Nice car with great paint, mildly modified interior, cold A/C, and great-running small block V8. Original colors, no serious modifications, and very clean throughout. Wonderful Tri-Five cruiser!
The code 687 Onyx Black paint is pretty nice, and it’s this car’s original color. Not perfect, but it looks great. If we had to guess, we’d say it’s perhaps 10 years old and hasn’t seen anything but fair weather cruising. But it’s the sheetmetal underneath that makes this car special, because it’s laser-straight. The doors open and close with ease, the hood fits beautifully and doesn’t move around, and there’s a lot of new weather-stripping throughout so it seals up well. The shiny 210 trim doesn’t allow for many mistakes in the panel alignment area, and you’ll note that this one fits so well you’d think it was done with a ruler. And speaking of the trim, it’s all extremely nice, from the chrome 1-piece California-style bumpers to the side trim to the jet-inspired hood ornament. Out back, the taillights were already some of the most ornate of the period, but this car has been fitted with aftermarket lenses that feature the Chevy Bowtie emblem, which is a neat, subtle touch.
The black vinyl interior is the biggest departure from stock, but it’s beautifully done and uses almost all the original hardware, so it looks right for the period. It was originally code 564 Charcoal, so it’s not too far off from that. The split bench is original and slides on well-oiled adjusters and the diamond-pattern upholstery has a vintage ‘50s vibe that really works. The carpets were new at the same time, the door panels were upholstered to match, and, well, if you’re not an expert, you may not even notice that it isn’t 100% stock. There are no drastic modifications beyond seat belts and a later AM/FM/cassette radio, which uses the original knobs and broadcasts through the factory speaker in the dash. An under-dash A/C unit is similar to what might have been installed sometime in the 1960s, although it appears to be backed by modern components, so it’s quite effective and easy to service if you need to top it off in the future. There’s also a 12V power point tucked in next to the A/C unit, perfect for charging your phone or your GPS. The steering wheel remains in excellent condition, the bright trim on the dash looks fantastic, and all the gauges are fully operational, although the temperature gauge seems to be a bit of a pessimist. Lights, horn, wipers, signals, and other accessories are all fully operational, too. In back, the trunk is outfitted with a correct rubber mat, full-sized spare, and a jack assembly. Peel the mat back and you’ll find original trunk pans with only a small area with some rust—nothing significant, but on a car this clean even the little stuff stands out.
There’s no way to be 100% certain, but we believe this to be the car’s original 265 cubic inch V8. It shows T0920GF on the stamping pad, which decodes as follows: T = Tonowanda assembly plant 0920 = September 20, 1955 assembly date GF = 265 cubic inch V8, 1955 build date, 3-speed manual transmission, with A/C It all adds up pretty well and we can’t argue with how it runs. With a 4-barrel carburetor up top, it starts quickly and easily, idles smoothly, and pulls through traffic with real enthusiasm. Our first drive was on a 40-degree morning, and the handsome little Chevy just shrugged it off and went about its business with a minimum of fussiness. It has obviously been recently rebuilt and detailed, with Chevy Orange on the block, correct stamped valve covers, and nicely finished “ram’s horn” exhaust manifolds backing it up. The A/C compressor up top is a modern Sanden unit that’s both more compact and more reliable than the original, but a factory 12V generator still makes the electricity. There’s a big Harrison radiator up front, and the engine-driven fan is augmented by an electric pusher fan on the front of the A/C condenser to ensure that it stays chilly even in traffic on hot days. The firewall and inner fenders are extremely clean and much of the wiring has been replaced recently and everything works. The 3-speed manual transmission shifts easily and has well-chosen ratios to allow the V8 to just purr through traffic using its ample torque to pull it along in high gear. 3.08 gears out back make it very comfortable on the highway and the custom dual exhaust system uses glasspack-style mufflers to give it that warm vintage rumble that always sounds great. Rockers, body mounts, and the frame all remain in excellent shape with zero issues that should concern a new owner. Even the spare tire well is untouched and excellent! Standard steel wheels and hubcaps look great and it wears a recent set of Goodyear radials, but think of how this black car would sparkle with a set of wide whites!
This is not a show car, but it’s a terrific car that you can get in and use immediately, regardless of what you’re planning on doing. Comfortable, spacious, smooth, and fun to drive, it’s everything that’s great about the Tri-Five Chevys, all wrapped in an honest, clean, no-stories package. Call today!
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com