Rod & Custom Feature Car
Santa Cruz, California
1955 Buick Special
An Art Morrison Enterprises mandrel-bent 2x4-inch 0.120 wall rectangular tube chassis forms the foundation for this four-door hardtop, complete with Morrison Air Ride IFS and Air Ride four-bar in the rear. QA1 Ultra Ride 12-way adjustable shocks are fitted at each corner, along with a Morrison antiroll bar at the front. Wilwood brakes all round are actuated by a Master Power Brakes cylinder and booster, the pedal assembly coming from Kugel Components. All hard lines throughout the car are stainless steel by Matt Blaz of GMP. The 22-gallon fuel tank was designed in a U-shape to accommodate a temporary spare wheel, as Andy feels a spare tire is vital in a car that's driven. The chassis had a trailer hitch added, which protrudes through the rear bumper, before getting powdercoated John Deer Green. Custom-built air tanks reside along the inside of the main 'rails.
As mentioned, a new crate LS1 motor was selected owing to its ability to interface with the computer. Custom accessory brackets and the air cleaner were fabricated by Steve Sellers and Matt Blaz, with headers by GMP feeding into MagnaFlow mufflers. The Corvette fuel-rail covers wear '55 Buick Special logos by Evil Wheels. A 4L65E trans backs the motor, operated via an ididit column shifter, and feeds the power back to a limited-slip 3.25-geared 9-inch Ford axle with 28-spline Strange shafts.
Wheels & Tires
It's hard to beat a set of wires on a car like this, and the Buick rolls on a set of Zenith 15x8-inch rims, wrapped in BFGoodrich Silvertown radial whitewalls, measuring 215/70/15 up front and 235/70/15 out back.
Body & Paint
The hardtop styling disguises the fact that this is a four-door, and the stock-appearing body belies the amount of work it's received. The driveshaft tunnel and doghouse were resized to clear the new trans and to allow room for the air suspension to operate, which also required the floor to be clearanced beneath the rear seats. The trunk floor was also raised to allow clearance beneath the fuel tank at the suspension's lowest position. Under the hood, the firewall was smoothed and custom inner fenders were fabricated, the left-hand one now mounting one-off aluminum reservoirs for overflow and washer fluid. Emilio Belmonte of Evil Wheels undertook the bodywork and paint, using House of Kolor Cool Vanilla over Candy Green.
The original seats were re-covered in white and green leatherette by Ray's Upholstery in Watsonville, California, though they now incorporate '05 Cadillac folding armrests with integral cup holders, while the stock steering wheel was detailed and reused with a '55 Chevy hub welded on to mate with the ididit column. The main work inside the Buick went into the dash, fabricating the aforementioned sliding cover for the touchscreen, as well as adding what look like stock A/C vents at each side, though '55 Buicks never had A/C vents-the air pumped through scoops on the package tray from the trunk-mounted A/C unit. The original heater controls now operate a Vintage Air system. The gauges were created to look stock but actually comprise a 160-mph speedometer and a quad cluster designed for the LS1, while a trick shift indicator that changes color depending on the gear selected was built by Deme Ambrosi using a Dakota Digital gearshift sending unit.