Regardless of where you grew up there was always one particular car in your neighborhood that ruled the streets. You could hear it coming from a 1/4-mile away as it wound through the gears accented by a nasty exhaust note glazed with attitude. It was the car that haunted your sleep and made you daydream while sitting in math class of someday being the lucky holder of the keys. For Mark Rogerson of Alymer, Ontario, Canada, watching his older brother, Tim, wrench on many of the area's most notorious hop-ups in the family driveway gave him plenty of incentive to follow a high-performance path.
Hanging out with the older crowd who were immersed in both street and drag racing he was mentored by many local legends while also spending his early years as a regular visitor to St. Thomas Dragway in nearby Sparta. Consumed by the scent of nitro and burning rubber it was here that he gained a deep appreciation for vintage drag racing and hot rods. With his area being a hotbed of rodding activity it wasn't long 'til he purchased his first ride, a 1969 Camaro RS, followed by a 1960 Chevy El Camino to hit the scene. Soon after in 1978 he sold both cars to start the search for the one that haunted him on a daily basis, a 1955 Chevy. One night while canvassing the local newspaper he spotted an ad for a 1955 Chevy 210 that was a former E/Gas class winner from back in 1966 where it raced in Minnesota. Upon checking the car out, its trunk was packed with former trophies as well as an award jacket confirming its history. Not wanting to lose out he made a deal and the keys exchanged hands.
The car wore an old butternut yellow paintjob and was urged by a vintage 283ci mill linked to a Muncie M21 four-speed, making it perfect for local cruising and honing his skills at the dragstrip. Mark drove the car as is for the first year and then decided it was time to tear it down and freshen it up. Let's see just what makes it so cool. Starting with the stock spine, a 1957 Pontiac rearend was hung out back filled with 29-spline Moser Engineering axles spinning 4.88:1 gears. To set the stance a pair of 2-1/2-inch de-arched leaf springs combined with Monroe heavy-duty tube shocks get the job done. Up front the factory IFS was used with chromed upper and lower control arms combined with coil springs having two coils removed to lower the attitude 3-1/2 inches matched to Belltech Nitro Drop two-tube shocks. To quell the speed a factory master pushes fluid through steel lines to stock drum brakes anchored at each corner. Linking it to the street up front you'll find a pair of classic 15x4 E-T Gasser model wheels topped with Pro-Trac/Coker blackwalls and 15x7 steelies out back, capped with Firestone/Coker Dragstar cheater slicks.
Wanting to breathe fire into the original 283ci mill, Mark contacted Answer Performance in London, Ontario, to work their magic. The team massaged the block to 292 ci and filled it with a GM steel crank and rods linked to 11:1 Venolia pistons while an Isky roller cam sets a heavy beat. A set of warmed-over 461 Fuelie heads generate plenty of go while up top a vintage Edelbrock TR1 tunnel ram intake wears a pair of Edelbrock Performer-Series 500-cfm carbs crowned by Cal Custom 40-40 air scoops. An ACCEL ignition sparks it to life while spend gases flow through BlackJack headers to 2-1/2-inch steel pipes with Flowmaster mufflers. To move the goods, a Muncie M21 four-speed tweaked by Danny's Transmissions of London packs a Centerforce clutch and links to a stock driveshaft. The engine dynoed at 385 hp and packs a solid punch.
Starting with a rock-solid body makes the build a breeze when it comes time to dialing it all in. Having resisted morphing the car into a shaved monochromatic Pro-Street style in the '80s Mark wanted to retain the car's original roots. He had Richard Hilton of Rich Refinishing Auto Body in London strip the car down, set all the gaps and make it razor sharp to prepare it for paint. Richard then loaded his spray gun and laid down a subtle coating of Axalta Navistar Green accented by an ivory engine bay to give it a fresh look. Inside the car has a perfect '60s vibe thanks to a stock dash filled with the factory cluster accented by vintage Stewart Warner dials to monitor the vitals, while a classic Grant steering wheel on a chrome factory column navigates the course and a Hurst Ramrod shifter pulls the gears. For comfort, the original interior was re-covered by London Upholstery in a traditional pleated style using black vinyl accented by black loop carpet. This is one 1955 Chevy that rules the streets, and to us that's the real deal.
COMP Tech Tip:
The Proper Way to Set Hydraulic Lifter Preload on a Non-Adjustable Valvetrain
COMP Cams recommends using an adjustable pushrod to check the preload. Typically, only one cylinder needs to be checked in this process. After applying lube, install the adjustable pushrods and assemble the valvetrain. Adjust the intake and exhaust valves to zero lash by changing the length of the adjustable pushrod for precise fitment. Ordering a pushrod that is 0.020-0.070 inch longer than the pushrod length at zero lash will ensure the proper preload