Faithful Reproduction: 1955 Chevrolet Big-Block Badman

Art imitating life or life imitating art? In the ’60s, drag racing standouts like Gassers and Funny Cars were memorialized by assemble-it-yourself model kits. One, in particular, was a 1955 Chevrolet 210 that lived as a 1/24 scale Monogram kit known as “Badman”. The artistry was designed by Tom Daniels and for your review, today, we have a real, live 1/1 scale of the Monogram Badman. It is located in Bunker Hill, West Virginia and is available here on eBay for a current bid of $28,501, with twenty-two bids tendered so far.

We have covered the drag racing phenomenon known as the “Gasser” here on Barn Finds with subjects like this Ford Anglia but mainstream marques, like Chevrolet, were part of the action too.  Chevy small-blocks, and later Mark IV big-block engines provided plenty of grunt as they were well-acclimated to racing modifications. Beyond that, it was a matter of an uplifted front end for weight transfer, overall weight reduction, rear traction modifications, and perhaps, radiused rear-wheel wells to accommodate oversized slicks. While the kit appears to no longer be a part of Monogram’s current catalog, it can be found on eBay and other online sources.

But why bother with a kit, when you can buy the real deal right? And this real-life example is pretty impressive in its outfitting. It is powered by a “blown” 454 CI big-block engine (even though the model has “396” emblazoned on its flanks while the actual kit included a 283 CI small-block motor) connected to a Turbo-Hydramatic transmission and then lashed to a Ford 9″ differential with 4.11 gears. Built over six years ago, this Badman is equipped with many mods and mechanical racing features. The seller states, “runs excellent and fast“. There’s no reason to assume otherwise!

As for the exterior, it is a faithful reproduction of the original Badman with the possible exception of the rear wheel wells, they were radiused on the model but the seller, in this instance, has kept the standard openings and tubbed the wells with a professional installed Warner tub kit. The seller states that a modern two-stage canary yellow finish has been applied and the only body detractions are some waviness in the hood caused by bracing necessary to allow the supercharger to protrude. The seller adds, “the car was built to take the shows the car gets a lot of attention everywhere you take it“.

The interior has more of a comfort/cruising vibe than it is a full-on racer environment and that is logical as this Badman isn’t really designed for drag strip action. There is an installed roll bar but it is unknown if it is up to NHRA standards but it’s a nice touch nevertheless. The comfort factor extends to the sculpted bucket seats (a hard-core Gasser would probably have just a driver’s seat) and the custom center console. Also, there are nicely crafted aftermarket gauges occupying the original ’55 Chevy instrument panel binnacle, the kind associated with a street cruiser or a custom.

Faithfully reproduced it is, and this Chevy would be the major attraction at a local show or cruise-in. If I had my druthers, I’d lean towards a Two-Lane Blacktop presence primarily for its dreaded stealthiness and almost hands-off persona. Let’s face it, if this Badman is your thing, you’re going to have to like attention, right?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. 8banger Member

    Drool. And yes, I had this model!

    Like 12
  2. Ike Onick

    What a nice boy. He said goodbye to his mother.

    Like 20
    • Dave Mazz

      What gives??? Is mom driving the 396 CID version of this car?? :-) :-)

  3. jerry z

    I remember that model like it was yesterday. Built the car but my brother broke it like a bunch of my other models! That is one bad mofo!

    Like 5
  4. Steve R

    This car is kind of a joke. They took a dated, but well built Pro Street car, cut up its roll bar to the point where it’s useless at the track and painted it to look somewhat like an old model kit. The didn’t even try to get the wheels it stance anywhere close to the car they were copying. Without the lettering and fake class designation it’s something I might have stopped to look at, in its present form, I’d keep walking.

    Steve R

    Like 8
    • Dave

      True, but it made me remember when my parents would go food shopping at Haines in Pleasant Hills and I’d run to the magazine rack to check out the latest battle between Stone, Woods, and Cook vs. Big John Mazmanian. Those were the days…

      Like 13
      • Barry L Klotz

        I remember Stone Woods and Cook and Big John . If I’m correct , Stone Woods and Cook had a 39 or 40 Willy’s coupe. Lovef those years.

  5. nlpnt

    It’s missing the “II” after “Badman”; the original all-plastic Badman kit was a hardtop, this is a 2-door post like the ’90s/00s diecast-bodied version.

    Like 7
  6. grumpyboy

    Yes, this is a lazy attempt at an icon, the front bumper and lack of spoiler is a dead giveaway, but you’re right this is a sedan not a hardtop.

    Like 3
  7. AMCFAN

    I am going to give the guy props. No it isn’t a hardtop. Sans the wheels and a few things it largely looks the part. No kid in the early 1970’s was without the Monogram kit and those kids still know what this attempt is from a mile away.

    I was in first grade when I got mine. There was a hobby shop in a guys garage a three blocks away from my house in the hood. I would pass the shop walking home from school. He had walls of models and a huge slot car track. He seemed to have everything.

    When I saw the Badman kit I had to have it but didn’t have the money. The guy who owned the shop put it back for me and he let me make payments. It was a hard road of collecting pop bottles. I did it. Glue was .25. The only time me and my old man bonded…..plastic. He told me stories of his 55. Life at that time was good.

    I dreamed of having the real thing for years. I see this and I guess I still do. Some things never change.
    I am glad to finally see the real thing….or something close.

    Thanks for the memories.

    Like 20
    • 67Firebird_Cvt Member

      I miss the smell of that glue….

      Like 8
    • Jeff

      Great story thanks for that!

  8. Steveo

    If it’s not going to exactly identical to the last nut and bolt why bother. No hold barred cost is no object or stay home.

  9. Jay E. Member

    Hopefully someone,somewhere has done a faithful re-creation The Badman. This ain’t it.

    Like 3
  10. John C.

    Yes as a kid being a model builder back in the day I had this model kit 3 times, built the original and 2 other versions of my own. I did win 2nd place at a hobby store model contest with one of them.

    Like 4
  11. Terry

    I wonder if the owner lives in that old trailer?

  12. Mark Moriarity

    not to mention the fact that the model is a 2dr hardtop and this is a sedan, total fail

  13. rsgear

    PICK, PICK, PICK All you commenters here ever do is complain. You can’t ever appreciate something for what it is, with you guys it’s always, that’s not right, or it should be this, or who knows what you guys will come up with to complain about next. So it isn’t perfect to the original, it is still worthy to be shown and admired. Say something nice for a change.

    Like 25
  14. Dave

    Some people just don’t grasp it. This is the first I’ve ever responded with a negative comment. Yes, it is a very nice car and worthy of being seen and enjoyed,BUT it is no way representative of the Badman. Not even close. The graphics ruin the car because it isn’t even close.

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