Wheels Keep On Turn­ing

Glenn Grozich’s ’55 Chevy

Street Rodder - - Contents - By ROB FORTIER Pho­tog­ra­phy by ROBERT MCGAF­FIN

To say that the bil­let wheel is an im­por­tant aspect of hot rod­ding as we know it is a bit of an un­der­state­ment—it, and the sub­se­quent ac­ces­sories it spawned, is re­ally a cor­ner­stone of our hobby. Since its adap­tive in­cep­tion some four decades ago, only one pi­o­neer of the Ma­chined Alu­minum Age is not only still around but forg­ing for­ward like no­body’s busi­ness: Bil­let Spe­cial­ties’ Glenn Grozich.

The man­u­fac­tur­ing trade has pretty much been a part of Glenn’s en­tire life. Be­fore he grad­u­ated high school or was even li­censed to drive, Glenn worked with his fa­ther at the fam­ily ma­chin­ing busi­ness where he first be­gan in­te­grat­ing his work with a pas­sion that, at the time, his fa­ther didn’t quite un­der­stand. That pas­sion of course was hot rods, which Glenn ini­tially made one-off parts for his own, and by 1985 he saw what he thought was an op­por­tu­nity to of­fer ma­chined alu­minum prod­uct to the hot rod­ding pub­lic, and hasn’t looked back.

While many com­pa­nies have come and gone, Bil­let Spe­cial­ties has not only re­mained a main­stay in this in­dus­try, they’ve con­tin­ued to evolve since cre­at­ing those two-piece di­rec­tional wheels in the late ’80s.

But one thing hasn’t changed: Glenn’s ad­dic­tion to hot rods … and mus­cle cars … and, well, cars in gen­eral. He’s still got his first—that Deuce coupe that served as a test bed for his early prod­uct de­vel­op­ment—as well as some you and I will only dream of ever own­ing. His lat­est, a ’55 Chevy 210, is some­thing he just hap­pened to stum­ble across late one night in the park­ing lot of the ho­tel he was stay­ing at in Ten­nessee: “My friend Buck and I ended up calling the owner and get­ting him out of bed to come down and talk to us,” Glenn re­calls. A deal was made, but as you can imag­ine, it wasn’t long be­fore the per­son­al­iza­tion phase kicked in and, “… af­ter a few months of own­ing it, I sent it down to Troy’s for a few mod­i­fi­ca­tions.”

Now, by Troy be­ing Rad Rides by Troy, we all know that the word “few” is not some­thing that ap­plies to much of any­thing that hap­pens there—and Glenn got more than a few things done un­der Trepanier’s care. First and fore­most was some mi­nor chas­sis work—in other words, the old foun­da­tion was rolled out and a brand-new Art Mor­ri­son GT Sport Tri-Five chas­sis put in its place. The small-block the ’55 drove in

with was also ditched in fa­vor of a slightly more po­tent 540ci big-block with a TREMEC five-speed to match up with the Strange En­gi­neer­ing 9-inch. The en­gine has ac­cord­ingly been out­fit­ted with a Bil­let Spe­cial­ties Tru Trac ser­pen­tine sys­tem, their throw­back vin­tage air cleaner cover, and script-etched valve cov­ers. And those wheels that mount to Wil­wood ro­tors (with cus­tom Rad Rides edi­tion calipers), they too are in­deed Bil­let Spe­cial­ties—but since this is the owner’s car, they’re one-off num­bers Glenn calls the “Knuckle” in 18- and 20-inch di­am­e­ters with Miche­lin

Pi­lot Sport ra­di­als.

The Chevy’s mir­ror-like black ex­te­rior got some fresh ac­cent up­dates cour­tesy of Sherm’s Cus­tom Plat­ing while the in­te­rior re­ceived new OE-style square-weave car­pet from Bill Hirsch to com­ple­ment the square-pleated Del Ray vinyl­cov­ered bench seats and door pan­els. Be­fore giv­ing the 210 back to Glenn, the crew at Rad Rides in­stalled a full Pi­o­neer sound sys­tem, up­dated the gauges with Clas­sic In­stru­ments All Amer­i­can Tra­di­tion se­ries with a colum­n­mount tack, and added a four-point roll­bar for safety’s sake.

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