SPEC BUILD

A Road­ster Shop Spec Se­ries chas­sis be­neath your Tri-Five Chevy will im­prove your han­dling ex­pe­ri­ence

Chevy High Performance - - Contents - TEXT & PHO­TOS: Jim Smart

A Road­ster Shop Spec Se­ries chas­sis be­neath your Tri-Five Chevy will im­prove your han­dling ex­pe­ri­ence

When Chevro­let in­tro­duced the all-new ’55 Chevro­let it was a leap in tech­nol­ogy along with new and ex­cit­ing fea­tures like the op­tional com­pact V-8 we know to­day as the small-block Chevy. For its time, the 1955-’57 Chevy had a state-of-the-art chas­sis and sus­pen­sion sys­tem that still de­liv­ers to­day in terms of cruis­ing comfort. How­ever, it isn’t much on han­dling when it’s time to blast through a canyon pass. Time and tech­nol­ogy in the au­to­mo­tive af­ter­mar­ket has passed up the Tri-Five Chevy’s orig­i­nal un­der­pin­nings, and we’re ready for a fresh start. We want to have fun.

In­tro­duc­ing Road­ster Shop’s trio of chas­sis options for the Tri-Five Chevy: Spec, Revo, and Fast Track se­ries frames. Vi­sion and bud­get de­ter­mine which chas­sis is for you. Hot Rod Spe­cial­ties in Up­land, Cal­i­for­nia, has opted for the Spec Se­ries chas­sis for a ’56 hard­top, which is an af­ford­able means to get­ting into a high-per­for­mance af­ter­mar­ket chas­sis without sell­ing off the farm. The Spec Se­ries chas­sis is avail­able for all 1955-’57 Chevy sedans, hard­tops, con­vert­ibles, sta­tion wag­ons, and the No­mad.

What makes Road­ster Shop Spec Se­ries frames unique is how they are en­gi­neered and man­u­fac­tured. The Spec Se­ries chas­sis is com­prised of var­i­ous dif­fer­ent pieces of square and rec­tan­gu­lar tube stock that add up to a rigid frame. Chas­sis strength is de­rived from these parts and the cor­re­spond­ing 0.125-inch wall

thick­ness. These pieces are joined via crisp laser cuts and in­ter­lock­ing seg­ments, which yield a pre­ci­sion fit.

This isn’t just about per­fect fit and strength, but also eco­nom­ics and how to build a more cost-ef­fec­tive chas­sis. The Spec Se­ries chas­sis is priced to start at $9,995, and when you ex­am­ine what it would cost you to mod­ify an orig­i­nal Tri-Five Chevy chas­sis, it makes more eco­nomic sense to order the Spec Se­ries and roll it un­der­neath your clas­sic Chevy.

Joel Rode of Hot Rod

Spe­cial­ties has taken de­liv­ery of the chas­sis, dis­as­sem­bled it, had it pow­der­coated, re­assem­bled it, and per­formed the body drop. The car is now in a South­ern Cal­i­for­nia body shop be­ing prepped and painted in a de­li­cious two-tone scheme. It will be re­turned to Hot Rod Spe­cial­ties for fi­nal assem­bly once the body is in paint. CHP

05 | The assem­bly can be chal­leng­ing af­ter you’ve had the con­trol arms and other chas­sis com­po­nents pow­der­coated. It is best not to pow­der­coat in­side the con­trol arm piv­ots, which makes polyurethane bush­ing fit­ment tricky. It’s a good idea to wear pro­tec­tive gloves when you’re in­stalling the bush­ings coated sil­i­cone lu­bri­cant. The lu­bri­cant gets ev­ery­where and is dif­fi­cult to wash away.

03 | The four-link coilover rear sus­pen­sion elim­i­nates leaf springs and con­ven­tional shocks, giv­ing you a much more sup­port­ive chas­sis. Check out the pre­ci­sion CNC laser-cut and con­toured cross­mem­bers and chas­sis brac­ing, which al­lows for 3-inch ex­haust plumbing. The Spec Se­ries chas­sis uses fac­tory body, bumper, and core sup­port mount po­si­tions for pre­ci­sion bolt-on in­stal­la­tion.

02 | Pro­pri­etary sus­pen­sion ge­om­e­try has been en­gi­neered into the chas­sis to pro­vide a great bal­ance of ride qual­ity and han­dling per­for­mance. What this means for you is a vastly im­proved ride and han­dling. You will never get this bal­ance from your Tri-Five’s orig­i­nal chas­sis. The rearend is a large-bear­ing Ford 9-inch de­sign with 31-spline axles.

01 | The Road­ster Shop Spec Se­ries chas­sis em­ploys a re­fined en­gi­neer­ing ap­proach us­ing the lat­est de­sign and man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­nol­ogy to build the light, strong, and easy-to-in­stall chas­sis sys­tem for 1955-’57 Chevys. The chas­sis ar­rives fresh off the truck ready for paint or pow­der­coat.

04 | Joel Rode of Hot Rod Spe­cial­ties (Up­land, Cal­i­for­nia) chose to dis­as­sem­ble the chas­sis and have it pow­der­coated prior to fi­nal assem­bly. At this point, he has be­gun the in­stal­la­tion of chas­sis com­po­nents, in­clud­ing the op­tional brake line plumbing from Road­ster Shop.

07 | With the up­per con­trol arms and ec­centrics in­stalled, it is easy to see how caster and cam­ber ad­just­ments are made. Once the four ec­centrics are prop­erly ad­justed and locked down it is nearly im­pos­si­ble to dis­turb the align­ment.

06 | Road­ster Shop makes front-end align­ment easy with up­per con­trol arm ec­centrics, which ad­just and lock-in caster and cam­ber ad­just­ments.

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