Home-Built Hero: Kent Meacham And His Memory Making ’56 Chevy

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Like many stories about guys finding their dream car, this one takes us all the way back to the mid- ‘70s. That is the first recollection that Kent Meacham has of his ’56 Chevy. “A friend from high school and his grandfather built this car after the friend crashed his ‘55 Bel Air.” According to Kent, they got the ‘56 from the friend’s grandad’s poker buddy (no comment about it being thanks to a winning hand), and it was a low mileage V8 car.

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That being said, a lot of modifications were already underway. For starters, the front section of the frame was cut off, and steel tubing replaced the heavy frame. Suspended from the frame was an axle from a ’59 Chevy 1/2-ton truck, with brakes from a 1954 Chevy car. The engine was a tried-and-true 327 cubic-inch engine with four-bolt mains and “double hump” heads. Inside is a healthy camshaft, but Kent doesn’t recall the specs. On top is an Edelbrock intake manifold with a Holley four-barrel carburetor, and in true hot rodder fashion, an M-22 four speed backs up the potent small-block.

The interior carries a true '70s vibe.

Kent tells us that the car had a true ‘60s and ’70s vibe, “The interior was done sometime in 1975 by Tigard upholstery, and the paint was Pearl White and Candy Blue with pinstriping done by Bob Spencer in Oregon. But, around 1980 or 1981, something happened. According Ken, “The car disappeared after a family member got in serious trouble, and that seemed to be the end of the Chevy, as no one saw it around town anymore.”

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Fast forward to the year 2007, and Kent is still dreaming of owning a ’56 Chevy. Kent had relocated to Tucson, and one day, while perusing the online auction sites, he found something that caught his eye – a listing for a 1956 Chevy. While reading the description, he learned that the car was in his hometown of Portland. Kent had a feeling, so he called a friend who lived in Portland to verify what he thought was for sale, “I had a friend go look at the car that night to verify it was the same car from my childhood.

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Around 9:00 p.m., he calls me back with details about the car, and I knew for certain that it was the same car I remember as a kid.” It turns out the friend Kent sent to look at the car was actually a friend of the car’s owner. Kent hit the Buy It Now button, and was the owner of his childhood memory turned dream car.

Kent tells us that as soon as the car reached Tucson, “I went through everything, but kept it about 95-percent original to the way it was built in the ’70s. I did add a few period-correct parts like the Sun tach, Cragar steering wheel, and a hand-made dash center-panel, and the final touches included a vintage K-Mart 8-track player, and a Mopar Pistol Grip shifter.

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Kent finished by telling us, “This car was my dream car as a kid, and after decades, I got the exact car and will never sell it. As a friend’s wife said at a car show ‘the car fits your personality, it’s you!’.”

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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 Home-Built Hero 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 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 [email protected].

About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
Read My Articles
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