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Gasser Ready: 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

1955 Chevy Gasser Project

We recently featured a sweet ’57 Gasser that is being preserved the way it was found. Well I found a ’55 Chevy Bel Air that appears someone started or at least had dreams of building into a Gasser much like the ’57. Of course the project didn’t get much further than stripping some of the key components and starting on some body work. After the project was abandoned, it was parked in the barn and forgotten. It might not be as cool as the ’57, but with bidding here on eBay just over $5k, it’s a project just about any of us could take on! Think, you could build your own mean Tri-Five Gasser without having to ruin an already complete car and it would already have that rough and worn look to it!

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Interior

Being in Rochester, New York means there is plenty of rust issues, but it doesn’t look to serious at this point. Personally, I would address the few holes in the floors I see and simply treat any rust on the body to keep it from progressing. As long as it isn’t structural, I think the rust gives it a mean look! We all have different tastes though, so I would love to hear what you would do with the rust!

1955 Chevrolet Engine Bay

The engine is clearly missing and it would seem it and the transmission are long gone. That’s alright though if you are going to build it in a hot dragster, as you’ll want to install something more aggressive in it anyways! The ’57 Gasser is currently powered by a Pontiac 400, which could be a great option for this ’55, but if your building it yourself the options are only limited by your imagination and maybe your budget. For a period look and performance, I would look for a 421 or 428 to drop in it and possibly try to track down a Roots Supercharger. Of course, it you want some serious performance and don’t mind if it isn’t period correct, you could drop a modern LS engine from a Corvette in it (LS9 anyone?)! So what would be your dream engine to have in this Bel Air?

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

While it’s always sad to see original cars modified, I always appreciate tastefully done period cars. This one might not have been built back in the day, but someone already started the job, so why not finish it? It won’t ever be original again anyways, so you might as well have some fun with it! And in the end, you could have a really sweet machine you can be extremely proud of. The question is, how would you build it? Would you go the rough but period route or would you turn it into a record breaker?


  1. Avatar photo Donnie

    I do not se any thing that has ben done to it that has hurt it other then no engine our trans and the bucket seats /and grill and bumper taken off/ the front end looks like it is up a little high I think that is because of no engine it has not ben mad into a straight axel it looks like the stock suspention and nothing looks to be cut it could be a nice car again

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  2. Avatar photo Dave Wright

    True racers preferred 2 door sedans (with post) because they are lighter.

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    • Avatar photo randy

      And the post for extra roll over protection. I like ’55’s

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    • Avatar photo dave

      Maybe true in the old days but with today’s mega powerplants, not true anymore.

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  3. Avatar photo Duffy

    Rochester, New York////Hello salt.

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  4. Avatar photo PaulG

    This car is in really good condition considering it’s current location (looks like it’s originally from PA).
    A 55 hardtop should be kept original, or tastefully modified. YMMV…

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    • Avatar photo Brian

      This guy sells cars all the time – I’m thinking he’s a dealer based on how many I see listed as I live in Rochester and he lists cars all year round…

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  5. Avatar photo 64 bonneville

    core support has been modified to move radiator forward, and cross member for front trans mount has been cut out or removed. could it have been altered, originally for a big block? who knows. For a car from Pennsylvania, very limited body rot. May have had some previously repaired? body mounts, which are a mother bear to put in, look pretty good. wire brush the underside and POR-15 it, more for protection, than anything else. go cheap with a 350 and 700R4, back seat is identical to my last 57 Bel-Aire, keep the Corvair buckets in the front for a period look.

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  6. Avatar photo Bobsmyuncle

    I for one consider the Tri Fives as rather mundane. EVERY car show or gathering from May to October is littered with them along with their apparently indispensable ‘little boy counting to ten’, fuzzy dice, and Coca Cola coolers and paraphernalia.

    They aren’t rare guys. And there is a lot of cool stuff to do without irreversibly altering a car.

    I love them but I’ll walk past 20 of them with barely a cursory most of the time.

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  7. Avatar photo Vince Habel

    There was a time when these got a 409.

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  8. Avatar photo Barzini

    None of the above. I’d go for the black-and-white 1955 Chevy that you featured on January 1. That car looked like it had an easier life.

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  9. Avatar photo piper62j

    Great to start with.. everything you need is readily available for show, race, or street driver.. This one’s cool..

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  10. Avatar photo jimmy

    a new roots supercharger would be what you would want a modern supercharger would be way more efficient than an older one unless you’re going for it being 100% period correct.

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  11. Avatar photo Jason Houston

    Another typical customizer’s project that got shanghaied due to lack of interest. How sad… Maybe someone with guts and experience can take this potential beauty and return it to something that will really stop the show. These handsome hardtops had several gorgeous color combos!

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  12. Avatar photo dave

    Up and away!!

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  13. Avatar photo Mark S

    If it were mine I’d go with red front white roof and back just because I like red. I’d put a 327 cid a TH 350 and some 3.25 gears in the back. I’d then go back to bumper, grille and any other stock feature. Finally stock wheels ( chromed ) with chrome baby moon hub caps. I find a correct seat and have it done up in dark grey leather with matching door cards. Finally I’d have dual exhaust with quite mufflers. I would not partake in the car shows, not really interested. Nice find great potential.

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  14. Avatar photo Jake S.

    I would want to build it similar to this, with a traditional custom vibe and a whole lot of attitude.

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  15. Avatar photo starsailing

    Have to go visual theme and streetable….349-409, old worked over 4spd hydramatic tranny, 3×2’s . Or… 392 Chrysler hemi and torqueflyte. Fenderwell headers. Use silver/black stock side door panels and back seat and go to some kind of matching silver buckets from Corvair or 64 and older SS Imp. Late 50’s Ford rear end. Leave body as is and add blue Plexiglass side windows. Blue metalflake and chrome steering wheel…Super Sun Tach and NO other gauges…..you’ve seen a bazillion in red or black, or blue….through the years. Pie crust Cheater slicks on back with steel rims painted white. Solid axle up front with Halibrand mag spoke wheels..Aluminum pipe capped and painted black for legal street riding front bumper…8 track player…..playing Dylan or Byrd’s…” My Back Pages!”

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  16. Avatar photo Jim

    I’ve always wanted an old gasser. But I’d go with period engine, maybe Pontiac, Olds or a 409, Hilborn injection is mandatory, I have it on a big block Chevy for this season. Some guys went with straight front axle, some got ball joint extensions and special shocks so the control arms dropped farther. Roll bar and modern cheater slicks, have fun and run it till it breaks, build it again.

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  17. Avatar photo john michael justice


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