DACC Feature Car
August 2005

1955 Bel Air Two Door Hardtop
Sonny & Nancy Poteet

My Toy

I wasn't even looking for a classic car but noticed a '55 Chevy Bel Air that was being stored in a friend's warehouse. Once I learned it was for sale, I couldn't' get it off my mind. A few days later, I went back only to learn the owner was interested in buying some jet skis. I had two new Kawasaki 1100 jet skis with a custom trailer and yes, we traded toys.

When I first got the '55, I wanted it to be a "driver" and just cruise around town. Later, I decided to build a show car. The more I drove it and regularly participated in street races with Mustangs and Cobras, I decided I wanted a race car. Nine years later, I have them all!

As with all classics, it's a work in progress. I'm constantly thinking of different things to do with the car, often while sitting at a car show for hours. You have the opportunity to get so many great ideas to improve upon your own vehicle. One of my latest additions to the car was a custom designed (Bow Tie) fuel cell made out of polished stainless steel. As I proudly removed the old red plastic fuel cell to install this beauty, I never would have guessed what a fire hazard I was creating. Several weeks later at a car show, the suns' reflection off of the fuel cell proceeded to burn one of the leather inserts inside the deck lid. I continued to watch the smoke for a minute before I knew what the problem was. Needless to say, I have replaced several panels as they will burn in a matter of seconds if the sun shines directly on this (very polished stainless steel) fuel cell. Although it's a minor design flaw it could end up in a disaster real quick. I have since made a leather cover for the fuel tank to use at car shows on sunny days.

I have always wanted a car or truck with a blower. A couple of years after I got the '55, I replaced the 454 with a Chevy 502 big block and cut the hole in the hood (you should have seen my wife's face when she saw that hole) for the blower. Later, I added the roll cage, just in case I ended up at the drag strip. It's always a lot of fun to take off my helmet at the drag strip and watch the facial expressions of the younger generation. They can't believe a 63 year old man is still drag racing and they'll often apologize if they beat me. I made a bracket that attaches to the roll cage to mount a small camcorder for the racetrack. I'll keep this footage and replay it when I'm too old to race.

Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoy this '55 Chevy!  My best memories would have to be the 2003 Hot Rod Power Tour (from start to finish), three Cruisin' the Coast tours to Mississippi and also the Lone Star Classic Chevy Conventions in Texas (www.LoneStarChevys.com). I also enjoy spending time with my friends in the Houston Classic Chevy Club and Dallas Area Classic Chevys.  I have no immediate plans to change anything on my '55 but I'm sure something will come up when I least expect it! 

Car Specifications