1957 Chevy Bel Air - Flame It Like You Mean It

The Flames on the Outside of This Bel Air Are Just the Start

Tony Kelly May 1, 2003 0 Comment(s)
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Chuck Anderson is known around Albuquerque, New Mexico, as "Otto." That makes sense because he's into "autos" in a big way. Otto is a car builder in his hometown and built this beautiful '57 himself, in his own way. He did a restoration on the car for a customer and let the owner know that, if he ever wanted to sell, he should give Otto a call. Anderson used to have a '57 210 post that ran a dual-quad 409 which he sold to finance a family (a familiar story to car guys). Obviously, the car did come up for sale, and Otto snapped it up.

Out came the 283 and the three-speed column; in went a Lingenfelter 383ci cranking out about 520 ponies. It was hooked up to a 700-R4 to make it a cool driver. While contemplating a beefier rearend choice, Anderson came upon an '86 Vette IRS for reasonable bucks at a swap meet. Out went the 10-bolt rear and leaf springs; in went the Vette's IRS. The new rear made the stock frontend obsolete, so it was replaced with a full set of polished Heidt's components. Out of nowhere came this guy who told Otto he had a complete '59 Corvette Rochester Fuel Injection with cable drive distributor. He couldn't pass on that, so it replaced the Lingenfelter EFI Super Ram. That was sort of "good news, bad news" as the Rochester was completely cool but way too small for the 383. Out came the stroker, to be replaced with a "built 327" that was just right for a '57.

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The gold candy flames took Otto about four months to get right. Once he saw how cool those were, he decided the dash should match. After that, it was the headliner, visors, arm rests, and package tray. Seems logical, right? Full-length sidepipes are great looking on a '57, but in this case they also helped clear the IRS. Some rocker modifications were necessary, but we'll forgive that. Otto gets to at least a dozen rod runs a year, and the Bel Air has turned in the very low 14s at close to 100 mph at the local dragstrip, which is at 5,000 feet elevation.

Otto Anderson is serious about cars, flames, and making them all match his personality. Who else would we want to see with a Tri-Five this beautiful?

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