Un­ortho­dox Ori­gins

From Pa­rade Floats to Resto­mods


Un­ortho­dox: Contrary to what is usual, tra­di­tional, or ac­cepted. Need­less to say, this ’55 Chevy 210 was built a lit­tle dif­fer­ently. It might look like a well-sorted, mod­ern hot rod—and it is—but it was built by a group of guys who nor­mally make things like pa­rade floats and 3-D artis­tic dis­plays for com­pa­nies like Van­ity Fair and Dis­ney­land. So where’s the con­nec­tion? How did they go from pa­rade floats to hot rods? The tran­si­tion is sim­ple, re­ally. They are just a bunch of guys who are both cre­ative and know how to build stuff—two skills that go hand-in-hand with build­ing cus­tom hot rods.

Steer­ing the ship is Craig Bu­ga­jski, owner of Artis­tic En­ter­tain­ment Ser­vices, who also hap­pens to be the owner of the ’55 Chevy 210 we’ll be talk­ing about to­day. He’s the idea guy and the one who ul­ti­mately calls the shots. But when it comes to their dab­bling in hot rod build­ing, he fully ac­knowl­edges that they’d be nowhere with­out Mark Beard­s­ley. Beard­s­ley is a true gear­head who’s been a diehard mini-trucker for years and spends ev­ery free minute go­ing to car shows and build­ing stuff. So, be­tween Craig and Beard­s­ley and a com­pany made to fa­cil­i­tate cre­ativ­ity and turn­ing ideas into re­al­ity, the jump to build­ing cars was ac­tu­ally pretty nat­u­ral.

It all started about eight years ago when the guys were look­ing for some­thing to tin­ker with at the shop in

Azusa, Cal­i­for­nia, dur­ing breaks and af­ter hours. Craig al­ways had an affin­ity for ’55 Chevys so that’s where they started. He found one for a cou­ple grand that needed some work—ac­tu­ally a lot of work—which was per­fectly fine with them. It was noth­ing more than a frame and body, com­plete with co­pi­ous amounts of rust. Since fabri­ca­tion and met­al­work were right up their al­ley, that was no prob­lem and they got to work. Once they started work­ing on the ’55 they never stopped. It’s had mul­ti­ple en­gines and trans­mis­sions over the years and even to this day Craig sees plenty of room for im­prove­ment.

At the end of the day—or at least at the time we wrote this fea­ture—Craig’s ’55 Chevy 210 is as fol­lows: The foun­da­tion of the car is an Art Mor­ri­son GT Sport chas­sis com­plete with a Ford 9-inch rearend and 4.11 gears. The 9-inch is con­trolled by a four-link sus­pen­sion sys­tem while up front are tubu­lar A-arms. At all four cor­ners live Koni coilover shocks as well as beefy Wil­wood brakes, which are sup­ported by a CPP mas­ter cylin­der, booster, and pro­por­tion­ing valve.

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