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There’s More than Meets the Eye with This 1962 Chevy Bel Air

Destination: Bel Air - How Dave Murphy’s layover became his permanent vacation

Chris Shelton Oct 26, 2016
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Who among us hasn’t wanted a race car at one point? Think about it, a car that’s so fast it can’t be driven legally on the street … it’s the utmost expression of speed. It says dedication. A race car is badassed.

A race car is also a ton of work. Dave Murphy will tell you; he ran an Outlaw 10.5 car, a turbocharged Fox-body Mustang that ran low 7s. “After dropping a ton of money into the race car, along with the stress involved with running a car of that caliber, I decided it was more than I wanted,” he admits. So he sold it.


Well, you can take the boy out of the race car but you’re not going to take the race car out of the boy. “Not being sure if I wanted to get completely out of racing, I kept my eyes open looking for something easier to maintain and run at the track,” he says. Then opportunity knocked.

“One day while surfing eBay I came across this Bel Air and had to have it!” he says. What he found was one of Boris Maryanovsky’s listings from Street Machinery, an account Dave followed for years. “He always has cool stuff for sale.”


The car already had a story going. Boris found the car as a grandma-stocker. He sold it to Ed Roethel at Cruisin’ Solutions in Cleveland. Ed, in turn, submitted the car for a body-off restoration in 2006. Though he kept things like the 283, he replaced others like the Powerglide with a more tractable TH350. The color looks like Nassau Blue Poly but it’s actually Pacific Blue Metallic, a Toyota RAV4 color. He installed a Secret Audio sound system and used the car as his personal driver.

But then Ed sold the car back to Boris who gave the car a stance. He installed a pair of dropped spindles with CPP discs and an air-spring system. That consists of a Viair 380C compressor, a 10-gallon tank, four-way RideTech paddle switches, Firestone air springs, and a set of 18- and 20-inch Billet Specialties Bonneville G wheels. That’s how it looked when Dave found it.


“The only complaint I had with the ’62 was its severe lack of power,” he recalls. “I started reading up on LSx installs and decided that would replace the 283.” EBay yielded an LS2 from a wrecked ’06 GTO. “I was originally going to do the swap myself but decided not to since I was working a lot of hours at my job and would not have much time to spend on it.” He farmed the job out to Chris Holstrom Concepts, a relative newcomer who motored to the top of the hot rod hierarchy with a succession of cars as functional as they are attractive.

But the engine isn’t entirely stock; it now sports a Comp Cams XER273HR camshaft. A number of components adapt it to the application, including a PSI engine harness, ECU, and drive-by-wire throttle assembly. The coils mount on the inside of the framerails by way of Clayton Machine Works mounts. An Eddie Motorsports accessory drive system cleans up the front. A set of 1 7/8-inch BRP/Hedman headers replace the manifolds, but Chris Holstrom Concepts retained the Flowmaster-equipped exhaust system that Ed Roethel installed as part of the restoration.


Without a doubt, each party involved with this car’s evolution brought something to the table. However, with the drivetrain swap it’s a complete package of quality, style, and performance. “What a transformation!” Dave not-so-humbly brags. “It was a nice, cool looking, comfortable cruiser before, but now it also has the power to surprise a few unsuspecting stoplight racers. It’s still not exactly inexpensive but thankfully my wife supports my expensive hobby.

“The car was supposed to be possibly a transition car until I decided if I wanted to get back into a drag racing car or not,” he continues. “It turned out to be the most enjoyable car I have owned.”


Tech Check
Owner: Dave and Casey Murphy, Sequim, Washington
Vehicle: 1962 Bel Air sedan
Type: GM LS2
Displacement: 6.0 liters/364 ci
Compression Ratio: 10.9:1
Camshaft: Comp Cams XER273HR hydraulic roller
Ignition: Coils mounted to framerails with Clayton Machine Works brackets, MSD 8.5mm wires
Exhaust: BRP/Hedman Hedders 1 7/8-inch primary headers with 2-inch exhaust; Flowmaster mufflers
Cooling: Griffin two-core radiator, SPAL 12-inch fans, Tuff Stuff water pump
Fuel System: 20-gallon injection-ready Tanks Inc. tank, Walbro 255-lph pump, Corvette-style regulator/filter
Ancillaries PSI engine harness, ECU, and drive-by-wire assembly
Output: 446 hp at 5,800 rpm, 440 lb-ft at 4,800 rpm
Tuner: Armstrong Performance (Enumclaw, WA)
Transmission: TREMEC T-56
Driveshaft: Inland Empire Driveline billet center carrier bearing, built by Northwest Drivelines, (Fife, WA)
Rear Axle: Ford 9-inch with 3.89:1 gear and limited-slip carrier by Quick Performance
Steering: Stock power with ididit Inc. steering column
Front Suspension: Dropped spindles with Firestone air springs
Rear Suspension: Firestone air springs
Brakes: Wilwood dual-circuit master, 11-inch discs by Classic Performance Products (front) and Quick Performance (rear)
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Billet Specialties Bonneville G 18x8.5 with 5-inch backspace front, 20x8.5 with 4.5-inch backspace rear
Tires: Sumitomo HRTZ III 245/45 front, 245/45 rear
Upholstery: C.A.R.S. with 80/20 loop-pile carpeting
Gauges: Stock cluster with Auto Meter Sport Comp accessory gauges
Steering Wheel: 1970 Chevelle Comfort Grip
Shifter: Hurst
Audio: Custom Autosound Secret Audio head unit by Ed Roethel
Wiring: Painless Performance by Ed Roethel
Paint: Toyota Pacific Blue Metallic


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