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1957 Chevy Bel Air - Bad Apple Bel Air

This '57 Is Hot Enough To Melt Snow At Home In Utah

Tony Kelly Apr 1, 2001
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Ron Parker of Kanab, Utah, has owned this '57 Bel Air since 1978, but it only took him two decades to get serious about modifying it. When he did finally begin, it took two solid years to make it into the absolute stunner that it is now. Ask yourself where you might draw the line in customizing your own car. For many of us it would be grafting a late-model dashboard and instruments into the interior of a 40-year-old car. For the crowning touch to this flaming Tri-Five, check out the '94 Z-28 dash installed by the owner.

But Ron didn't stop there; he installed a '93 Cad Eldorado steering column (from which he also rescued the rear seats for the Chevy), found front seats from a '79 Eldo, and then R&S upholstery in Cedar City, Utah, covered the whole works in tan Scottish leather with wool carpets. All the windows are power, even the vents, and a Vintage Air unit keeps things civilized inside.

Of course what good is a beautiful interior if it don't go? No problem here, how about an aluminum '99 Corvette LS-1 hooked up to a same year 4L60E transmission, turning 3.70:1 gears in a Currie 9-inch rearend? Stock stainless steel headers are HPC coated and route through Dyna Max Super Turbo mufflers and then through the custom tip built into the rear bumper. The air cleaner was handmade and accommodates a K&N element.

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Before diving into all these custom and performance touches, Parker powdercoated the frame, installed four wheel disc brakes, added TCI tubular upper control arms, moved the rear springs inboard, installed a Classic Chevy anti-rollbar and 2-inch dropped spindles, then converted all brake lines to stainless. The gas tank is a custom-built aluminum 28-gallon unit. Wheels are Coddington-17x8 in front with huge 17x12 rollers out back-mounting BFGoodrich 245x45 (front) and 305x45 (rear) rubber.

All work except the upholstery was done by the owner, at Parker Auto Works, and he only describes the color as "funky red" which he mixed himself. Hope you kept a batch because you might have some customers, Ron. This fantastic Bel Air has earned numerous awards including Top Tri-Five at the Las Vegas Super Chevy Show and the ESPN Award of Excellence. Congratulations to Ron and wife Susan, who along with friend Julius Hardy, helped build the car. One thing's for sure, this fine example of workmanship and design won't ever be considered the bad apple of the bunch.



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