Remember thinking that you’d never need math again after you graduated? Not Gary Kollofski. The math loving engineer ruled the Math department at Wayzata High School in Minnesota. The 6-foot 5-inch imposing educator also ran his own one-man speedshop and acted as a bouncer for the Minnesota-St. Paul “Kicks” soccer team until they were dissolved in 1981.
Kollofski found another hobby. Building mid-1950s Chevys that were as imposing as he is. One of his premiere car builds was a 1955 Bel Aire that was recognized by Hot Rod magazine as one of the best all time 100 cars to have appeared in the magazine.
Always ready to move onto something bigger and better, Kollofski dropped the hot rod building and focussed on high performance, cigarette-style boats. More than one of his boat builds had multiple blown big-block engines in them.
We happened to be cruising (stalking) the facebook page of Holley Performance Products and discovered that Gary had moved back into the hot rod building world and had not just one, but two builds in action at the same time.
His first build is a 1955 Chevy Bel Air that is custom built so that the final stance and appearance would look stock. In actuality the car is anything but stock.
While the window and windshield glass is stock all the way around, the rear side windows will not roll down as the hinges for the custom suicide doors prevent mounting the window operating mechanism. You heard us correct… suicide doors.
The door handles are in the stock location, but the doors use all the stock components, hinges, strikers, etc. and open in the front. “When the car is completed, other than the 18″ rally wheels, the car should appear stock from the outside,” said Kollofski.
He also explained that “The hood and front end tilt 90 degrees forward, either separately or as one unit, and the air conditioner is under the back seat.” Adding, “This was a lot of trick work to complete with a stock interior and front bench seat.”
According to Kollofski, “The marine BPM engine came with six 48 IDA Weber carbs as stock unit. We tried to get the engine to run smoothly with this set-up and were not successful, hence the switch to the three Holley 600cfm carbs. It runs like a watch now.”
Kollofski reports that the Italian made BPM marine engines rated at 620hp and 740 ft/lbs of torque. in stock form. “It made, on the dyno, 619hp and from 2500-5000rpm with a flat 720ft/lbs of torque,” he stated, explaining that “The torque is down from stock as the custom intake had to be made really short to be able to fit the whole induction system under the stock hood without a bubble or scoop.”
“The engine’s headers were built with u-bends and straight tubing. There are over 80 hours in the headers and the rest of the exhaust. The spark plugs are under the polished covers in the center of the valve covers.” According to Kollofski, “The ‘55 started life as a Bel Air. I’m changing it to a 210 because I don’t want to put all the Bel Air trim back on it around the windows. In my opinion, the 210 looks cleaner.”
The 1957 Chevy with a W24
“This chassis is going to have a 57 Chevy 2-door post wrapped around it. The W24 engine will fit under the stock hood and should be done in a year or so,” claims Kollofski.
The wheel base has been moved 8-inches forward and the rear wheel opening will move approximately 12-inches forward on a set of new rear quarter panels. The new doors that are from a ’55 Pontiac that Kollofski got to replace the rusted ’57 doors that came with the body.
There is a gear case under final construction to mate the 2 BMW V-12 engines and the transmission together. The 700R4 will not be stock and will have plenty of strength to take the torque of the 24 cylinders. Bendtsen’s Custom Transmissions in Ham Lake, Minnesota, is doing the transmission.
“We went to Holley carbs for their simplicity and so as not to build more complexity into the whole project. The air horns of the carbs will almost line up with the ‘bullets’ in a 57 Chevy hood and we will use them as one of our air sources for the carbs,” he stated.
Maybe paying attention in Math class WILL help you later in life. Especially if you want to pair up two-BMW 12-cylinders engines together to put together the most interesting hot rod from the great white north. We can’t wait to see this beast in person. If it’s like the last show car Kollofski built, it will still be talked about in twenty-years.