When we came across this duo of Tri-Fives at the recent Super Chevy Show in Maple Grove, we were quite impressed. As editors, we often see cars that are labeled "his and hers," machines that, in many cases, have been built to assuage the years of scorn and torment many significant others give inretribution for the disease known as "car fever." In many cases, true love is blind to many of the things people are most interested in.
Gary and Flo Garman of Pennsylvania, however, have been car enthusiasts since day one. Back in 1973, when the couple was just starting out, at the ripe old age of 20, they bought a 1956 Chevy and went straight to work on it, making it a perfect cruising automobile. Years later, after the Garmans had worked for years buying and fixing up old homes, they took the lessons they learned in that field and applied them to something new-recreating hot rods from their childhood. And instead of the typical "his and hers," the Garmans decided that they would each have their "own" car, built jointly in the family garage.
The first project started in 2003, when the couple decided that a pair of '55 Chevys would head up the building endeavor. The first was originally a New Mexico car, a Bel Air that was brought over to the East Coast in 1999. To begin the build, Flo sat down for a solid 12-hour day and purchased every single part the team needed to put the car together. From those humble beginnings in the fall, the car was complete in just eight months-quite astounding when you consider the fact that Gary and Flo built this car in their own garage.
"When we first started, we didn't know that people took years to complete projects," Flo said. "There were many mornings when we would get up at 4 or 5 a.m. to work, just because we were both so excited."
The "Fun" build, as the first '55 would come to be known, included a 355 small-block, and the Garmans added a host of performance parts to make the engine bay quite a spectacle. SpeedPro 10:1 compression pistons, dart Sportsman II aluminum heads, Edelbrock's Endurashine RPM Air Gap intake, and the latter's Endurashine 650-cfm carburetor make up some of the under-the-hood goodies. Flo figures Fun's engine makes about 430 hp to the rear wheels-quite an impressive number for a small-block with very little modification.
Just about everything else under the hood is chrome or billet, all the way down to the wire looms. Exhaust fumes travel out to the rear through X-Treme ceramic-coated headers and a custom 21/2-inch exhaust capped off with Flowmaster Series 40 mufflers. Power gets sent to the rear wheels via a TPI Performance 700R4 four-speed, with a 2000-rpm torque converter from the same manufacturer. Rollers are the ever-popular Boyd Coddington Smoothie II, 17x8 at the front and 17x10 in the rear. BFGoodrich G-Force rubber is at all four corners (245/45/17 front, 285/45/17 rear).
On the sprung/unsprung side of things, the Garmans installed a Jim Myer Racing Products front suspension, complete with tubular A-arms and 2-inch drop spindles. The front also houses QA1 coilovers. At the rear, Gary and Flo went to Total Cost Involved and picked up (or had shipped, rather) a four-link rear packed with QA1 coilovers that mates up to the 12-bolt rear end with a 3.73 gear. Stainless Steel Brakes was sourced for a four-wheel disc brake kit.