Builders can be forced to make a decision when working with a customer on a project, they either have to build a piece of art that’s looked at more than it’s driven, or create a vehicle that’s driven, but not stunning. Michael Beal and the team at Top Fuel Garage found a way to strike a balance between the two choices when building Mike Creath’s 1955 Chevy Bel Air known as “Phyllis”.
The friendship began for Beal and Creath when they met at SEMA in 2019. Creath really liked another 1955 Bel Air that Beal had built and wanted to work with him on his project. So, Creath went to Kewaskum, Wisconsin to plan his build with Beal and get the process started. The Bel Air was affectionally named Phyliss since it reminded Creath of his mother.
When Phyliss arrived at Top Fuel Garage she needed some help, so Beal and his team got to work on her makeover. The Bel Air was completely stripped down and rebuilt from the ground up over the course of 18 months. Beal set the body on a chassis from Street Rod Garage and added a John’s Industries 9-inch rearend, Wilwood brakes, and a full custom coilover suspension.
The classic Chevy’s body received a lot of attention before Beal laid down the Switch Blade Silver and Pearl Orange paint. A set of Kindig-it Design door handles were added to the car, and the rear quarter panels were modified for the Stainless Works custom exhaust to exit out of the vehicle. To complete the visual makeover, Phyliss received a set of Detroit Steel Wheels.
Inside the Chevy, Top Fuel Garage added modern amenities like an electric hood release, electric trunk release, power windows, power locks, and air conditioning from Vintage Air. A full set of gauges from Classic Instruments was added to the Bel Air that gives it a modern, yet classic look. Creath gets to ride in style as he drives Phyllis thanks to a custom interior from Straight Line Auto Upholstery.
If you’re going to build a project car that’s a driver, it needs to have plenty of power under the hood. Creath went with a 6.2-liter supercharged LT4 engine to power Phyliss. Behind the stout GM mill, you’ll find a TREMEC six-speed transmission from Silver Sport Transmissions.
“A lot of prep time went into this build. We wanted to make sure all of the gaps were perfect and every surface of the body was ready for paint. The goal was to build Phyllis as a piece of art that Mike could drive anywhere and enjoy it for years to come,” Beal says.
Michael Beal and the team at Top Fuel Garage achieved their goal of creating a functional piece of art for Mike Creath. Phyllis is a modern take on what the 1955 Chevy Bel Air would look like if it was built today in Detroit.