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Once a Knight

A Speedster Fit for Royalty

Andrew Schear Mar 17, 2004

So you're at a car show around the corner from your house. One thing leads to another, and during your bench racing adventures you come to the topic of your ultimate dream vehicle. What you would build if money weren't an object? While one guy wants a '62 Vette with an LS6 backed by a six-speed, another guy wants a '64 Chevelle convertible. Unfortunately very few of us live in the fantasy world where we can just write a check and see our dreams become reality. For actor and comedian Christopher Titus, dreams have a funny way of coming to fruition.

According to Titus, the yearn for a truly trick '56 has been many years in the making. In fact, "Once A Knight," as Titus calls his '56, is on its third restoration. After sitting down with designer Chip Foose and fabricator Sam Foose, the trio came up with a game plan that would make for the soul of a custom, the look of a Speedster and the performance of modern muscle.

Titus' Speedster represents classic looks mixed with modern accoutrements. Unlike many of the machines build by Foose Design, Titus' roadster was designed with practicality first and everything else second. It was in this spirit that a fuel-injected crate motor and six-speed tranny made its way into the roadster. To set this '56 apart from all others, a C5 Vette-inspired suspension was retrofitted to the tube frame chassis. To top things off in the performance department, a very mean set of polished Baer brakes were installed sporting 14-inch drilled and slotted rotors. Just in case you hadn't noticed, Titus' '56 has rather large aluminum rollers and needs just about all it can get in the way of whoa power.

Above all else the Speedster exhibits lines unlike any '56 out there. When looking at the entire package, everything just flows. After a more close examination, one starts to notice the smaller details such as the larger wheel openings or the flipped bumpers. For Titus, these details are worth every penny, probably 20 or 30 million to be exact.

After the shoot, we found ourselves very interested in how Foose engineering would perform under the hardest rigors of performance testing. We turned out to be both pleased and disheartened with the '56's performance. While the braking portion of the test nearly threw us through the windshield, the slalom produced more than acceptable amounts of body roll. Prognosis: the C5 suspension, while a pleasure to ride in, falls slightly short of the bar with regard to handling. Either way, this Speedster is as cool as they come.


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