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1955 Chevy 210 & 1955 Chevy Bel Air - Hot, Fun And Juicy

The Garmans Built Two Tri-Fives-Not A "His And Hers" But An "Ours And Ours"-Right In Their Own Garage.

By Thomas J. Lyman, Photography by

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.

Fun's interior is mostly stock, with some updated pieces thrown into the fray. The seats are stock, but everything received a new skin of leather courtesy of East Coast Chevy. The Garmans also added Oxblood carpeting throughout the cabin. The exterior holds Cherry Pearl paint from PPG, and some Coarse Aluminum accents. For being built in just eight months, the Garmans really hit a home run with Fun, and figured to give it another shot just one month after finishing the Bel Air.

With the project that would eventually be called "Juicy," Gary originally looked at getting a driver, not a full-on project. The idea was that in getting a driver, the Garmans could keep miles off Fun. After looking around and hoping to uncover a '67 Chevelle of some sort, Gary unearthed yet another Tri-Five, this time a '55 210 post. After a very brief conversation with his wife (who, especially after Fun was completed, happens to love '55s), the Garmans decided to purchase another '55. Flo started out just driving the '55, as it was in fair enough condition for some around-theblock driving. However, on closer examination, Flo and Gary found some hidden gremlins that would cause the couple to do yet another rebuild of a '55.

The powertrain almost mimics that of Fun, with a 355 small-block topped off with a host of Edelbrock parts and Vortec heads. Power is about the same as well, and under the hood, "Juicy" carries just as much, if not more, chrome and billet accessories. The only telling difference between Fun and Juicy (wow, that almost sounds naughty) is the tranny-Juicy packs a Tremec TKO 600 five-speed, with a Hurst shifter, and a special flamed ball-type shifter knob that actually lights up. Juicy also contains a beefier rearend, a 9-inch unit, but carries the exact same tubular front, four-link rear suspension setup. Wheels are Intro Twisted Vistas, sized to the exact specifications of Fun's wheels. The Garmans went with Nitto rubber on Juicy, 225/45/17 front and 275/50/17 rear.

The interior of Juicy is an interesting combination: the front seats were sourced from-get this-a 1995 dodge Intrepid, and were covered in two-tone off white and light Tan leather from Ultra leather. This color scheme echoes throughout the cabin, and contrasts nicely with the custom "Juicy '55" embroidery. The exterior is a Tangelo Pearl from House of Kolor, with exquisite ghost flames just under the clearcoat.

The hard issue Juicy would prove to be the bodywork. Chess Sprenkle, a bodyman helped the Garmans out on Fun, was called support on the Juicy build, but on this go around decided to do all the work themselves, including bodywork. Gary and Flo started to disassemble 04. Chess busily went to work on getting all straight, while Gary and Flo worked on painting sometimes working from 5 a.m. until the late hours Through ridiculously hard work and extreme dedication, completed in an astounding 25 weeks. That's just that both of the Garmans have a '55 to drive, move onto another pair of matching vehicles.

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By Thomas J. Lyman
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