Readers Ride: Martin Porter Clearly Knows Pro Street Is Still Neat!

If there was ever an enthusiast who needed a “My other car is Pro Street!” bumper sticker, that would be Martin Porter. He initially sent an email for us to consider his Pro Street 1957 Chevy for our Reader’s Rides section, but the more we spoke to Martin, the more we realized “rides” was going to be the operative word. The conversation started simple enough. Martin sent us a photo of his 1957 Chevy that has had the full-on Pro Street treatment. While that would be plenty to make this Reader’s Ride cool, the more you know about Martin’s ’57, the cooler it gets.

To start, Martin bought the rust-free car for the princely sum of $2,800. It was originally built at the Oakland, California plant and Martin purchased the car in original condition, from the car’s original owner. He then drove it from California to New York. We should mention this all occurred in May of 1975. Martin has owned the car ever since.

Pro Street 1957 Chevy

As you can see, he’s done a few things to it over the almost half-century he’s owned it. The transformation began in 1982 as a father/son project and would take the better part of a decade to complete. To finish things up, the Porter duo polished up all the brightwork on the car and re-painted the car in its original Colonial Cream color. They also added graphics which have their origin in Rob Vandergriff’s Soff Seal-sponsored “World’s Fastest ’57 Chevy.”

Of course, Martin’s Shoebox is more Pro Street than Pro Mod, but with the additional hood scoop, rear wing, ladder bars, and chute, you can’t be too sure. There’s also a healthy LT1 350 that has been punched out and stuffed to the hilt by a BDS 6-71 blower wearing dual 650 Holley carbs. Behind all that compressed commotion is a wide-ratio Muncie four-speed transmission feeding the twist into a 1958 Oldsmobile rearend that has been narrowed to fit those Mickey Thompson S/R tires mounted to Center Line ConvoPro wheels. A Hone-O-Drive overdrive unit takes some of the bite out of those 4.88 gears splined to a pair of Mark Williams axles. Martin admits that being a build from the ‘80s, the shiny stuff on his ’57 is starting to show its age, but he says that the drivetrain has continued to perform flawlessly for over thirty years!

Having a hefty, Pro Street ’57 Chevy would fulfill the dreams of many hardcore Chevy enthusiasts, but Martin was just getting warmed up. He also has a Pro Street 1949 GMC pickup that is a long-time member of the Porter family. He purchased the wide-tired truck in 1988 after it had graced the cover of the May ’87 issue of Hot Rod magazine. It was also in Truckin’, Popular Hot Rodding, and Super Chevy magazines at one time.

Pro Street 1955 Chevy

And, if there was ever a proper spot to use the term, “But wait, there’s more!” this would be it. You see, Martin really likes Pro Street cars and trucks. That’s why he also has a Pro Street ’55 Chevy 210 sedan that has been chopped, tubbed, and stuffed with a 502 cubic-inch big-block Chevy engine. Just like the other cars in the Porter stable, this one was completed over 30 years ago.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t also include the ’41 Willys Pro Street coupe in the mix. As you can see, Martin is pretty fond of the Bowtie brand, but his grandfather was a pattern maker at the Willys-Overland plant in Toledo, Ohio in the ‘30s and ‘40s, so he felt a certain connection to the orphaned auto brand. Martin built his own Willys with an Outlaw Performance frame and body and gave it a blown 572 cubic-inch Chevy engine pushing out about 1,000 horsepower. So, there’s that.

If you are not fond of non-Bowtie rides, there are still a few spots in Mr. Porter’s garage. There you’ll find a fully-restored 1956 Corvette, and for hauling three or more friends, you can all ride in his restored 1956 Chevy more-door, which he fondly refers to as, “The wife’s car.”

1956 Chevy

When it comes to submissions for our Reader’s Rides, it’s clear that Martin’s collection of cars and trucks stands out from the typical fare. The sheer number of cool rides would make any enthusiast slobber like a Saint Bernard hanging out a truck window. The fact he’s been enjoying them for decades just shows he’s also very content with each one. He continues to enjoy them whenever possible and each one scratches a particular itch whenever he feels the need. And, of course, that need, is the need for Pro Street speed!

About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
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