some handmade zoomie headers.

2015 Danchuk Chevy Tri Five Nationals 05 1955 Utility Sedan 5/52

Only 11,196 150 utility sedans were built in the ’55 model year, so seeing one today is pretty unusual. Woody Carrell’s car is even more unusual because it was body number 37 to roll off the Van Nuys assembly line, and the 37th utility sedan built overall. It was originally owned by a pharmacy and used for deliveries, then bounced around for a few decades until Woody purchased it before the previous owner could scrap the car. Under the hood is a 330-horsepower, 350ci crate engine, backed by a Tremec TKO five-speed.

2015 Danchuk Chevy Tri Five Nationals 06 1955 Utility Sedan Info 6/52
2015 Danchuk Chevy Tri Five Nationals 07 1955 210 7/52

Another unusual ’55 model to see is the 210 hardtop. Sport coupes with 210 level trim didn’t become available until the middle of the model year, so only 11,675 were built. This Shadow Gray example belongs to North Carolina’s Lee Caplan.


Autocross Results

Sam Matchett, ’55 sedan - 84.188 average
Al Alcipiter, ’55 sedan - 85.775 average
School of Automotive Machinists, ’57 sedan – 86.789 average

Race Winners

Top Eliminator: David Rice, DeMossville, KY
Junior Eliminator: Mike Morris, New Haven, KY
Nostalgia Gasser: Richard Fox, King of Prussia, PA
Junior Stock: Tony Bennett, South Dayton, FL
DOT Stock: Chad Willet, Henderson, KY

Specialty Award Winners

Axalta Choice Award: Harold & Teresa Caldwell, Powder Springs, GA
Strange Motion Award: Jerry Eckholdt, O'Fallon, MO
Coker Tire, Best Tri-Five on Coker Tires: Jeff Spear, Hampton, IA
Gasser Wars Magazine Best Gasser: Dave Verschave, Tinley Park, IL
Gasser Wars Magazine Survivor Award: Ken Gunning, Blue Bell, PA
Cragar Wheels Hot Rod Heritage Award: Ray & Darleena Thenot, Hamilton, OH
Steele Rubber Award of Excellence: James Foos, Granger, IN
The American Tri-Five Association “Tri-Five of the Year” Winner: Joe & Josh Bailey, Maryville, TN

Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals Classic Instruments / Vintage Air Top 25

Charles Leonard
Dave VerSchave
Joe Bailey
David & Bonnie Warfield
Tim Myer
Larry Hays
Rudy Laris
John S. Vickers
Scott Sheets
Larrie Mathews
Brian Baker
Terry Sealock
Alan Scarborough
George Poteet
Gary Brown
Ray & Darleena Thenot
Greg Land
Thunder Valley Customs
Jim Hawes
Barney Puckett
Michael Endicott
Scott Sullivan
Bobby Anastrario
Ronnie Staples
Ray Youkin


2015 Danchuk Chevy Tri Five Nationals 08 150 Sedan 8/52

This 150 sedan was originally owned by President Dwight Eisenhower’s son John, bought new while Ike still lived in the White House.

2015 Danchuk Chevy Tri Five Nationals 10 Larry Burns 1955 9/52

Larry Burns from Greenup, Kentucky, won this totally brand new ’55 built by Woody’s Hot Rodz. The car’s giveaway was a centerpiece of the inaugural Tri-Five Nationals, and showed off how you can build a complete ’55 Chevy with few original parts.

2015 Danchuk Chevy Tri Five Nationals 11 Larry Burns 1955 Interior 10/52
2015 Danchuk Chevy Tri Five Nationals 13 1955 Hardtop 11/52

The swap meet at the event was loaded with all sorts of cool stuff. This ’55 hardtop had a $6,250 or best offer price, and the seller claimed the original 265 under the hood was still running and viable.

2015 Danchuk Chevy Tri Five Nationals 14 1955 Hardtop Interio 12/52
2015 Danchuk Chevy Tri Five Nationals 49 Wheelie 52/52
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