Keeping the car hobby alive requires that young people be given guidance and an understanding about cars, and not just through a video game. The interest is sparked early for many enthusiasts, and models were – and still are – a way to ignite that spark.
Chuck Grant is a guy that realized that at an early age, as he told us, “When I was a 10 or 12-year-old kid, I started building customized model cars and entering them in local hobby shows. Painting flames was my specialty, and I even painted some of my friend’s model cars. I started reading car magazines to get paint ideas, and really started paying attention to the early hot rod projects that were featured.”
When Chuck was 13 years old, he worked during the summer and earned enough money to purchase a ‘31 Model A coupe. According to Chuck, his dad was a very talented mechanic/welder, and he took the time to teach Chuck some of those skills. Chuck informed us, “My first modifications included chopping the coupe’s top and channeling the body over the frame (my dad doing most of the work).” Although the senior Grant was not generally “into” hot rods, Chuck would show him the car magazines so his dad knew what he wanted.
Once the duo got the coupe running, they began driving the car around town showing off their new toy. Like any good teenager, Chuck would even sneak the car out for a drive when his Dad wasn’t around. Like any good father of a teenager, dad found out and fixed the engine so it wouldn’t run unless he wanted it to. Chuck laughed as he said, “Little did I know at the time, but he was teaching me the basics of how an internal combustion engine works.” Chuck continued, “As a result of my dad’s patience and fabrication skills, as a 14-year-old kid, I had one of the neatest hot rods in my area. I have since used those early lessons, and I can now build a custom car from the ground up.”
Many years later – 1995 to be exact, Chuck decided to put those talents to the test once again. That’s when he purchased this ‘55 Delray two door coupe at the Pomona swap meet. According to Chuck, “I had built two ‘55 Chevy gassers with straight axle front ends in my younger days, and I still like this particular body style. At this point, I was in my early 50’s, and was interested in cars like BMW’s and Porsches. But when I saw the Delray, I had the urge to get back to my roots and build another ‘55 Chevy.”
After purchasing the Tri-Five, Chuck started attending cars shows in the Southern California area, and that’s when he realized that most 55’s all looked similar with two-tone paint and a lot of chrome. This ah-ha moment helped him decide to build his car a little differently.
Although not glaringly evident, European influences are abundant. Take for instance the paint. The Porsche color looks great on this Tri-Five. Did you notice the rearview mirrors and strange looking door handles? They too were glommed from a Porsche.
Under the hood is a Chevrolet Performance ZZ350 crate engine topped with a Street & Performance multiport fuel injection system. Behind that is a 700R4 sending the tire smoke-creating power to the 1994 Corvette independent rearend.
Inside, the modernization continues as Chuck added leather front seats and a fold down leather rear seat sourced from a BMW. The custom gray leather door panels feature black leather Mercedes SLK inserts. The inclusion of a tilt steering column, power-assisted brakes, and Dakota Digital gauges gives the interior a completed look.
The Chevy is what Chuck describes as a driver/cruiser car, and he takes it to cruises and local car shows in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. He is currently 71-years-old and retired, but he has four current project cars that keep him busy (this ‘55, a ‘69 Camaro restomod, a ‘66 Corvette restomod, and finally, a ‘32 Ford three window coupe).
Chuck finished by saying, “All my cars are drivable, and I truly enjoy taking them out for a spin. As mentioned before, I can do all my own work thanks to my Dad taking the time to teach me the skills necessary.”
Do you want to read about more Home-Built Heros? All you need to do is click here. If you own a Home-Built Hero, we want to hear about it. Since we’ve started the series, we have received more than a few candidates, but we still want to see more – we can never get enough. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send us a few pictures of your car showing the engine, interior, and exterior, along with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.