Right out of the box I am going to say it. I think that Bob Mandell’s Top Sportsman 1955 Chevy is the nicest anywhere in drag racing!
Its craftsmanship and attention to detail are pretty much second to none, and it is a perfect fit to that notion: “show and go.”
First debuted in 2014, Mandell’s Super Bel-Air is just one of the latest in a long line of Chevrolet creations from Mandell’s solely owned Bob’s Pro-Fab Race Cars shop located in rural Culleoka, Tennessee (south of Nashville).
Powered by a self-built, three-stage nitrous-injected 792ci Chevrolet engine program, which is installed in a custom-fabricated round chrome-moly tube chassis, the car has for sure been very prompt on the dragstrip — having run a jaw-dropping 6.51 e.t. at over 212 mph in the quarter-mile thus far.
The race car itself (configuration and finish) is truly a work of art that is 100 percent custom conceived and constructed. The finished product includes some spectacular intimate details both around the exterior and within the interior of the car.
“It took 16 weeks to build from start to finish,” Mandell revealed. “All of the craftsmanship was done in-house at Pro-Fab. Basically every part on this car was built by my sons Bob and Jeff from front to rear, and top to bottom.”
The 1955 Chevy body itself is a remarkable, one-of-a-kind piece.
“This body is a true 7/8th scale,” Mandell continued. “I was shooting for the car to be very aerodynamic, while at the same time maintain the look and feel of a real 1955 Chevy, and I think we accomplished both.”
The chassis is outfitted with spindle mount struts by Strange Engineering and also features a custom-fabricated sheetmetal 9-inch floater housing rearend assembly that includes 3.89 gearing. The race car’s Powerglide automatic transmission is also an in-house product.
Since its debut, Mandell’s Super Bel-Air has been lighting it up on both the car show circuit and at dragstrips.
“Right after we finished it, we took it up to the Detroit Autorama where it took a First place finish in its class,” Bob confirmed.
Since then the car has been highly active, award winning, and very successful. In late 2014 Bob had a remarkable run when he won the Top Sportsman eliminator at back-to-back NHRA event races held in Columbus, Ohio, (Jegs Northern SPORTSNationals) and St. Louis (AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals).
Bob’s team hopes to continue that trend in 2015 with plans to run both NHRA and IHRA (quarter-mile) as well as select PDRA (eighth-mile) drag racing circuits.
Mandell’s Pro-Fab Race Cars has been in business 35 years building both race cars and street rods. His personal passion for Chevrolet machines is clearly evident, having built and raced a Chevy Monza, multiple Corvettes, 1955 and 1957 Chevys, a Camaro, and a 1937 Chevy all prior to this current 1955 Chevy program.
“I feel fortunate to have been doing this for so long,” Bob added. “I have to thank my wife first for putting up with it all, and also my boys Bob (III) and Jeff, who are my best buds and work very hard on every project to make it a success.”