As car guys, many – if not all of us – have a story about a certain car that got away. It is typically our first car that is fondly remembered, and is usually the one regret we have when we look back at the time we’ve spent with our cars. But, some enthusiasts have no regrets, as they are fortunate enough to still own their first car. Such is the case with Jeff Schilp and this ’57 Chevy. There are a lot of cool cars that were first cars for many, but if you can claim a ’57 Chevy as your first car, you have pegged the cool meter.
Jeff was fortunate enough to purchase this car in 1987, after he and his dad found it in a classified ad. For you young guys, this is how us “old” guys found cars before the Internet. According to Jeff, the car had very little rust, but needed a new driver’s side fender and a bumper. The rest is original body, and it even has the original floor pans. Jeff tells us, “It was my high school ride here in Richardson, Texas, and has been with me ever since. It’s been through multiple paint jobs, three engines, three sets of wheels, two rearends, and numerous design changes.” Although there have been multiple engines between the fenders, currently, the Chevy is powered by a 383 cubic-inch stroker with Air Flow Research 220 aluminum heads, and a small Weiand 142 supercharger. Inside is a forged Eagle crankshaft with a 3.75-inch stroke, 5.7-inch Eagle I-beam connecting rods, Probe forged pistons, and a Lunati solid-roller camshaft. A Holley 830 HP carburetor and a Super Powershot nitrous kit are the required parts feeding the engine. Finally, a pair of Hooker Super Comp headers and Flowmaster mufflers pipe the noise out the rear of the car.
Behind the tire-blistering 383 cubic-inch small-block is a Turbo 400 automatic transmission with manual-shift valve body, and a 3,800-rpm-stall converter from TCI. Spinning inside the narrowed 9-inch rearend is a set of 4.10 gears on a Detroit Locker. Rolling stock consists of 17×7 and 18×10 Intro Twisted Vista wheels, custom built and wrapped in radial sneakers.
When you peak into the interior, you’ll probably notice that the seats are not stock ’57 Chevy. They were actually taken from a 1997 Lincoln Town Car. The door panels are a kit by Daniel Cope, and the installation of the interior pieces was handled by Jeff. Finally, a Billet Specialties steering wheel and Autometer gauges finish the inside.
Jeff, tells us that his father had a black ’57 Chevy two-door hardtop that was stolen in 1967, right before he went into the Air Force and transferred from New Jersey to Texas. To replace the ’57, The senior Schilp bought a 1962 Corvette, which also still resides with the family in their Richardson, Texas, home. It’s easy to see that Jeff has a strong influence keeping him “all Chevy.”
Do you own a Home-Built Hero? We want to hear about it. Since we’ve started the Home-Built Heros series, we have received more than a few candidates, but we are still in need of more. If you want to see more cars built by you the readers, send us a few pictures of your car with all of the pertinent information, and we’ll make you Internet famous. You can send your submissions to [email protected].