Jim and Debbie
1955 210 Sedan
My involvement with the Tri-Fives started when my brother, Henry, and I went in halves on a ’57 4 door Bel-Air to get to and from high school. The following year, when he got his license, I sold my half to him and bought a ’55 2dr hardtop and have had this affection ever since. My youngest brother, Doug, also caught the Tri-Five bug and that is where this begins.
This car has some family history. Those of you around the Cowtown Classic Chevrolet Club in the early 80’s might remember this car as being black and gold with a very sparse interior. Doug drove it thru high school and into college. We had always had cars around the house of one sort or another. With 4 boys mom got to the point when we talked about getting another car she asked, "does it have a motor?" Even though I had already married and moved away from home, this was one of those projects I was able to help and encourage Doug on. He had already rebuilt the 265 engine and had the car running good. We started putting the T-Bird interior in the car along with Chevelle bucket seats before he was killed in an industrial accident. The night before Doug died he called for some help installing a new ignition switch in the ‘55. I stopped over to help him install it after I got off of work. I am so thankful that I took the time…little did I know that it would be the last opportunity. The car sat at mom and dads for a while. My parents could not stand the constant reminder of their loss so I moved it to my house where it sat for years, as I could not emotionally work on it. Fast forward…to 2000, I decided that this is my car now and I need to make it respectable again for me, and him. I then proceeded to rebuild the engine, finish the cars brackets for the interior, the wiring, and had it stripped down and painted. Like many it stayed in ‘paint prison’ for what seemed like forever. At this time it was getting more difficult to stop and I knew that I had to go forward with the interior. It has been a slow process but well worth it.
This car has been a lot of fun and I expect it to continue. I was able to introduce my youngest daughter to the drive-in movie in Granbury this fall in this car. What a joy!
Just recently I was at my mom’s house and came across a dash plaque from a run Doug had made in July 1983 to Chisholm Park in Hurst, Texas with the car. What a pleasant surprise.
Would I do anything different? Yes, I am ready for more horsepower and debating on automatic or 4 speed. Like many I am just trying to figure out how to afford this addiction. I have power front disc brakes to be installed this winter.
‘55 Chevy 210 2dr. sedan w/Bel Air side trim
When I chose the colors I was looking for something different, something subtle, something that you have to look twice at to take it all in. My daughter loves these old cars and wanted flames on it but my wife said no way to flames. She was thinking about the bold, loud flames but she came around and accepted the ghost flames because it all depends on the lighting and direction the car is viewed as to whether you even see them or not.
I did all of the design/layout of the interior. I built all of the brackets to install the bucket seats and the ‘65 Thunderbird rear seats. I took the ‘55 with the painted door panels and the material choices I had found to Preston’s Upholstery in Irving and told Larry Preston what I wanted. I basically painted him a picture with words and the car and assorted parts and then let him do his magic to make it all come together and work. It has an Alpine AM/FM Cd player installed in the dash surrounded with the carbon fiber insert inside original Bel-Air dash trim. It has A/C added behind the dash with custom in dash AC vents for Texas summer comfort.
Still running the 265 cubic inch engine bolted up to a 3-speed transmission. It is not a racecar but it gets me there with out problems and doesn’t overheat with the A/C on. I did have hardened valve seats installed to run unleaded gas and have added an Edlebrock intake and Holley carb.
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