Honestly, can you really do better than a bright red 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible full of shiny chrome?
You can’t beat the look of this frame-off restored droptop beauty, which has been further punctuated with that awesome lowered stance, custom leather interior, and upgraded 350 Corvette LT1 V8 under the hood that offers plenty of performance. There are a lot fewer of these around these days than you’d expect, let alone finished to such a high level that demands respect. If you love the American icons from the 1950s, there aren’t many that are more legendary than this.
Gypsy Red is a quintessential color on a Bel Air convertible, and if you’re looking for attention, you won’t be able to escape it whenever you’re behind the wheel of this beautiful droptop. The paint and bodywork were done not long ago (a scant 1504 miles since the frame-off build) and it’s simply stunning from any angle; this car will make grown men stop and stare as you motor past with a giant grin on your enviable face. Obviously, all the work was finished to a very high standard, with laser-straight bodywork and gallons upon gallons of deep, lustrous paint that shines up so slick our photographer had to wear sunglasses while this Tri-5 was in the booth. With only minor imperfections to report, and we’re talking stuff you really have to get close to spot, the bright red finish has a great shine that you’ll love polishing up on a Saturday afternoon, and great panel gaps, proper fitment, and straight lines you can practically set your watch to, all suggest that this car has led a good life since I was comprehensively restored not long ago. It’s not a perfect showcar (although it’s close), and I’m sure the snooty, mustached ‘expert’ at every car show will be able to find an imperfection or two, but you really can’t beat a Tri-5 droptop when it comes to curb appeal, and this is one of the finer examples you’ll ever find, especially at this price point. By the looks of all that great bling that complements the paint, the big chrome bumpers were refinished during the restoration and all the Bel Air-spec stainless trim was either replaced or removed, straightened, and polished before being reinstalled and neatly aligned. It is about as far from subtle as you’ll find in a classic car, but that’s really the point, isn’t it? If you want gorgeous, this Tri-5 Chevy delivers in a very big way.
The interior is equally flashy and just as beautifully executed. Custom wide-bench seats will accommodate six in a pinch, and the pure 1950s look has been thoroughly modernized thanks to gorgeous, treated Katskinz tan leather upholstery that’s supple yet firm, very luxurious, and durable enough to handle a cross-country road trip. Bespoke door panels at the flanks feature red and chrome accents along with billet hardware, while simulated wool carpets are decorated with red Chevrolet floormats that put an exclamation point on the high-end cabin. The builders were smart enough to leave the original dash alone, restoring it back-to-stock to allow the gorgeous factory design shine through, although they made choice upgrades where they actually matter with Classic Instruments gauges inside the V’eed bezel, a Kenwood AM/FW/CD/AUX/BT head unit to handle the tunes, and an aftermarket R134a A/C system that was cleverly integrated and is blowing ice cold. A leather-wrapped billet steering wheel is mounted atop a polished tilt column to give the driver added comfort, billet pedals were added below, and there’s seatbelts up front that add a little safety. A beige convertible top from Sunning Land was installed during the restoration, and it’s power actuated with a crystal-clear rear window, but we all know that it’s for emergencies only anyway. Out back, the spacious trunk is beautifully finished with custom panels, matching carpets, and even an extra ‘Dream Maker’ mat in the center for a little added flash.
Power comes from a great-running 350 V8 motor hooked to a TH350 3-speed automatic transmission that shifts through gears effortlessly. And while there’s nothing more traditional than a small block Chevy in a 1955 Bel Air, a couple choice upgrades under the hood make this classic more powerful, safer, and more reliable than any stock ’55 ever was. It’s a Corvette LT1 block, and it was built with Corvette aluminum heads complete with stainless steel valves, bronze guides, and screw-in studs, a lopey Comp cam, Sanderson cast headers, and a big Holley 4-barrel carburetor atop a polished aluminum intake. The engine bay is dying to be shown-off, with enough chrome and polished pieces to blind anyone not wearing protective lenses, and all those bright components (including the engine’s chromed accessories, steel-braided lines, billet pulleys, and bright Chevrolet valve covers and matching air cleaner) really pop out from the smoothed red firewall. From the chromed alternator, to the full HEI ignition, and the giant aluminum radiator up front, this is a car that can be driven daily, and with power steering and power front disc brakes it can even be taken on cross-country trips at the drop of a hat. As you might expect, the undercarriage is very clean a swell and features an updated Camaro front clip and a heavy-duty 10-bolt rear end hanging on beefy leaf springs and upgraded shocks, which also help adjust the attitude and set that lowered stance. Polished alloys wrapped in staggered radials really put the cherry on top.
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Location: Fort Worth, Texas, United States