Completing The Trio
Some problems are just more enjoyable to solve than others. Take Rodger Weihe's predicament from a few years ago, for example. At the time he owned both a '55 and a '56 Chevy, but he was missing the all-important bookend of a Tri-five trio-a '57. (Sounds like the type of problem we'd like to have.) Being the true enthusiast that he is, Rodger figured there was only one way to rectify his situation. He'd have to build a Pro Street '57 to occupy the empty slot in his garage.
Beginning with a beater '57 in need of a total rebuild, Rodger enlisted the help of friends and employees (he owns Rodger's Body Shop, in Louisville, Kentucky) to create a show- and street-ready machine. The car was torn down to the bare frame, which was then molded, smoothed, and back-halved. A ladder-bar suspension was built to hang the 4.86:1-geared 9-inch rearend and monster Mickey Thompsons, while the front end was treated to 2-inch dropped spindles, disc brakes, and skinny Cragar wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich rubber.
A 502-inch GM crate engine was elected to power the Pro Streeter, with a 3-percent overdriven Weiand 6-71 blower adding an extra degree of horsepower and visual impact. Rodger bolted on a duo of Holley 660-cfm carbs to distribute fuel to the beast, while Hooker headers were added to expel the Mallory-sparked fumes. A Turbo 400 automatic with a B&M shifter and TCI converter was bolted up behind the big-block.
Considering that Rodger owns a body shop, it's no surprise that the '57's sheetmetal was given the utmost attention. Though the body was left essentially stock (except for the stretched rear wheel openings and a few shaved emblems), it was thoroughly straightened and smoothed before being sprayed Cardinal Red. The real custom metalwork took place inside the car, where a '55 Chevy dash was installed and modified with molded gauge pods housing Mallory instruments. Scott's Upholstery was given the task of finishing the show-winning interior, and did so by stitching the custom seats, console and door panels in a great-looking combination of tan vinyl and tweed. Other appointments included an '85 Cutlass tilt steering column and a billet wheel.
With the '57 on the road (and winning awards wherever it goes), it seems that Rodger has solved his dilemma, and done so in fine style. Like we said, some problems are more fun to solve than others. This one looks like a blast to us!