LIKE A FOX ON THE RUN
Charlie Maggard’s Tri-Five is More Than a Little Sly
SITTING IN THE STAGING LANES IN THE MIDST OF HOOD-SCOOPED DOORSLAMMERS, DRAGSTERS AND ALTEREDS, CHARLIE MAGGARD’S CHEVY LOOKS MORE THAN A LITTLE OUT OF PLACE. There are no contingency stickers, wheelie bars, ’chutes or other telltale signs that this Chevy even belongs here. It doesn’t get a lot of attention from the other drivers as they get ready, and that’s the way Charlie likes it.
“I’ve got a couple of other cars that I race at Mountain Park Dragway in Clay City, Kentucky,” Charlie said with a broad smile. “I just love racing and I like having something to go down the track in that looks nice.”
That’s why when he went with a friend to look at a car, he saw this ’55 Bel Air that caught his eye and lightened his wallet.
“I went with a friend to a pawn shop to look at a Tri-Five Chevy that he was interested in,” he said. “This car was also there. The body was in pretty good shape and it was drivable. I really hadn’t gone with the intent of purchasing anything, but after inquiring and then talking about it, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. We looked at it on a Saturday. The next day it was mine!”
Over two years’ time, Charlie went through the frame and suspension, adding new A-arms, shocks, springs for better weight transfer and Wilwood disc brakes front and rear. The back end was upgraded to wheel tubs to cover the 31x15 M/T rubbers, a 9-inch rearend, stronger axles and 4.88 gears. An eight-point roll bar stiffens the chassis while also providing protection. The stock interior was upgraded with aftermarket race seats and Stewart-Warner gauges.
Nyes Automotive assembled a 582ci big-block rated at approximately 980 hp. Anchoring the bottom end is an Eagle 4340 crank with a Moroso pickup and pan. H-beam rods connect to Wiseco gas-ported pistons. Brodix BB-3 aluminum heads top the short-block. A Sig Erson solid roller cam and lifters actuates the COMP Cams valvetrain utilizing Manley pushrods. Induction is by Edelbrock with a single Quick Fuel 1,150-cfm Dominator.
Charlie, a body shop owner, repainted the car in PPG Tango Murango, re-chromed some of the trim and bumpers and was then ready for the street and strip.
At 3,340 pounds with driver, the ’55 has run a stout 9.96 on the quarter at 142plus mph. Charlie usually runs shorter 1/8-mile venues where the car has a best elapsed time of 5.75 seconds.
With good manners, this Bel Air isn’t out of place on the street, and it’s providing surprises for challengers on the track. That makes this Chevy a stealthy fox that can not only run, but also bite.
BELOW. Nyes Automotive bolted together a potent 582-ci big-block, pumping out close to 1,000 hp.
ABOVE. Charlie’s handiwork is evident in the Chevy’s very tidy trunk.
Charlie Maggard is justifiably proud of his street/strip nine-second (quarter-mile) ride.