Street Shaker

Street Rodder - - Contents -

Jim Her­sh­berger’s ’57 Chevy Bel Air Shakes the Streets

Many times it’s the sim­plest ex­pe­ri­ence that opens the door for some­one to pave a new path in life, es­pe­cially if it hap­pens at a young age. For Jim Her­sh­berger of Hen­der­son, Mary­land, that par­tic­u­lar mo­ment hap­pened when rid­ing home on the school bus one day when he heard the sounds of a thun­der­ing V-8 that lit­er­ally shook the sides of the bus. Much to his sur­prise it was his older brother, Joe, in his ’67 Chev­elle SS who caught his at­ten­tion with that wicked mus­cle car, for­ever chang­ing his path. From that point on he was drawn into the per­for­mance world and spent plenty of time watch­ing his brother work on cars in the fam­ily drive­way.

He even­tu­ally earned his li­cense and the keys to a ’70 Ply­mouth Duster and be­gan to fre­quent the lo­cal Tas­tee-Freez in Chestertown where he grew up, check­ing out the hottest cars on the strip on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. As time passed he and good friend Bobby Os­born fre­quented the lo­cal dragstrip ev­ery week­end where Os­born would run the strip and Jim would cap­ture it all on video, lead­ing to a friendship of over 30 years. Os­born later sourced a par­tially built Pro Street

’55 Chevy, which he com­pleted for him at his shop in Fair­lee. With a fas­ci­na­tion for hopped-up cars, es­pe­cially Tri-Five Chevys, an­other friend led him to a Pro Street

’57 Bel Air (25 years later) that was for sale lo­cally, hav­ing re­cently ar­rived from Kansas. It was a solid, well-built car, ready for a full makeover to Jim’s spec­i­fi­ca­tions. A deal was made and the car was hauled back to his home shop for eval­u­a­tion.

Work­ing with Os­born he out­lined the changes for the car. It was an easy de­ci­sion to meet with Gary Corkell, owner of One-Off Rod & Cus­tom in Mid­dle­town, Delaware, to bring the vi­sion for the re­vamp to life. For a rock-solid base the car

was pre­vi­ously equipped with a fac­tory frame, which was treated to cus­tom cross­mem­bers and back half to ac­com­mo­date a mas­sive in­jec­tion of rub­ber. Out back a Strange En­gi­neer­ing S60 rear was packed with 4.10:1 gears spin­ning match­ing 35-spline axles and sus­pended in place by a cus­tom four-link and draglink matched to QA1 dou­ble-ad­justable coilover shocks. Up front to up the han­dling and set the stance, tubu­lar up­per and lower con­trol arms were deftly matched to 2-inch dropped spin­dles and

QA1 coilover shocks with steer­ing mov­ing through a power rack-and-pin­ion unit. To add plenty of stop­ping power a Wil­wood En­gi­neer­ing dual mas­ter pushes fluid through stain­less lines to match­ing drilled and vented discs at each cor­ner wear­ing four-pis­ton calipers.

Link­ing it all to the street are a set of Weld Rac­ing AlumaS­tar 2.0 wheels sized 15x4 in front and 15x15 out back (with dou­ble bead­locks) wear­ing Hoosier rub­ber.

To give the car plenty of hard-core per­for­mance Jim con­tacted Paul Rose at Rose En­gine Ser­vice in Havre de Grace to build a 540ci big-block beast ca­pa­ble of spin­ning the Hoosiers. With the block mas­saged to per­fec­tion it was filled with a Bryant Rac­ing Crank linked to Man­ley H-beam rods wear­ing JE forged alu­minum pis­tons with a healthy thump from COMP Cams. A set of Dart alu­minum heads make plenty of power, es­pe­cially when com­bined with a BDS 8-71 su­per­charger topped with a cus­tom EFI sys­tem. An MSD ig­ni­tion sparks it to life and spent gases dump through a set of Le­mons head­ers to a cus­tom 41⁄ 2- inch stain­less ex­haust with Flow­mas­ter muf­flers. It’s all good for a healthy 983 hp at the rear wheels. For mov­ing the goods, a fully re­worked Chevy TH400 by the House of Pain in Chestertown links to a drive­shaft from QA1.

Want­ing to give the body a dose of new­found al­lure, Corkell and his team stripped it to bare metal and fol­lowed by shaving the driprails, adding cus­tom door han­dles from Kindig-It De­sign, craft­ing cus­tom in­ner en­gine bay pan­els, and adding HID head­lights. The team then set all the gaps, metal-fin­ished the body, and prepped it for a deca­dent coat­ing of BASF cus­tom Black Cherry Pearl ac­cented by a Snowflake White Pearl roof. In­side a cus­tom dash was filled with Auto Meter di­als to mon­i­tor the vi­tals while a Bil­let Spe­cial­ties wheel linked to an ididit col­umn steers the course and a Hurst stick pulls gears.

Brad Wurzbacher and the team at Lucky 7 Rod Shop gave the in­te­rior a face-lift, cov­er­ing a set of cus­tom buck­ets, side pan­els, and con­sole in maroon Ul­traleather and suede ac­cented by black loop car­pet while a Pain­less wiring har­ness and 10-point rollcage com­pletes the of­fice. This is one mean Street Shaker ready to take on the streets of Mary­land.

For the dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence: https://bit. ly/2LOBp13

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