If you have ever wanted to see a 1955 Chevrolet that has literally had every nut and bolt touched, and features an unusual and wild engine — this is it. The 409 ci engine is very different than a standard small-block, and Denis Falcon of Seminole, Florida, decided to use one in this ’55 that he is meticulously rebuilding.
“Putting a 409 ci engine into a ’55 Chevy is a whole different ballgame,” Denis explained. “The heads are much wider, and there is no way you are going to do it without modifying the firewall, unless you move the engine forward 3 to 4 inches.” Denis also explained that moving the engine forward causes a plethora of other issues ranging from suspension and handling drawbacks to overheating problems. That’s why he installed a recessed firewall so he could mount the engine where it needed to be.
The engine has been bored and stroked to 446 cubic-inches, and features an 11.3:1 compression ratio, a roller camshaft and rocker arms. It is fueled by two 750 cfm Edelbrock carburetors mounted on a vintage Mickey Thompson cross-ram intake. Denis is using a Richmond six-speed transmission. “This engine is wild,” Denis told us, “it will easily make between 500 and 550 horsepower.”
Denis told us that there is not a single compromise when building this car. The paint was applied two years ago, and Denis has spent those last two years installing parts, wiring, and just doing general work on the car.
The paint was applied by James Swede and Swede’s Total Auto Care in Saint Petersburg, Florida. “A well-engineered car takes a lot of hours of work,” Denis detailed. “I am not going to take my wife or kids in a car that I’m not sure about. There is no such thing as good enough, so that’s how I built this car.”
“Everything had to come out right,” Denis continued. “If something was bent or scratched, I would buy a new one. That’s what I had to do. I don’t play games.” Most of the metal on this car is brand new. In fact, when he was telling us about what he had replaced, it was easier for him to give us the short list of what he hadn’t replaced: the front fenders, the cowl, and the package tray area.
Denis recognizes that a lot of little things will go unnoticed, but he also knows that those who do recognize them will really appreciate what this car is. One of these little changes that might slip past the unaware viewer, is the single piece roll up windows. Denis removed the vent windows. He also used all asphalt-loom wiring tube and heavy-duty relays to make sure the electrical was durable and reliable. “There is not going to be someone driving my car, hit a bump and suddenly the headlights go off because a wire wore through somewhere,” Denis said.
The interior is going to be completed by Ciadella interiors of Tempe, Arizona. The leather for the interior is imported from Italy, and the thread is from England. It will feature powered, custom front bucket seats, a custom rear bench seat with a center speaker, and a custom console.
There are too many custom features to list all of them, but a few are Vintage Air A/C, a backup camera, a third brake light, a Nomad-style bumper with bumperettes, custom one-off pedals made of aircraft quality billet aluminum, and so much more.
The car is nearly done as he only needs to install the core support, the Griffen cross-flow radiator, and figure out the right belt to use with his pulley system. “I’m going to have it finished by winter or late fall,” Dennis explained, “and it’ll be hard to find anything on this car to criticize.”
What do you think of Denis’ ‘55, does it inspire you to work on your own project car? Let us know in the comments below, and if you have a project of your own that you’ve been slaving away at, share it with us! Send us an e mail, and yours could be the next Chevy project featured in our Reader’s Hardcore Projects.