Tri-Fine Chevy

This ’55 Chevy 210 Makes Clas­sic Style Con­tem­po­rary

Street Rodder - - Contents -

John Palaz­zotto’s ’55 Chevy 210

For hot rod­ders, hered­ity de­liv­ers more than just above-av­er­age good looks and in­tel­li­gence. It also pro­vides the gear­head gene. John Palaz­zotto of Dis­cov­ery Bay, Cal­i­for­nia, is one of those peo­ple born with that gene.

John is proud of his her­itage as a third-gen­er­a­tion hot rod­der. His fa­ther, Vince, has been build­ing cars since the ’50s. Vince’s ’32 Chevy five-win­dow coupe was ex­cel­lent enough to get a story in Hot Rod mag­a­zine at the time. His grand­fa­ther, John Neves, had a home­built chopped-and-chan­neled ’25 Chevy coupe that he dis­played at the Oak­land Road­ster Show in its early days—also earn­ing mag­a­zine at­ten­tion.

Now it’s John’s turn in the spot­light. The car that got him there is this ’55 Chevy 210. First-year Tri-Fives have al­ways ap­pealed to him. His goal was to build the car in the resto­mod style—with an ex­te­rior hon­or­ing ev­ery­thing cool about ’55s, a driv­e­train and chas­sis that de­liv­ered 21st cen­tury per­for­mance, and an in­te­rior that com­bined retro and con­tem­po­rary.

Mod­i­fi­ca­tions had al­ready been made to the Chevy when the pre­vi­ous owner listed the car on eBay where John saw it. He had the im­pres­sion that it was a fin­ished car. That wasn’t the case, but af­ter pulling it out of the snow in the woods, it started and he was able to drive it back to Cal­i­for­nia. “A white- knuckle drive,” he de­scribes. Once he fig­ured out that the Chevy would need a top-to-bot­tom re­build to meet his goals, John turned the project over to Moal Coach­builders in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia. He worked closely with Michael Moal. Moal, like John, was born with hot rod­ding in his blood, and is a fourth-gen­er­a­tion builder from a fam­ily who has turned out re­mark­able street rods. Dar­rell Sch­nei­der is a body and paint man at Moal, as well as a long­time friend of John’s. The ex­te­rior mod­i­fi­ca­tions on the ’55 are thor­ough but sub­tle. Rear body seams were filled, vent win­dows were re­moved, and the bumpers were smoothed and tucked. The stain­less grille from Cars Inc., Danchuk mir­rors, and re­place­ment head­lights from Head­winds are some of the af­ter­mar­ket parts used to re­store the body.

The wheel choice could make or break the theme of the car. Nu­mer­ous ren­der­ings were drawn with dif­fer­ent styles be­fore the Bud­nik Knife de­sign from the X Se­ries was cho­sen. The 20x12 and 19x8 sizes, with fat 335/30R20 and 245/40R19 Miche­lin Pi­lot

Su­per Sport ra­di­als, up­date the tra­di­tional-look­ing ex­te­rior. The wheels are backed by 14-inch Wil­wood disc brakes, fed by a Wil­wood tan­dem mas­ter cylin­der and pro­por­tion­ing valve.

John wanted to keep a tra­di­tional red and white paint scheme, but with a deeper, darker red than the orange-

toned red used on a lot of Tri-Fives. Maserati Red fit the de­scrip­tion, with Alpine White on the roof, rear quar­ters, and deck. Sch­nei­der shot the PPG paint. Sherm’s Cus­tom Plat­ing re­vived the chrome pieces.

The red and white com­bi­na­tion car­ries over in­side. The Glide En­gi­neer­ing front buck­ets and cus­tom rear seats were cov­ered in red Ital­ian leather, with white re­served for the head­liner. Dark gray Ger­man squareweave was se­lected for the car­pet­ing. Dave Putnam has up­hol­stered many of the nicest North­ern Cal­i­for­nia cars and de­liv­ered once again on John’s ’55. A Clas­sic In­stru­ments ’55-’56 Bel Era II six-in-one gauge pack­age

re­places the stock gauges. An ididit tilt steer­ing col­umn holds the leather-wrapped Bil­let Spe­cial­ties wheel. The au­dio sys­tem fea­tures an Alpine receiver and mul­ti­ple amps, Fo­cal speak­ers, and JL Au­dio sub­woofers in­stalled by Car Au­dio In­no­va­tions. Air con­di­tion­ing com­po­nents are Vin­tage Air. Wil­liam Crockett at Moal in­stalled the wiring.

Mod­ern en­gi­neer­ing con­tin­ues un­der­neath where an Art Mor­ri­son En­ter­prises (AME) chas­sis was built, start­ing with the 2x4-inch mild steel frame. The rear was nar­rowed to fit the big tires. The AME 9-inch rear spins Strange En­gi­neer­ing stain­less steel axles, lo­cated by a tri­an­gu­lated four-link. The AME Sport IFS fea­tures Wil­wood spin­dles and a Detroit Speed power steer­ing rack. The Chevy is sus­pended with Strange coilovers plus Art Mor­ri­son front and rear an­tiroll bars.

Un­der the hood, a blown LS3 com­bines per­for­mance and good looks. Don Zem­ina at Mo­tor Ma­chine Su­per Shop in Carmichael, Cal­i­for­nia, built the 650hp en­gine

topped with a Whip­ple su­per­charger. Moal Coach­builders cre­ated the cus­tom air in­duc­tion and air cleaner sys­tem. They used their in-house CNC ma­chine to build the bil­let oil ac­cu­mu­la­tor tank on the driver side and the in­ter­cooler tank on the pas­sen­ger side, both ma­chined to match the ribbed blower case. A Matt­son ra­di­a­tor and fan combo keep the en­gine temps cool. Craig Watts built a cus­tom stain­less ex­haust sys­tem to draw gases from the Ul­ti­mate head­ers, with a pair of Flow­mas­ter muf­flers pro­vid­ing the per­fect tone. A Bowler Trans­mis­sions 4L80E backs up the en­gine, with a Lokar shifter for gear se­lec­tion. A drive­shaft from Drive Line Ser­vice of San Le­an­dro ties the trans to the rearend.

For this third-gen­er­a­tion rod­der, a life­time of pas­sion and three years of ded­i­ca­tion have re­sulted in a ’55 Chevy 210 wor­thy of car show awards and mag­a­zine cov­er­age. Now that it’s done, John and Moal Coach­builders are team­ing up for another project: the

’69 Ca­maro John has owned since he was 15. It’s ready for some mod­i­fy­ing.

For the dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence:

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