Kent is quick to credit many friends who helped in the five-year build, including Charlie Quong, Bill Carlton, Bill Hancock, Chris and Bruce Eshelman and, of course, his wife Jennifer. Their efforts and inspiration helped this rookie rodder transform a once-forlorn four door into an eclectic, electric crossover custom.

Rod & Custom Feature Car
Kent Ladner
Katy, Texas
1955 Plymouth Belvedere

Chassis Kent updated the stock frame with a '98 S-10 Blazer frame clip and upgraded the suspension with custom upper and lower control arms, Belltech dropped spindles and Firestone air bags. The '02 Ford 8.8-inch rearend uses 3.43:1 gears and is supported by Firestone air bags connected to a custom Extensive Metal Works two-link setup. A modified '02 Camaro pedal assembly controls the '04 S-10 booster and master cylinder, which is plumbed to stock Blazer front discs and '02 Camaro rear rotors with '99 Chevy pickup calipers.

Drivetrain A small-block Chevy feels right at home in the S-10 frame stub. Kent rebuilt the 350 using a Comp camshaft, Mallory ignition, Edelbrock intake and a Demon 625cfm carb. He also added March pulleys and modified Hedman headers before building the trick-looking custom air intake system. A 700-R4 transmission makes for easy interstate cruising.

Wheels & Tires The CNC craftsmen at Bonspeed carved out custom 20x8.5-inch rollers for the old Mopar, which were then wrapped in Falken 245/30R20 rubber.

Body & Paint Kent followed a simple philosophy on the body mods: If it shines, shave it! With the exception of the grille, headlight trim and bumpers, Kent removed every bit of stainless and chrome ornamentation from the Plymouth. He also shaved the driprails, removed the vent windows, relocated the fuel filler to the trunk, reshaped the taillight pockets, made custom taillight lenses and modified the front and rear window frames to accept glue-in glass. Chris and Bruce Eshelman at Esh's Enterprises in Tomball, Texas, performed the finish bodywork and prep, and get credit for the brilliant '98 Audi Laser Red finish.

Interior The upper half of the dashboard is the only piece remaining from the original '55 interior. Kent modified it to accept Auto Meter instruments and a monitor for the in-vehicle PC. A Fusion Brain control center manages 24 relays that direct nearly every vehicle function - from the starter to the power windows, headlights, air ride controls and, of course, the killer sound system, which features Orion amps, subs and speakers. A Lokar shifter and accelerator pedal, Flaming River tilt column and Bonspeed wheel accommodate the few functions still controlled by manual input. Kent's mother Vickie stitched the gray upholstery, using modified '96 Cavalier seat frames and '64 Mustang foams as foundations. A Clifford alarm system keeps everything safe.

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