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402-Powered 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Rat Rod

Chevrolet redesigned its cars in 1955 and the three-year run was so successful that they would later be dubbed the “Tri-Fives”. Part of the allure was the first Chevy V8 since 1918. This ’55 Bel Air sedan didn’t benefit from that when new, being a basic six-cylinder and 3-speed manual car. All that is gone now in favor of a built-out 402 cubic inch big-block with a Muncie 4-speed. It doesn’t look great after sitting for years and the seller recommends that you not buy the car if your goal is to restore it (just drive it the way it is, rust and all!). Located in Bostic, North Carolina, this rat rod is available here on eBay for $17,500 OBO.

As the story goes, this two-tone Bel Air sat in a Texas junkyard for many years when the seller found it. During this time, besides collecting rust, it also collected some bullet holes and broken windows. The rear quarters were cut oversize not for racing but to be fitted with dual rear wheels. The seller bought it for parts but had a change of heart and decided to go for a gasser-style build. So that’s how it ended up with a 402 engine from a 1971 Chevelle SS 396.

We’re told the major rust has been repaired, such as the floor pans, trunk area, and spare tire well. Sure, there are some small holes here and there, but nothing structurally problematic. Once all that was taken care of, the seller set out to right the ship mechanically. Which included a lot of suspension-related work, such as a new fuel system, new brakes, a Pontiac rear-end, and a ton of other stuff.

Then the main ingredient was added, the 402 big block that has been tricked out with no mention of what the power output is today. With the high-rise intake and carburetor, no hood is involved unless you cut one for that purpose. Fender well headers have been installed, so the car is loud – internationally. The old-school Cragar wheels compliment the rat rod look which was the seller’s goal. If you buy the Chevy, he/she recommends you drive it to events the way it is – don’t try to fix it up (the seller acknowledges that far better cars are out there to do that). This is one of those machines that you either love – or you don’t.


  1. Avatar photo Cadmanls Member

    Tilt front end, smooth out the rear wheel wells. Put some plexiglass sliding side windows, fiberglass trunk lid, flat black paint and Two lane Blacktop recreation! What could be cooler than that?

    Like 19
    • Avatar photo arkie Member

      Don’t forget the straight axle if you’re going for the 2 Lane/American Graffiti/ Adam 12 look!

      Like 7
      • Avatar photo Robt

        No straight axles, please.

        Like 3
      • Avatar photo Mike Cipperley

        ABSOLUTELY YES TO STRAIT AXELS AND GASSERS HOWEVER I like your 55 my favorite of the tri fives just wish the quarter panels weren’t cut rather jack the the car up then cut anyway cool car just the same love the 4speed too.

        Like 1
      • Avatar photo Wademo


        Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Rw

    If it was gray primer not flat black

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Cadmanls Member

      Been a while since I saw the movie, might have been black, it fades after time but irregardless, NO straight front axle. Think some of the youngsters on here have no idea what the movie was or who was in it.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Rw

        The two lane car has straight axle

        Like 0
  3. Avatar photo Richard Martin

    Should have put an LS in it.

    Like 0
  4. Avatar photo Citizen X.

    I see bail $$$ involved with this wonderful toy……

    Like 6
  5. Avatar photo Old Beach Guy

    Kudos to the honesty of the seller in his eBay description.

    Like 8
  6. Avatar photo dogwater

    Hey Pa where’s the jug

    Like 2
  7. Avatar photo Ride on the Crazy Train Fun 🤩

    Looks like a fun beater .

    Not keen on quarter panels cuts 😗

    Besides the vibrations could be good for your back with a 30 minute pedal to the metal drive. Plus stopping could excercise the heart muscles too.
    A 402 engine on a single no reserve manual braking system is a Ozzie Osborne “crazy train” song in the making…

    I had a 55 hardtop in HS with a 340 hp C2 327 engine.
    I kept the rear quarters and shackled it up a lil with reversed 8 inch rims.

    Good luck on sale

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Claudio

    In high school this spoiled but nice guy , got this as his first car ! Same look but well done with a big block and all the required 70’s stuff , we still bump into each other and he still has it ! He has toyed with it , improved it but its crazy that he still has it !

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Randall

      Insane as you say!!!

      Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Rick

    I’m not a lover of Rat Rods it just seems to be a cheap way out of building something that could be beautiful.

    Like 4
  10. Avatar photo Rackman 2000

    Lots of potential & fun…

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Joe Machado

    Saw this and knew it was my old 55 Bel Air sedan.
    I got out my form when I bought it in 1964.
    I sold it while in the Army in 1966 in Louisiana near Texas.
    All the dots were connecting, but, nope, not mine.
    Nope, serial for mine is lots different.
    I had gauges in dash the same way.
    Chromed the golve box and ash receiver.
    Mine, the radiator is behind the support. This was a 6 cylinder car and no V in serial says so. Mine was the 265.
    Things I did were a common thing happening then.
    Oh well, excitement over.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Wademo


      Like 0
  12. Avatar photo Steve R

    Overpriced for what it is, a rusty, beat roller that someone put an engine and transmission in. If someone wants something similar, start with a better body, the driveline wouldn’t be particularly hard, not expensive to replicate.

    Steve R

    Like 3
  13. Avatar photo David C.

    That is a rust bucket with a fairly nice motor, and highly overpriced. Gonna be a LOT of surprises in the hunk….

    Like 2
  14. Avatar photo Robt

    I’d pull the intake setup and sell it off to recoup funds. Run a dual plane 4bbl intake setup and find a stock hood. Dump the through fender headers and run dual exhaust straight out back. Maybe up grade the front brakes to discs with the appropriate master cylinder …
    And drive it, daily.
    Of course, hopefully, at a bit less than the asking price.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Alan Helgerson

      It has “dual quads”, not just a single carburetor on a high rise manifold. Ultra-cool car.

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo Robt

        I saw the dual quads Alan. Apparently you didn’t follow my train of thought. I’d have no need for dual 4bbls. For a daily driver it’s got way more carburation than needed.
        I’m a fan of the ‘kiss’ principle, ‘keep it simple stupid’.

        Like 2
  15. Avatar photo Toypartman

    Kinda looks like the car Freiburger and Dulcich put together on Roadkill Garage except theirs was a 56.

    Like 3
  16. Avatar photo Chris Cornetto

    Look honey! I found a car like I had when we met 55 years ago. TWO WORDS HAROLD…….GRAY DIVORCE!

    Like 1
  17. Avatar photo Larry

    I have made alot of money on much worse! I love it, but I just bought a 41 coupe!!

    Like 0
  18. Avatar photo Shuttle Guy Member

    It ain’t a “Gasser” without a straight axle.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Rw

      Read rules for gassers , straight axle not required

      Like 0
  19. Avatar photo 8banger Member

    For the love of all that is holy, relocate the battery to the trunk!

    Like 3
  20. Avatar photo 19sixty5 Member

    4.88 gears, you won’t be cruising too much. The Pontiac vacuum gauge mounted on the air cleaner won’t be there for long. Everything else has pretty much been said…

    Like 1

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