Colorado High Country bodyman Don Plomski (D&D Auto Body) is renowned for building street rods and customs, and Plomski's customers have the trophies to prove it. However, the "Big-D" of D&D didn't do it all on his own. Don's wife, Marlene, pretty much runs the shop: "Things wouldn't get done nearly as quickly without Marlene," says Plomski. "She adds a definite sense of order to the chaos!"
To show his appreciation, Plomski built his lovely wife this mild-custom '53 Chevrolet Bel Air. As contemporary customs go, this one is pretty nice-nice enough, in fact, to win awards like the Good Guys (Denver) Coolest Custom Award, the Denver Super Chevy Show's Custom Rodder Pick, and numerous awards on the Darryl Starbird National Rod & Custom Show circuit including Best Design, the Darryl Starbird Hall of Fame Award, and Starbird's highly prized Elegance Award.
Powered by a fully dressed '95 tuned-port Corvette LT1 small-block and backed by a TH400 transmission, Marlene's Chevy features D&D/Mustang II front suspension with Flaming River rack-and-pinion steering, Koni shocks, and Air Ride Technologies airbags.
Out back, you'll find a 3.73:1-geared 9-inch Ford doing its thing, working in concert with Air Ride Technologies airbags, Posies rear springs, and Konis. Braking comes in the form of Mustang II discs up front and 11-inch Ford discs out back. Rolling stock consists of a set of 17x8.5-inch American Torq-Thrust IIs and BFGoodrich Radial T/A rubber.
Of course, that awesome bodywork is what most people ooh and ah over. Plomski chopped the Bel Air's top 4 inches. He rolled the front pan, frenched the headlights, added a '53 Pontiac grille insert, and welded-in a concave Z28 Camaro middle section into the hood. If that wasn't impressive enough, he also shaved the door handles, added a sunken rear license plate, and rolled the rear pan. What about the rear fenders? "The rear quarter-skins are from a '47 Studebaker, with late-model '95 Cadillac taillights."
The interior of Marlene's Bel Air is equally as impressive. Items like a custom dash and console with VDO instrumentation, '69 Chrysler 300 seats, Juliano's seat belts, a Vintage Air air conditioning system, and a Bose Audio system are showcased by
Ed Baines soft tan leather upholstery. Painted in BASF '98 Mustang Cobra Mystic Paint, "DARLOW" (as the '53 Bel Air is tagged) is one of the nicest early-'50s-style contemporary custom "Stovebolts" we've seen in a long while.