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1955 Chevy Bel Air Convertible - First Impressions

Last A Lifetime

By Dakota Wentz, Photography by Rich Chenet

For whatever reasons: scientific, personal, or traumatic, certain things just stick out like a sore thumb in our minds. Almost to the point that it seems the images have been burned on the inside of our eyelids and every time we close our eyes there they are front and center. There's no escaping it. Or is there?

When Tom Nicholson closed his eyes, he repeatedly saw his neighbor pulling up in the driveway with their '55 drop top Bel Air. For years Tom saw those images time and time again. Finally he figured the only way to win is to fight fire with fire.

Tom contacted Mark Moses at Moses Automotive to concoct a plan and build a '55 drop top. Between Mark, Tom, and Greg Melms (also of Moses Automotive) they decided to build a '55 that would cover several areas: dependability, comfort, looks, and of course, speed. Moses Automotive designed the entire car in and out and then located a rust-free shell in South Dakota (talk about a kick-ass name). From there they based the car around a set of Colorado Customs 18- and 20-inch rims. A set of Art Morrison framerails were ordered, along with an assortment of other goodies from AM. The power that drives the '55 is from a late-model Corvette, a good ol' LT1. The boys at Moses Automotive stepped things up though with a set of LT4 heads, LT4 intake manifold, TRW pistons, and a Powerdyne supercharger tops it all off.

The body was meticulously fitted, sanded, rubbed, and painted by Classic Autoworks. There the hood was nosed, decked, and filled. The door handles and trunk have also been shaved. The finished result is a smooth shiny PPG Viper red surface. Lee's Trim Shop covered the group of one off interior pieces in tan leather.

Well did it work? Was Tom finally able to remove those images from the back of his eyelids? Maybe. But I got a feeling the only thing he sees now when he closes his eyes is HIS drop top '55 sittin' in the driveway!

TECH SPECS Owner Tom Nicholson
Vehicle '55 Bel Air Convertible
Engine '97 LT1, Chevrolet aluminum LT4 heads, TRW pistons, Comp Cams camshaft,
LT4 intake manifold, Powerdyne supercharger with 8 pounds of boost,
Headman headers, Flowmaster mufflers, estimated 400 hp at 5,800 rpm,
Assembled by Moses Automotive
Transmission '97 Chevrolet 4L60-E
Rear End Ford 9-inch with 4:10 gears and limited-slip assembled by Moses Automotive
Suspension  
Front Art Morrison spindles, Art Morrison tubular A-arms, Shockwave airbags,
7-inch drop, Brembo brakes
Rear Art Morrison framerails, custom four-link suspension, Shockwave airbags,
Brembo brakes
Wheels  
Front Colorado Custom 18x7 inches
Rear Colorado Custom 20x10 inches
Tires  
Front Yokohama 245/45/18
Rear Yokohama 285/45/20
Exterior PPG Viper Red by Classic Auto Works, Toledo, OH
Interior Glide custom seats, custom door panels, custom carpet, Moses Automotive
Custom console, upholstered in tan leather by Lee's Trim Shop of
Toledo, OH
Stereo Alpine head unit with MTX speakers, subwoofer, and amplifier
By Dakota Wentz
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