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1965 Chevy Bel Air - A Young Man's Dream

How Many Guys Start Out With An Impala And Dream Of A Bel Air?

Photography by Kevin Lee

Roger Kruger's first car was a '65 Impala. Considering that the Impala is the top-of-the-line model, you might think Kruger would be happy to drive this all over his hometown of Fremont, California. But no! He saw a sales brochure for a Bel Air two-door equipped with a 396ci engine, and that's what Roger has wanted ever since.

Eventually, he found his Bel Air while looking for a driver to replace a wrecked Malibu. Thinking this would be a good car for wife Mitzi, he bought it, but she was not impressed with the "tuna boat" size, so she got a Blazer and the Bel Air went to the paint shop.

Originally the Bel Air was thought of as maybe a cool "sleeper" with a 383ci and nitrous. Roger changed his mind after he saw how straight and bright Jim Ezzel at CARS in Lakeport, California had made the body. A broken 502ci engine was located in a race boat and rebuilt by Roger with help from Al Hubbards Machine shop in Hayward, California. A Turbo 350 handles the estimated 500 hp and 570 lb-ft of torque feeding into a 3.43:1 12-bolt rearend. Suspension is rebuilt Chevy components.

Since the car is a driver, it's already been to events in Oregon and Bakersfield, Roger wanted the interior to be comfortable. Supreme Interiors in Oakland was given the task of upgrading the stock seats with some durable gray tweed. Roger even installed a cruise control unit-he's serious about driving this car.

Once the Bel Air was finished, it turned out to be exactly what Roger was hoping for. It's big, comfortable, and powerful, three things that make a great traveling car.

Owner Roger Kruger, Fremont, CA
Vehicle '65 Chevrolet Bel Air two-door Sedan
Engine '93 502ci Chev, World Products Merlin heads, J.E. 9.75:1 pistons, Comp Cams 280H cam, .520 with 230-degree duration, Edelbrock Performer BBC intake, Holley 750 double-pumper carb., K&N chrome air cleaner, Doug Thorley headers
Transmission Turbo 350
Rearend 12-bolt positraction
Front '70 Impala spindles and 11-inch disc brakes, one and one-half coils cut, Monroe Reflex shocks
Rear Stock components with '70 Chev wagon brakes, Monroe Reflex shocks
Wheels Vintiques Chrome Ralley (15x7 w/3.5-inch bs and 15x8 w/3.5-inch bs)
Front Remington XT120, 245/60R15
Rear Mickey Thompson Sportsman, 29.50X12.50X15
Exterior Painted '95 Dodge pickup Flame Red by Jim Ezzel, CARS, Lakeport, CA
Interior Gray tweed by Supreme Interiors, Oakland, CA
Stereo Panasonic AM/FM/CD, Pioneer 6X9 four-way speakers, Pyramid 400X4 amplifier
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