Friday, November 27, 2015

Candy the Dandy 57 Chevy

Candy the Dandy 57 Chevy
-by Alan Arnell

Picture, a gleaming-hot rodded-candy apple red ‘57 chevy with yellow and orange flames pulled to a stop at a normal urban intersection.  Invariably, in neighboring cars, normal rationally-sane people are possessed to yell out lowered car windows at the car and its owner, “Hey!  Nice car!”  Many of those same individuals wave like they have lost his or her minds.  The car’s owner Alan Strong either bragging or complaining tells, “One of the reasons I installed air conditioning on the car was to keep from jumping out of my skin every time an exuberant admire yells at me at a stop light.  The admiration does not stop at traffic signals; several times Alan has almost been run off the road because people want him to know how much they love his car.  The startling display of affection is an experience certainly unique to Alan, yet maybe not unique to most classic car owners.

The 1957 Chevrolet’s universal appeal may have something to do with the numerous displays of affection, however the 1970’s hot rod styling does not hurt. The car is a survivor from another time that brings back good memories in some and and new good feelings in others.

Using DMV records and previous owner testimony to learn the ‘57 in question’s history, Alan found the car was hot rodded/restored in the mid to late 1970’s.  The ‘57 was hot rodded with all that was vogue during that decade, except metal flake paint by a father for his son.  The man’s son drove the car his senior year of high school.  He must like the car very much or was very mobile, since 30,000 miles were registered on the odometer during that year.  

After that fateful year of youthful exuberance, the car basically remained the same untouched by new styles and trends of the 1980’s and  1990,s.  Alan said, “The best I can tell is that the car was built as a hot rod not as a restoration project.” Under inspection, the car represents the trends of the 1970’s completed by a loving father for his son.  The original blue flame straight six engine with a three on the tree standard transmission was removed for a more sportier set up.  Besides the customary 1970’s wider 60-series tires, mag wheels and air shocks the car was gives many serious upgrades, that must have been the envy of many a high schooler.  

Candy was fitted with a stroked and bored 350.  To enhance shifting power a Borg Warner four speed with a Hurst shifter was installed.  To use the increased cubic inches of the now 383 a aluminum high rise intake manifold was installed topped with a 750 Holley Double Pumper.  To release the engine’s back pressure, headers were installed instead of exhaust manifolds. Dual exhaust pipes with glass pack mufflers ended the cars upgrades.  There was no billet on the car, since it really had not been invented yet.  As were the thoughts of the day, all the modifications were placed in making the car fast.  The brakes were left alone.  Who needed to stop anyway?

Candy was fitted with a stroked and bored 350.

The topper to the whole hot rodding was an extraordinary candy apple red paint job, along with wild yellow and orange flames. The interior was modestly restored with the same color scheme as the original, however cloth was used instead of the factory vinyl.  

Candy remained in its 1970’s high school boy configuration for the next twenty years.  Alan has owned her for the last fifteen years.  Alan said, “When I took ownership the ‘57 was in need of help mechanically.  To make the car more usable in Dallas traffic I upgraded the steering box to a power 605.  The front suspension received new bushing and ball joints. The undercarriage had rust problems and had many floor panels and braces replaced.  The stock rear differential  took a dump and was replaced with a newer 10 bolt with  Posi-Traction.  No more one wheel peel outs.’
Alan added, “Texas is hot.  To get my family to ride with me I installed an aircondition system.  The help the AC keep the inside cool from searing heat drafts, tinted window and window guides were installed.  To also help the cooling action and dampen the roaring exhaust, the whole car was insulated.”

To make the car more usable in Dallas traffic...

Alan finished with, “My car is a 30-30.  She looks real good at 30 feet or going by at 30 miles and hour.”  With that being said, the fine 1970’s craftsmanship still draws attention, a testament to the styling trends of the time of her creation and the love of a father for his son and Hot Rodding.   

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