Everyone has a story about the first love that got away, but it's a lucky few that are able to recreate or improve upon those memories. Brothers Russ and Gilbert Lindley were fortunate to do just that. It seems that the good times they had right after high school in a '57 Bel Air sport coupe stayed with them long after the car was gone. Over the years each one thought about finding a replacement, but the rising prices were prohibitive until the two decided to once again pool their resources and become partners.
A suitable replacement was found, and a plan was formed which called for returning the Tri-Five to stock condition. The only exception was adding a Muncie four-speed. But after the car was disassembled, the Lindleys heard about Car Creations by Paul Newman and his Corvette suspension swaps. After talking with Newman and one of his satisfied customers, the decision to take the modified path was easy. The chassis was shipped off to Newman's where it was fitted with a full '95 Corvette suspension and custom crossmembers.
Once the chassis was rolling, it was sent over to Performance Automotive in Sand City, California, where Alf Ebberoth plumbed all the hard lines, installed and wired the LT1 and six-speed, and got it ready to accept the refurbished body. The body, which had been at D-Rods Street Rods in San Jose getting the kinks worked out and being squirted `99 Volkswagen Electric Blue by Dave Rodrigues, was then carefully placed back on its new foundation.
With the Bel Air's two major components back together a goal was set to make it to Hot August Nights in Reno, Nevada, which was rapidly approaching. After a couple of months of assembly and a week to go before the show, the car was ready to go to Kirby Kendall in San Jose for the interior trim. The interior came out beautifully with two days to spare. After a couple of bugs were worked out, the Lindleys hit the road for a 200-mile shakedown run in which the Bel Air performed flawlessly.
Sometimes it can be better than the first time.
Owner Russ Lindley and Gilbert Lindley, San Jose, CA
Vehicle '57 Chevy Bel Air
Engine '95 Corvette LT1
Transmission '95 Corvette T56 six-speed
Wheels GM '99 Corvette C5 (17x8.5 and 18x9.75)
Tires Nitto NT-555 (245/45ZR17 and 275/40ZR18)
Suspension '95 Corvette, Bilstein shocks, 12-inch discs