This ’56 Chevy Might Be The Perfect Example Of A Street Car

If you ask any hot rodder if the perfect Tri-Five Chevy exists, you’ll likely hear a story that starts with, “back in my day,” or “this one time I saw.” In reality, the 1955-1957 Chevrolets are some of the most popular cars among purists, hot rodders, and racers of all kind. Maybe it’s the classic good looks. Maybe it’s what the cars have done for the automotive world. Whatever the case may be, more than 60 years later, anyone who claims to be an automotive enthusiast still gets excited when they see a 1955, 1956, or 1957 Chevy.

56 Chevy

Gary Brown of Buford, Georgia, is the owner of the pristine ’56 Chevrolet. Sure, you may think this is just another trailer queen, and while the car is nice enough on every level to make you think so, the fact is, Gary loves to drive it!

What makes the perfect street car leaves a lot of room for debate? Is it a rat rod that simply assaults the senses, a pickup truck sitting on the rockers, or something so brutally powerful that it has no business being on the street? No matter what your style or flavor, the debate over the perfect street car has gone on for decades. Gary Brown of Buford, Georgia, may have found the winning combination with his sleek, subtle, and perfectly understated ’56 Chevy. This big-block-powered, five-speed-equipped real street car can be driven anywhere. You’ll get there fast, and you’ll get there in style.

The Tri-Five Chevys are some of the most iconic cars in history. When you look at the design, the lines, the overall automotive sex appeal that has never been duplicated, it’s easy to understand why these cars remain this popular more 60 years later.

At First Glance

The pristine body and restomod style grab your attention right away. It’s not until you dive into the details, however, that you realize how meticulously each aspect of this build has been executed. Nothing is missed, and the level of perfection is so high, that it’s easy to overlook the little things that would make most other Tri-Fives stand out in the crowd. The body lines and trim rival that of today’s hand-built supercars. When you look at the body, you can see the hundreds of hours that were spent perfecting each panel.

Attention to detail is what differentiates good cars from great cars. Bobby Alloway and his crew of master technicians are second to none when it comes to details. All you have to do is look at the trim on Gary’s ’56 Chevy and you can see the time and dedication put into the build.

The car was built at Alloway Hot Rod Shop in Louisville, Tennessee. Bobby Alloway injected his infamous blend of beauty and power into this classic Tri-Five. The body lines have been meticulously aligned, and all the trim laid out the way the factory wished they could have.

The Seafoam and Ivory color scheme gives it the perfect amount of classic good looks to tie it all together, and the hues bring a taste of nostalgia to an otherwise modern build style. There isn’t much stock about this Tri-Five, but the throwback colors might make you think twice before finalizing your opinion.

A Look Inside

The interior is where you’ll find the bulk of this car’s originality. It’s a perfect blend of stock style, modest custom touches, and modern improvements. At first glance, your attention is grabbed by the factory bench seat. Its original-style cover is unassuming, but adds the classic elegance Tri-Fives are known for. When you look a bit deeper, the cool factor is instantly increased when you realize the car is sporting a manual transmission.

56 Chevy

The ’56 Chevy interior in a word – class. The Tri-Five Chevys brought a luxury, an elegance to its interiors. The occupants were treated to style and comfort that are still sought after today. The interior in Gary’s Chevrolet screams original, but when you look closer, the modern touches begin to jump out at you.

The Hurst shifter handle fits perfectly with the bench seat, and almost looks like it could be original. If you didn’t notice the shift pattern on the simple white knob, you probably missed the fact that it has overdrive! Further inspection gives you a deeper look into the efforts made to bring the car into the 21st century.

When you talk about interior style, it’s at the core of the ’56 Chevy. The combination of exterior color and bright trim, with the mirrored gauge cluster shape in front of the driver and passenger truly ties the design together.

Under The Hood

Open the hood and you’re met by an amazingly detailed big-block Chevy. Its custom-painted valve covers and matching air cleaner steal your attention away from the Holley Dominator carburetor and aluminum cylinder heads, all these things hinting at a wolf in sheep’s clothing living between the frame rails. Under the pretty bits, sits a 547ci behemoth that cranks out 800 horsepower.

The first thing that catches your attention is the Hurst manual shifter. If you pay attention to the shift ball, you’ll notice this Tri-Five has five forward gears! Overdrive is a great option for any real driver. When you look past the shifter, the next thing that grabs you are the vintage-style gauges. These allow Gary to monitor the monster under the hood. When you get past the gauges, you’re met by a sleek Wilwood pedal assembly that handles the hydraulics behind the clutch and brakes.

Kessler Racing and Machine in Maryville, Tennessee, built the engine. The block is filled with go-fast parts that are able to produce power levels that were simply unheard of when this car rolled off the assembly line. Topping the forged internals is a set of RHS aluminum cylinders heads.

56 Chevy

The attention to detail is as present under the hood as it is on the rest of the car. The detailed valve covers and air cleaner lid play perfectly against the body color firewall and black inner fenders. Nestled between the frame rails is a monstrous 547ci big-block cranking out 800 horsepower. The engine was built by Kessler Racing and Machine in Maryville, TN.

Although aluminum was not a material used for factory cylinder head castings in the ’50s, it looks so natural in this engine bay that this fact can easily slip past you. The 1050 cfm  carburetor introduces the air and fuel mixture into the engine handily. While 800 horsepower may sound like a lot, Gary tells us you can drive this car anywhere, at any time, and use real pump gas.

The engine breathes through a 1050 cfm Holley Dominator carburetor with an aluminum intake manifold and a set of RHS aluminum cylinder heads. On the firewall you’ll find three separate master cylinders, which handle the front and rear brakes, and hydraulic clutch. A power-steering box also adds to the comfort level and race-inspired handling this ’56 Chevy possesses.

Connecting The Dots

Big horsepower is useless without control. Behind the engine sits a Richmond five-speed transmission, which flawlessly handles the power and torque. The driveshaft spins the gears inside a 9-inch rearend housing. This allows every bit of torque and horsepower to be safely put to the ground without fear of leaving a trail of scattered parts.

'56 Chevy

The stance of a project in immensely important. Gary nailed it with components from Heidts Suspension. The car rides on a set of ET Wheels’ big and littles.

The ’56 rolls on a set of ET wheels. The fronts measure 15×7, while the rears measure 16×10. To fit this wide wheel and tire package under the Tri-Five, some work needed to be done to add the essential real estate. Gary’s ’56 utilizes the factory frame with some key upgrades like relocating the leaf springs to make room. Up front, the factory components have been ditched in favor of new suspension pieces from Heidts. The upper and lower A-arms provide massive improvements in frontend geometry, tremendously increasing the cars handling capabilities and ride quality. The simple addition of modern geometry transforms these cars into handling machines with little else.

'56 Chevy

The piece that might grab your attention (if you catch it) is the roll bar. Though completely designed to be unobtrusive to the occupants, this adds a racy touch and a bit of added safety to go will all that power.

Although Gary has only owned the car for a short time, he drives it constantly, attending shows all over the Southeast. With this type of power and comfort, mixed with ultra-refined classic good looks, why wouldn’t you want to drive this car everywhere? We just hope that the next time we run into him at a show, he lets us drive it a bit!

About the author

Pete Epple

Pete Epple has been an automotive enthusiast for the better part of 30 years, and a racer for nearly as long. He's been writing about cars for nearly 10 years.
Read My Articles

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