1957 Chevy Contrasts!
The sport of drag racing continues to embrace the legendary 1957 Chevrolet. The examples are everywhere and they differ vastly, ranging from restored originals to highly modified replicas.
We really admire the effort and the deep history behind the 1957 Chevy raced by the Willard family (Leominster, Massachusetts). Janice Willard is now the driver of a spectacularly prepped ’57 that runs in NHRA’s Super Street 10.90 and also in the Super Pro category. In fact, Janice is just the latest family member to drive this particular car. It was purchased by family patriarch Larry Willard back in 1966 and has been driven (in addition to Larry) by Joyce, Nick, and Jessica Willard. Originally this was a Formula L2 Stock four-speed car with a 283ci engine, but it now houses a 600hp 0.060-over 427ci bigblock engine. Janice’s husband, Nick—who races a ’57 Chevy in Top Sportsman—oversaw this Chevy’s rebuild in 2017, which put it back into action after about a 15-year absence from the dragstrip. The great-looking machine features some very cool gold/brass anodizing, which gives it a perfect car show quality finishing touch.
Out from Western Canada comes a ’57 Chevy with the exact opposite finish. This new Pro Modified version, which comes from Red Deer, Alberta, is owned by Dean Bettenson and has certainly achieved its “scrap yard look” objective with a highly effective rust and dirt wrap done by Palmer Signs (Sacramento, California). Dean, who’s BelAir Power Chevy is a newcomer in the Pro Mod ranks, began his adventure after Bunker Motorsports (Sacramento) built the car. In stark contrast to the rough exterior look is a very unique engine program that falls well outside the Pro Mod class norm. Bettenson has a 526ci PSI (C rotor) supercharged alcohol burner, but uses EFI individual coils between the framerails. Dean’s machine became an immediate fan favorite following its debut at Las Vegas late in 2017. The team includes valued crewmembers Bob Bunker, Rick Worthington, Michael Barnett, and Ryan and Darryn O’Conner. Dean funds his innovative racing effort as a 100-percent independent, but he is the founder and owner of BelAir Power and Production Equipment, which is deeply involved in the province of Alberta’s oil patch industry.