The very best customs are those where the work is so seamless that
you can't tell where things have been nipped and tucked. This
stunning 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible is a textbook example
of the customizer's art, a pro-built car that re-creates a '50s
mild custom that gets big results from small changes.
The turquoise paint is probably the first thing that grabs your attention, a perfect 1950s color that resonates with people today as well as it did 60 years ago. The look is always best on a car with fins, and while the '53 Chevy didn't come with any originally, this cool ragtop now wears a set of Packard taillights that give the little Chevy some big car presence. In fact, the list of modifications would probably take up all the space we have, so let's hit the highlights instead. First, there are frenched headlights up front, a subtle change, but effective. The original grille and bumper were polished up and reinstalled, but the hood ornament was shaved and replaced with some tasteful pinstripes. The rear bumper is a 1-piece California unit from a 1956 Chevy, and it meets almost perfectly with those Packard taillights. The door handles were shaved, as was the deck lid, and even the back-up lights on the Packard housings are fully operational. This is professional craftsmanship at its very best.
More custom tricks await inside, where a pair of 1964 Pontiac GTO bucket seats were installed astride a '63 Ford Falcon Sprint center console. Everything looks like it was born there and when wrapped in 1957 Chevrolet Turquoise and Antique White upholstery it takes on a period-perfect look. The original Bel Air dash was simply restored, although new VDO gauges were tucked into the auxiliary gauge slots, but the look is almost invisible. A/C and a trick audio system were added in the lower dash, which is painted white for a little contrast and to help everything blend in. Carpets, door panels, and the back seat are equally well done, totally blurring the line between stock and customized, which is just the way it's supposed to be. Overhead there's a snug-fitting white power convertible top and it folds effortlessly into the well where it's covered by a matching white vinyl boot. The trunk is pure function, with a rubber mat and mouse fur side panels, but some would argue that's exactly how a trunk is supposed to look if you plan on using it.
Don't be fooled by the looks of the Stovebolt under the hood, because the burly 235 cubic inch inline-six makes this Chevy a lot of fun to drive. Bright red paint, some chrome dress-up, and a few period touches like the firewall-mounted AC oil filter keep it firmly anchored in the 1950s. You'll note that the A/C was cleverly hidden down low so it doesn't attract a lot of attention, and it still inhales through a stock carburetor (a Fenton dual carb setup is available). Fenton also supplied the cast iron exhaust manifolds that feed a dual exhaust system with glasspack-style mufflers that give the strong-running six a great soundtrack. The head is a later and more desirable 848 casting that's been reworked for unleaded fuel, and you won't miss a V8 when you're out cruising. The PowerGlide 2-speed automatic transmission has been rebuilt and spins the stock rear end, which hangs on leaf springs with air shocks. The slammed stance doesn't affect ride quality one bit and it sits on 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, trim rings, and a set of 205/75/15 Coker wide whitewall radials.
An awesome ragtop that will delight everyone at the show who remembers the good old days, this Chevy more than delivers on a vintage custom look with plenty of performance to go with it. Call today!