When you see as many beautiful Tri-Five Chevys as we run on the feature pages of PHR, it really takes something classy and fresh to catch our attention. Kevin and Karen Alstott of Fort Dodge, Iowa, managed to do just that. You'd never tell by looking, but it's a three-year-old car!
After several street rods and motorcycles, the Alstotts wanted something a little more comfortable with some trunk space and a convertible top. A road tour car, if you will. Kevin had a '55 in high school and old flames die hard, so it was time to build a Bel Air.
Nine months later, a star was born.A suitable candidate was discovered at the bottom of a ravine in a local apple orchard. The top one-third of the body was all that was useful, as the rest had rotted away long ago. Most people would see a rusted out hulk and look for a cleaner car, but past experience showed Kevin that Roger Berman and the crew at Lakeside Rods in Rockwell City, Iowa, could handle the daunting task. It took the carcasses of a four-door sedan and a wagon to put the car together again.
During reconstructive surgery, all handles and ornamentation except for the side trim was removed for simplicity's sake. The license plate was even replaced by a flip-down unit underneath the rear bumper in keeping with the smoothie look. Covering the gorgeous bodywork is a stunning coat of Bright Amber PPG paint.
A great stance is very important. If it's too high, a car looks like it's ready for the Baja 1000. Lay the frame on the ground, and the suspension looks broken. To get that perfect stance, Lakeside Rods beefed up the frame, boxed and X-framed it, and channeled the body. Up front, 2-inch dropped spindles carry the load, and 11-inch GM disc brakes provide adequate stopping power. A Currie 9-inch Ford rearend with GM discs provides rock-solid reliability. Air Ride
Technologies gets this baby in the weeds with airbags at all four corners. The adjustable stance is great, but don't forget the wheels! These rollers are 17x7 and 20x10-inch B. Coddington Rodder wheels. The baloneys measure 215/45ZR17 up front and 275/35ZR20 in the rear.
Once this awesome Chevy has you hooked, you just have to see the interior. It has a rather unusual console that looks like a piece of architecture and features a knob that works as a floor shifter. A door hides the head unit for the Sony stereo, along with the Vintage Air heating and air conditioning controls. The dash is also an interesting bit of sculpture featuring custom gauges. A Budnik Crossfire steering wheel with a carbon fiber grip sits stylishly atop an ididit steering column. A herd of tan leather covers Dodge seats. The power operated front buckets are out of an Intrepid, and the perfect fitting rear bench seat is from a Lancer. McFall's of Iowa City, did the beautiful stitchwork on both the seats and the sculpted door panels.
Pop the hood, and you'll see a highly detailed and polished engine compartment containing a Chevrolet LS1 as equipped by Street and Performance. The aluminum block was deburred and polished to a beautiful mirror-like finish. A simple cover was made for the engine for a cleaner appearance. To reduce clutter, a Corvette master cylinder and 7-inch booster was relocated under the floor. Headers were custom built to fit within the confines of the smoothed-over engine compartment. A GM 4L60E takes care of shifting, and a 3.55:1 gear spins the Michelins when needed.
When their street rods and motorcycles get too small or too uncomfortable, the Alstotts can pull this comfortable cruiser out of the stable and go for a ride. What's next? Kevin says it's back to street rods! Maybe a '37 Minotti-bodied roadster, a Boydster II, or a '35 roadster. Decisions, decisions. Whatever they decide, we're sure that it will be an awesome ride!