"You'll never win if you don't enter." That saying fuels so many of today's lottery players, as well as regular contestants of raffles and giveaways. But, despite the truth behind the statement, some people—including yours truly—are too pessimistic to "enter," and thus, well you get the point.
Well, Vinton, Iowa's Nancy McGowan is not only a very optimistic soul, she's also the proud new owner of the 2016 Golden State Auto Parts Give-A-Way 1956 210—the gorgeous green beauty she won at the most recent Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky. (When we said "she" won, however, we should provide a bit of backstory—in actuality, the assumed lack of her boyfriend Melvin's will to fill out his own entry form prompted Nancy to do so herself, with her name instead! So ultimately, what was his is now hers though she admits, "If it wasn't for Melvin, I wouldn't have even known about the Tri-Five Nationals!") The only slight drawback though is that Nancy has to wait three months—till after the SEMA Show in Vegas—to physically take ownership. We think that's but a small price to pay, right?
It all really started last year—for both the Tri-Five Nats giveaway program and Nancy and Melvin's attendance. While neither McGowan or her boyfriend, "Bubba," came away from the 2015 event with a new 1955 Chevy (the first of the giveaways for the event founded by Woody's Hot Rodz and held at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky) to their name, they did come away with a lasting experience—one that automatically drew them back to this year's show. This time, the experience paid off with more than lifelong memories. "Melvin's first car was a 1956 Chevy," Nancy admits. "He bought it for $79 and he always talked about getting another one so I feel this car is as much his as it is mine. This is his win too as I see it."
The 1956 210 was orchestrated and built by event founder Chris Sondles and his crew at Woody's Hot Rodz in Bright, Indiana. However, unlike last year's debut giveaway—and the 1957 that will follow in 2017—this car is based around an all-original 1956 Chevy. "While at the 2015 SEMA Show, a gentleman from Little Rock named Ed Barker walked into the Golden Star booth and said, 'If you need a perfect car to build next year's giveaway out of, I have just the car,'" Sondles told us. "Last year's 1955 and next year's 1957 are both entirely new bodies build by Woody's using Golden Star parts but the 1956 sheetmetal is still being brought to market, so having a nice, original body helped in several ways."
That original 1956 body still retains its stock chassis beneath—however, that original frame has been treated to a host of Performance Online upgrades, Wilwood disc brakes, John's Industries bolt-in 9-inch, and 18-inch Cragar G/Ts with Continental 45-series radials. For motivation, Woody's procured a dealer-fresh LS3 from Ed Rinke Performance Chevrolet and mated it with a TKO600 gear box from American Powertrain. The 6.2L engine received a Vortec LS Swap blower kit, Ultimate full-length headers with stainless Flowmaster mufflers, a bolt-on exhaust kit by Chris Baldwin, and dress-up courtesy Crane Hydrographics.
Woody's did a few non-stock modifications here and there to the 1956—including removing the hood rib, adding Eddie Motorsports door handles, and so on—before coating it in waterbased Axalta Dragon Green metallic. Brightwork from Danchuk in the form of new bumpers, grille, and stainless trim help, along with the as-cast centers of the Cragar five-spokes, perfectly complement the non-OE exterior color choice. On the inside, more Danchuk repop components were used, as were Dakota Digital VHX instrumentation, an ididit column with a CFR Custom wheel, Lokar fly-by-wire throttle and Goolsby Custom edition shifter, and a Vintage Air Gen IV A/C system. The upholstery was done in-house at Woody's, using modified bucket seats and custom-made door panels, with a tan-colored two-tone vinyl.
"Part of the thrill of building a giveaway car is the process," Sondles adds. "It's always a thrash, and it involves a lot of people. The climax is when we get to see the expression on the lucky winner's face it's priceless."