EDITOR'S NOTE: Morrison Enterprises has developed a new state-of-the-art, completely bolt-in chassis for Tri-Five Chevys, and we're fortunate to have been given an exclusive first-hand look as Craig and Art Morrison convert a low-mileage original '55 into a modern performance machine. Editorial coverage will come via Craig's first-person account and will include such things as lifting the body off and replacing the original frame plus segments on the drivetrain, wheels and tires, electrical, detailing, custom exhaust and interior. We think this inside look at one of the premier chassis builders in our industry assembling a cool classic is something everyone will enjoy--and benefit from.
The first and most important step when starting a project is to create a plan and a set of goals. Without a vision of how the car is going to look, perform, and cost, it is easy to lose focus, and end up with something that isn't necessarily what you wanted. Without a plan, your project may easily turn into a very expensive dust collector, which ends up being sold off at a swap meet. Art Morrison of Art Morrison Enterprises, Inc., has just started a new project and has a pretty impressive plan.The project car is a '55 210 Chevy that was found in the mountains of southern New Mexico. With only 47,000 miles on the clock and protected by dry, warm air the sedan body is in near-pristine condition with the exception of a few obligatory parking lot door dings. While 48 years of intense sun and high temperatures have faded the paint, the steel is rust free. The 265 V8 comes to life without any hassle and runs like a proverbial Swiss watch. Inside, the interior has been well looked after, the seats and headliner all look like they are new, while the package tray and dash are a bit faded from the desert sun. The original rivets still hold the grill in place and the instructions for changing a tire are still mounted in the trunk.
While many traditionalists would argue that this car would make a prime candidate for a frame-off restoration (or even a "survivor"), the plan is to create a g-machine driver with sports-car handling. That's right, we said a '55 Chevy sports car. While "'55 Chevy" and "sports car" have not had the chance to go together in many sentences, it is Art's goal to change all of that. Designed to maximize handling performance, Art's new replacement chassis will be the foundation for the GT55. His plan is to build the car from the ground up using currently available Tri-Five aftermarket parts to create a modern-day performance car with a few traditional touches. To prove that his '55 is truly going to be a performance car, Art has also set some lofty goals. Those goals are: 0-60 in under 4.5 seconds, quarter-mile times in the 12s, and most importantly, a skid pad of 0.85g.
To ensure that this project is a successful one the drivetrain and related components include such things as a Bill Mitchell 427 small-block, Keisler Automotive T56 trans, super sticky BFGs, large-diameter Wilwood brakes and Strange adjustable coil-overs. The rest will come down to the engineering of the chassis and the setup of the suspension. Stay tuned, because in upcoming issues of SUPER CHEVY, we are going to follow the entire buildup from the construction of the chassis to the on-track tests.