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If you’re already familiar with Project X, then you’ll know that the Bel Air is a pretty special car and The Smoking Tire has been introduced to a unique 1955 Chevy Bel Air that will change how you think about hot rods.
There is a crazy collection of cars at supercar Sunday in Woodland Hills California, everything from exotics, new cars, old cars, hot rods and muscle cars. In and amongst the vast array on show, this striking 1955 Chevy Bel Air is owned by Craig Morrison of Art Morrison Enterprises and is a real hidden gem.
The basics of this 1955 Chevy Bel Air
The car features a 427 cubic inch small block engine that’s capable of 536 hp and has been built with the custom Art Morrison GT Sport chassis. When it comes to original parts, a lot of the car is new technology and the exterior is the only true 1995 Chevy Bel Air, but it’s packed with originality.
It has independent front suspension and a solid rear axle as well as adjustable shocks. When it comes to just cruising along through local streets, the car is pretty comfortable and when it only takes 5 minutes to stiffen the suspension, tackling the roads through the canyons is a whole new experience.
The car has a Dodge Viper transmission which makes shifting and gearing almost like a modern car. Due to the focus on the suspension, performance and handling, this car is different to a lot of older vehicles.
What was the aim of this project?
The unique angle of Art Morrison Enterprises is the aim to create a custom old car that’s actually drivable. This car has been driven quite a bit already and thanks to its new custom-built chassis, it’s easy to drive for 15 or 16 hours a day without feeling like you’ve been beaten up when you get out.
When starting off in this Bel Air, it’s easy to feel disconcerting. The engine revs up and down really quickly so you need to shift pretty fast in order to keep up with the engine but to combat this, there’s a short throw of the clutch. It moves perhaps only 6 inches which can be strange at first but is actually fine and improves the driving experience as a whole.
The best aspect of this car is the way it can put down similar numbers on a track when compared to a Ferrari 575 Maranello. It does 0.9 on a skid pad and its 0-60 is 4.2 seconds. The car weighs an impressive 3800lbs – the same as a modern day Camero.
The stylistic choices
The overall look is pretty neat too. The blue comes from the WRX Subaru and is combined with the Ford Wimbledon white to give a striking profile.
The interior of this car is pretty cool as well. Custom fabricated aluminum dash dials give it a smart and unique look that pay homage the 50s era.
The actual overall driving experience is great. Most hot rods can be terrifying to drive over 30mph through the canyons but this handles and sticks impressively well which just goes to show that it can be done – an old school hot rod can become the ultimate modern day driving machine.