Spearheaded by Jason Plummer of CARS Inc. and Phil Gerber of The Roadster Shop, an all star team of hot rodders has come together to build a state-of-the-art 1957 Chevy Convertible. Based on CARS Inc.'s amazing new 1957 Bel Air body and Roadster Shop's Tri-Five chassis, the effort is being called "Project American Heroes." The five-seven ragtop will debut at the Super Chevy Show August 10-12 in Joliet, Illinois, and then make stops at other Super Chevy events in the fall. In January 2008, Project American Heroes will be auctioned off, commission free, at the Barrett-Jackson auction, in Scottsdale, Arizona. All donations and proceeds from the auction will be sent to the Armed Forces Foundation, an outstanding organization formed specifically to serve the needs of the families of the Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
Over the past few months, the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces have had an opportunity to visit the website, www.projectamericanheroes.org, and vote for one of the seven renderings posted. All seven renderings were very cool, but as of this writing, the voting is over, and the Blue car has emerged victorious. Progress will be continually updated on the website. The site also gives visitors the opportunity to contribute online to the Armed Forces Foundation. Please consider supporting our troops by donating, or by being the high bidder at the Barrett-Jackson auction this January.
Now let's talk hardware. Put simply, this 1957 Chevy features the finest parts on the market. As a foundation, Project American Heroes is just about ready to be deemed a roller, anticipating the body being set down on the chassis within the next couple of weeks. The Roadster Shop Tri-Five Chassis accomplishes a 3-inch drop in ride height, and the ability to bolt it in using the stock factory body mount locations. Not content to use bent square tubing, the chassis features hand-sculpted framerails that offer the ultimate package in both strength and appearance. Every chassis is built with pride in their shop in Elgin, Illinois. Owner Neil Gerber, and sons Phil and Jeremy, describe their chassis as transforming the driving experience of one of the most beautiful cars ever made from archaic standards from the '50s to the best handling characteristics of any modern day performance car.
The heavy gauge, U.S.-made 1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible spot welded metal shell is supplied by CARS Inc. The "core" of the body from CARS Inc, is an original '57 cowl section with a factory serial number. The rest of the car is made with exact reproduction sheetmetal that sets the gold standard for fitment and quality. This restored body comes complete with all fenders, quarters, braces, pans, and even the convertible top bow assembly. Having a particular fondness for '57s, this particular writer was found staring and drooling over the impeccable quality of the body for hours. Forget about the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Plymouth, this '57 Bel Air body sitting at the Roadster Shop in Elgin, Illinois, appears to have been plucked off the assembly line 50 years ago, and perfectly preserved for the Project American Heroes build.
The build of the '57 is already underway. The Tri-Five Chassis is done, the Heidt's Superide II IFS Front and Triangulated Rear Four Bar suspensions have been installed, and the Moser Fab 9 rear is in place. The Air Ride Technologies Shockwaves will not only provide ride height adjustability, they will also work together with the Heidt's suspension to produce the optimum combination of performance, reliability, and ride comfort. We're talking a "smooth" ride that allows for a very low stance that is highly steerable with no bump-steer and built-in anti-dive.
SSBC disc brakes front and rear are now found at all four corners, the trick Rock Valley Antique Auto Parts Stainless Steel tank is bringing up the rear, and the chassis has been plumbed for brakes and fuel. The Flaming River power rack-and-pinion steering is attached to the chassis. Intro Wheels will mount Nitto Tires that will fill the wheel wells nicely. Providing the whoa! power will be binders supplied by Stainless Steel Brakes.
The Project American Heroes team will be building this 1957 Chevrolet as an expression of our respect for the service, courage, and sacrifice by our nation's military forces. It's because of these heroic men and women that we see the flag.