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Terry's 1955 Chevy: The Ultimate Time Machine


A while back, I had a major epiphany. I was in the passenger seat riding along with No Coast Custom and Rod Shop’s owner, Ben Vaneperen. We were heading out to photograph a car he just finished restoring. My feet were resting on crisp new carpet, the leather felt firm and fresh, the glass was crystal clear, and cranking the window down took no effort. I hung my elbow out, looked at Ben and said, “this thing doesn’t make a squeak, it doesn’t rattle, it shifts like butter and you’ve had your hands on every single nut and bolt on this car.” In my amazement, he just looked back with a smile and said: “that's right.” Ben is one of the most humble guys I know and he’s used to doing this stuff for a living.

The Del Ray factory looking upholstery came from Ciadella Interiors.

There is something indescribable about the fresh aroma of that new car smell coming from a vehicle over half a century old. It provides substance to the term: ‘Time-machine.’ Ben told me to think about this: restoring a car with today’s technology, the outcome (if you’ve been successful) is better than when it rolled off the assembly line. Today's electronics, chemistry in rubbers, oils, paints, and sealers, along with the labor of love needed to piece it all together, without a doubt make it better than the day it sat on the showroom floor.

This flawless ‘55 Chevy is owned by Terry Barton, of Lincoln, NE and it was fully restored with the help of No Coast Custom and Rod Shop. Terry bought his first ’55 Chevy in high school. He was a big part of the ‘80s/90s drag scene and still makes runs down the track today in his other car, A 10-second 67 Nova. He’s owned all kinds of Street and Drag cars over the years; Camaros, Novas, Impalas – but you could say he’s always had a soft spot for ’55 Chevys.

This is the right stance on a '55 Chevy, sitting over the 15-inch Cragar wheels.

Call it a Resto-mod if you want, but it’s been finished like something out of the 1960s. Hence: the small block Chevy 350 with all the trimmings, the Muncie 4-speed, factory looking interior, sitting appropriately over the Cragar wheels.

Terry's small block Chevy features Dart aluminum heads with an aluminum intake, Chevrolet script valve covers with a clean 4-inch chrome air cleaner. .

Ben and Terry worked together restoring this car. It started when the body came off the frame and went to No Coast. Being a mechanical guy, Terry did the chassis work himself. He added things like a power steering conversion kit, all new ball joints and steering linkages, 2-inch dropped front coil springs, a disc brake conversion kit, and rebuilt the Posi unit with 3.55-gears.

It was painted factory colors: Regal Turquoise under Ivory White with matching interior. Nearly all the trim was original to the car after being re-polished and slowly massaged back to new by Terry. Same with the original bumpers after being triple chromed by Sioux Platting. The gauges were restored and Terry added a nice retro Bosch tach to the steering column.

Smoke clearing from the drag strip at the 2019 Tri-Five Nationals in Bowling Green, KY.

After the car was finished a pinnacle moment came for Terry when he was invited to attend the 2019 Tri-Five Nationals in Bowling Green, KY alongside the Speedway Motors booth. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. There were thousands of attendees who walked by my car and I received a ton of compliments.” Terry said.

All these years of rodding and racing yet Terry is always pulled back to his ’55 Chevy. His wife, Brenda has been in the passenger seat every step of the way. “All the racing and projects I’ve done… I couldn’t have done it without her support.” Terry said. He’s looking forward to weekend cruising and Speedway’s local Cars and Coffee Events.

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