A while back we received some shots of a cool project being crafted over at Woody’s Hot Rodz in Bright, Indiana. It was a ’57 Chevy gasser, which is pretty cool in and of itself, but what made this one extra special was that any one of you could win it. Yep, this ’57 Golden Star Auto Parts Chevy was being built as a giveaway car for the 2017 Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals to be held August 11-12, 2017, in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
As Woody’s president Christopher Sondles told us, “I’ve always wanted to build an over-the-top ’57 gasser. I think this goes back to building model kits in my parent’s basement as a kid. A lot of what we do as builders is build fullsized model kits. I was born in 1972 and some of the earliest memories for me were of the bicentennial celebration of 1976. As a kid, one model that I built over and over again was the MPC “Spirit of 57.” With everything going on in politics and some of the negativity surrounding what it means to be American, I thought we could make a few people proud of being American by seeing a red, white, and blue tribute to the iconic ’57 Chevy cruising at shows across the country. And it has worked ... people LOVE the car.”
Now that the ride is done, the crew over at Woody’s gave us some shots of how they built this all-American ride, and some of the stuff we found out surprised us. Rather than start with a time-tired ’57 Chevy, almost the entire car is brand new. From the firewall back the Chevy is an all-new Chevrolet Performance body handbuilt by Woody’s Jerry Taylor. The entire project was finished by the Woody’s crew in an amazingly short 20 days! Yep, three weeks from start to finish which, when you see the car in person, is truly astonishing.
So follow along as we see how Woody’s Hot Rodz took a lot of new and turned it into a classic Chevy with an all-American vintage vibe.
The Badder Asser Gasser (BAG) chassis was produced by No Limit Engineering and is sold through Woody’s and Danchuk. It features an all-new design, Speedway front axle, Viking dual-adjustable front shocks, Viking adjustable rear coilover shocks, and a 48-inch ladder bar rear suspension with a Panhard rod. The chassis also incorporates a built-in driveshaft loop. A front-steer Vega box was used for more oil pan and header clearance. The frame was powdercoated blue by Creative Finishing in Batesville, Indiana. Rear drum brakes and front discs from Speedway round out the chassis.
Woody’s Jerry Taylor assembled the new Chevrolet Performance body and it was then massaged by Billy Wooten, Chris Baldwin, and Brian Graber. Once perfect, it was sent to the paint booth where Graber laid down the Axalta waterborne white basecoat. With the exception of the dash and pedal assembly, the body is new. The donor ’57 they started out with was so rough that this ended up being best way go.
One of the vintage parts on the gasser is the ’60’s era fiberglass tilt front end. We imagine it’s not an easy part to find.
Once the car was covered in the base white, the Woody’s team could start the time-consuming process of bringing the paint scheme to life. Next up was coating the top half of the ’57 in some blue Axalta base. And then using some Spies Hecker for the clearcoat.
After a lot of taping and masking it was time to add some red to the equation.
And here’s the ’57 emblazoned with its very American paint scheme. Once fully painted, Wooten and Christopher Sondles sanded and buffed the Chevy mirror smooth. The ’57 was also now riding on its Cragar 15x7 front and 15x10 rear Keystones wrapped in Coker rubber.
The car really started coming together once the Danchuk chrome and stainless trim pieces were added.
No LS here. Gassers need Gen-1 power, preferably a big-block. A plastic big-block was used to mock up everything, such as these Doug’s fenderwell headers, prior to final assembly.
The final engine was this Ed Rinke Performance (Centerline, MI) Chevrolet Performance 502-inch big-block mill. Topping off the big-inch engine is a full Hilborn EFI intake fed by a Weldon fuel system (controlled by a Holley fuel management unit) from a Jegs fuel cell in the trunk.
To keep the vintage vibe going, a set of Holley M/T finned valve covers were added and for rock solid reliability, a PerTronix Flame-Thrower distributor was stuffed behind the Hilborn intake. The brakes were built around the CPP aluminum master and adjustable proportioning valve. Lastly, the engine received a full CFR pulley system and finned oil pan. The big-block is backed up by a GearStar Level IV 4L80E with a 2,800-stall converter that sends power back to the John’s Industries Ford 9-inch rearend with a Detroit Truetrac posi and a set of 4.56 gears.
The interior was kept simple, as a gasser should be. Woody’s made the machine-turned aluminum door panels and added a Jegs four-point rollbar. Auto City provided the blue-tinted glass while American Autowire was sourced for the Chevy’s electrical system. ProCar bucket seats and host of other soft parts were later added to end up with a comfortable interior that retained the needed vintage feel.
The gasser finally came together once Taz, from the Sketch Pad in Cincinnati, Ohio, started adding the extensive hand-laid pinstriping and lettering.
It’s hard to believe that this project took a scant three weeks to finish, especially when you see the Chevy in person and can judge the quality of the work. It’s also a testament to today’s aftermarket where so much of these iconic cars can be bought brand new and rust free. If you want to find out more about how you can have this ’57 in your garage visit www.trifivenationals.com.