Rusted Resurrection: A 1946 Chevy, ‘Fireball’ Rises From The Ashes

We’ve seen rat rods built from just about anything you can imagine. Cars can come back from just about anything, as people pull them out of swamps, forests, and barns. But hardly ever do we talk to someone that’s rescued a vehicle from an inferno shop fire—one of the biggest nightmares and more devastating experiences for a car lover.

The owner of this car, Amos Dale of Sequim, Washington, didn’t let the fire stop him from bringing this car back from the ashes and putting it on the road.

The scorched hood ornament is an eerie symbol of what happened to this car. The melted resin plastic usually gives the car a flair of style or color, but in this case, it creates a completely different look.

“This was my father-in-law’s car,” Amos explained. “He passed away and we inherited it. He had it down to bare metal before he passed, and we had it in our garage for a year before my shop caught on fire. That’s why it looks like it does now.” While they thought they were keeping the car safe from the elements, the cruelty of destiny had different plans for how to take the car back to dust. But in this case, it was ashes that the car almost succumbed to.

Where rust is usually evidence of a long-lived life, in this case, it's scars from the tragic shop fire that left it in this condition.

While most people would give up, toss the car in the scrap heap, or resign it to yard art, that’s not how Amos rolls. He was not going to let the fire take from him the car inherited from his wife’s late father. After the garage fire in 2011, it only took a couple years to get it rolling back on the road, and Fireball was born From the ashes of the shop fire, this 1946 Chevy rides the highways of Northwestern Washington state.

“In 2011, the trend was going on, and Rat Rod Magazine was coming out,” Amos explained. “There really wasn’t anything around here like this.” The rat rodding-style of car has really only been a mainstream revolution in the automotive industry in the last decade or so. Back in 2011, things were just starting to kick off and it was the perfect time for Amos to build this one.

This body style of car definitely wears the rat rod look well.

It’s had a couple of different engines in the last few years, but now it’s a 327 cubic-inch small-block Chevy with a four-speed manual transmission. It’s also got a Mustang II front suspension system for better handling, and power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering for better control. It doesn’t just look cool, it’s also a niece cruising car.

The small-block V8 definitely looks good under the hood of this '46 Chevy.

The interior has not been touched in a long time, and is actually original to the car. The car does not currently have any headliner, door panels, or carpet, but the seat covers and kick panels were stored in another area of the shop, so they survived the fire. The trim was also off of the car and in a different area as well, so all of the chrome and stainless is original to the car. The contrast between the rough, rusty exterior and the shining, clean chrome and stainless are part of what make this such a cool setup.

The custom center console is definitely a cool addition to the car. It adds a little color and style to the interior that provides that great contrast we often see in rat rods with a rough exterior and some clean accents inside.

Along with the rat rod-style come the unconventional custom aspects of the car. You’ll notice that large wrenches have been added to the front bumper and trunk lid. The hood is being held down by a rubber latch on the exterior, the door handles inside of the car are vice grips, and the visor is from of a 2003 Freightliner that has been cut down to fit the thinner profile car.

The little details and additions are really what make a rat rod a rat rod. Anyone can drive something with a little rust, but it takes the heart of a rat rodder to see a wrench and think "Hey, that'll make a good trunk ornament!"

While a shop fire is never a good thing, sometimes a silver lining can be found. This time, rather than give up on the car, Amos embraced the rough shape his late father-in-law’s car was left, and made it into something cool and unique. Fireball definitely fits into the aesthetic of what it means to be a rat rod, and is a great way to continue to honor the memory of his wife’s father.

About the author

Kyler Lacey

A 2015 Graduate from Whitworth University, Kyler has always loved cars. He grew up with his dad's '67 Camaro in the garage and started turning wrenches at a young age. At seventeen, he bought his first classic, a '57 Chevy Bel Air four-door, and has since added a '66 Plymouth Valiant and '97 Cadillac Deville to his collection. When he isn't writing for Power Automedia, he's out shooting pictures at car shows, hiking in the forests of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, or working on something in the garage.
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