Just In Time

A 10-month buikd yields some stunning results

Mike Harrington Apr 28, 2005 0 Comment(s)

Tucked away in a Kansas barn, hidden from prying eyes, sat a lonely 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air.

In 1972 the barn doors were opened, but instead of storing the season's corn harvest or housing the milk cow, an animal of a completely different kind was about to be shut in. A nearly all-stock '55 Bel Air was rolled into that barn, and the door was shut behind it. Those barn doors would not open again for nearly 30 years until the summer of 2003. Sealed away in a virtual time capsule this Bel Air was protected from decades of the harsh Midwestern weather. Through rain, sleet, snow, and wind, this Chevy patiently waited until it would emerge from its cocoon and once again roll down a two-lane blacktop.

Meanwhile, during its hibernation, on the West Coast--Paso Robles, California, to be exact--Dennis and Delani Mastagni patiently searched and waited for the right Bel Air to fall into their sights. The Mastagni's took full advantage of today's Internet technology in their search, and found the time-forgotten '55 they were looking for.

Living in Paso Robles, Dennis and his wife are witness every year to one of the biggest and best car shows on the West Coast. So it made sense that, rather than just be a witness to the event, he would want to participate.

Once Dennis took possession of the '55, he set some pretty lofty goals for himself on the buildup of this car. Those goals were to have the Chevy ready for the Paso Robles show, and, at the time, that was only 10 months away! If there was ever a need for serious action, it was then. Dennis is a mover and a shaker and dove headfirst into the project.

Having been stowed away all those decades meant the Bel Air had great metal to start with. The floors in the trunk and cab were completely rust-free, and so was about 99 percent of the overall car. Rick Sharp took care of the rest of the details and reworked or re-chromed what time had managed to undue. After the body was back in pristine shape, Rick doused the car in some pretty amazing colors. Using Dupont paints he created his own custom blended blue and India Ivory ... or white.

But there's more! This shoebox is not just another pretty face in the crowd. Under the hood Dennis installed a modern powerplant: a 5.7-liter 2003 LS6 coupled with a Magnacharger blower to give this beast all the growl and prowl its driver can handle. When that Magnacharger is huffing and puffing, 440 horses are turning the rear wheels at 6,250 rpm and generating 392 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. And speaking of wheels, Dave and Lynn from Intro Wheels were there to help round out the package by custom-fitting the wheels, and helping to install the brakes, tires, and rearend.

When Dennis and Delani finally rolled their beautiful Bel Air out of their garage, it was reborn and ready for action--and just in time for the Paso Robles car show!

8

Tech Specs

Engine:
2003 zo6 LS6 5.7 liter, Magnacharger blower, Camaro 6qt oil pan, aluminum Street and Performance 4 row radiator, pulleys, chrome AC compressor, Chrome Alternator, Vintage Air air conditioning, Corvette Headers, Magnaflow exhaust.

Drive Train:
2002 Borg Warner T-56 six-speed, Center Force dual friction clutch, Denny's driveshaft with a Chevy 12 bolt rearend, 4:11 gears an Eaton Posi assembled by Currie Enterprises.

Suspension:
Heidts' 2-inch drop spindles and tubular A-arms, POSIES 1-inch drop springs, Bilstein shocks and Wilwood brakes.

Wheels Front:
Intro "Twisted Vista" 18X8 with 5-inch back space

Wheels Rear:
Intro "Twisted Vista" 18X12 with 4-inch backspace

Tires Front:
Michelin Pilot Sport 235/40-18

Tires Rear:
Michelin Pilot Sport 335/30-18

COMMENTS

TO TOP