Rod & Custom Feature Car

Mark GiddingsNewport Beach, California, '57 Chevy Custom

Chassis

The 50-year-old 'rails have been braced with a 1x2-inch X-member to eliminate body flex, and C-notched in the rear to drop the back half of the body. Danchuk 2-inch dropped spindles help plant the front on the pavement. Firestone 'bags were bolted in at the front and rear and add to the overall on-the-groundness of the Chevy. Brakes are Danchuk discs up front and rear drums.

Drivetrain

Even in the engine compartment, it's all about style, starting with custom inner fenderwells and firewall. Mike Hardesty's balanced and blueprinted 383 stroker mill with 11.5 compression runs an Edelbrock Air-Gap intake and Demon 750. The custom 'striped Olds air cleaner and Moon aluminum valve covers were painted with the body color, and the ram horns exhaust manifolds were ceramic coated. Oneway Trans in Corona, California, built the TH350 with a shift kit, B&M 2,500-stall converter, and Gennie shifter. A Ford 9-inch rear is filled with limited-slip 3.56:1 gears.

Wheels & Tires

In keeping with the '50s vintage look Mark was going for, the smooth steel wheels from Wheelsmith were dressed up with '50 Oldsmobile hubcaps with tri-spoked spinners. The Dayton radial whitewalls are from The Candy Store and measure P205/70R15.

Body & Paint

The decklid and a portion of the rear quarter-panel are the only sheetmetal not to undergo a radical transformation by Jimmy Ruiz. The body was smoothed, filled, and sectioned. The familiar '57 front end was customized with a '55 Dodge grille with a center from a '52 Plymouth. A pair of '54 Mercury headlights was frenched in, and the hood was pancaked and nosed. The '69 Chevelle windshield was chopped and laid back between Appleton spots. The handmade front fenders were stretched and reformed to create the lakes pipes enclosures and the wheelwells were re-arched. That side trim came from a shoebox Ford, added above the modified '51 Mercury rear fenders, skirts, and trim. The rear antenna was frenched, along with the '56 Packard taillights. The final touches were the white vinyl Carson top, Jimmy's paint (it's House of Kolor Sea Foam Candy Green) and Dave Whittle's pinstriping.

Interior

Not much trace of nostalgic '57 Chevy remains in the interior-designed by Jimmy Ruiz-where the stock dash was replaced by custom steel and trim, filled with gauges from Classic Instruments. The chopped '64 Olds steering wheel was mounted on an ididit column. Door panel trim is from a '49 Merc, with custom armrests. Mark and the shotgun passenger ride on musclecar-era Camaro seats, upholstered in white vinyl with forest green piping by Kiwi Kustom Upholstery. The rear bench is split by a Sledsville-built center console trimmed with '53 Merc spears. Dominic Solomon at Sledsville installed a custom sound system.