Their heads were going from side to side as if they were searching for a good street race. When we rolled into the Chevron station and pulled up to the two-toned '55 drop-top, the first words we heard were, "Are you from SUPER CHEVY magazine?" Before we could say yes, the faces of Warren and Linda Langness were put to ease. As we cruised to the photo location nestled into the Santa Susanna mountains, we couldn't help but to think about how excited these semi-retired Bow-Tie buffs were to have their ride appear in the magazine. For all we know, they arrived an hour early just to make sure they were there first. To be honest, they didn't seem like the hot rodding type, but to our surprise they had owned the '55 for 33 years.
In 1971 Warren and Linda purchased their convertible from an elderly widow in Van Nuys, California. They paid $250 for the car and drove the 16-year-old weekend cruiser to their garage in Simi Valley, California. For 18 years the '55 was used as weekend transportation, quick jaunts around the neighborhood and even the occasional carpool. After being retired to the Langness side yard for 15-years, Warren and Linda decided it was time for a revival. Seeing as they were retired and in need of a project, they began looking into the process of restoring a '55 Chevrolet convertible. As they quickly realized, the process of building a resto-rod is costly and involved.
In no time at all they quickly became acquainted with their local hot rod scene and got a recommendation to Bill and Billy Hart of Hartrods, located in Ventura, California. After receiving the '55, Hartrods pulled the body off the '55 to survey the damage. To their surprise there was little rust and the car was 95-percent intact. The body was taken to T&S Auto Refinishing for paint and body repair while the chassis was stripped and powercoated. After the frame glistened like new, it was outfitted with dropped spindles, new de-arched leaf springs and disc brakes up front. Out back, the stock 10-bolt was tossed in lieu of a custom built 9-inch housing 3.73:1 gears. Monroe shocks and a modified X-member finished off the chassis.
While the new 700-R4 and 350-crate motor were being prepped for installation, T&S had each individual panel dipped as well as the bare carcass. Starting from bare metal, T&S straightened each panel to its former glory and prepped the '55 for paint. With a difficult decision ahead, Warren and Linda stepped out on a ledge and went with a custom teal/blue mix they call Lagoon Blue, accented with India Ivory White.
To give their convertible a mean stance, Boze 17-inch billet rollers wrapped with BFG rubber were dropped on all four corners. Interior comfort was achieved with a custom leather interior and fabricated center console. As no modern cruiser is complete with out A/C and power steering, Hartrods installed a Vintage Air A/C system complimented by March pulleys, power steering, and vacuum assisted brakes.
Over the course of 18 months, Warren and Linda Langness had 33 years of history flash in front of them and have an exciting new ride to show for it. With the exception of carpool, we're pretty sure that Warren and Linda will be back to their old tricks in no time.
OwnerWarren and Linda Langness
Vehicle'55 Belair Convertible
EngineGM Goodwrench crate motor 350-SB, Edelbrock Performer intake manifold, Edelbrock 600-cfm carburetor, MSD ignition, K&N filtration, Extreme Heat headers, Flowmaster 2.5-inch exhaust, March serpentine belt system, Vintage A/C, assembly and installation by Hartrods, Ventura, CA (805/658-1227)
TransmissionGM 700-R4, 2,200-rpm stall, assembled by Hartrods
SuspensionOE design(F) McGaughys dropped spindles, Monroe shocks, GM 11-inch disc brakes(R) 9-inch rear housing, 3.73:1, OE parallel leaf springs, Monroe shocks, 2x11-inch drum brakes
WheelsBoze Stinger Billet(F) 17x7 inches(R) 17x8 inches
TiresBF Goodrich g-Force(F) 235/45/17(R) 255/50/17
InteriorCrown Victoria front seats, gray leather seating surfaces, custom carpet kit, white vinyl top, Dolphin instrumentation, Colorado Custom steering wheel, Flaming River column, power windows, fabricated dash panel, Secret Sound stereo head unit, interior by Jesse's Upholstery, Saticoy, CA (805/647-4580), stereo installation by Hartrods
ExteriorPPG custom Lagoon Blue and India Ivory two-stage, paint and body by T&S Auto Refinishing, Ventura, CA (805/650-3243