'55 Chevy Pickup
eBay Score

It's really amazing to think about how many people were actually influenced by the '73 film American Graffiti. Many of our readers write in with stories that often begin with watching this picture. Chris Verbeke, builder of this '55 Chevy pickup, is one of them. Chris was only 10 years old when he and his friends went to see American Graffiti. He was hooked ever since. As soon as he could, Chris bought a rough '57 Chevy two-door sedan. He started working on it when he was 16 and labored through the rest of his high school years on it. After graduation he joined the Air Force and had to sell his ride before he ever got to drive it.

Now currently a union painter with Local 502 in Rock Island, Illinois, he had the opportunity to start another project. He found this '55 pickup on eBay and got into a bidding war with another bidder. On eBay, pressing "Place Bid" just moments too late can lose your prize, and this time Chris lost. He was disappointed, of course, but he knows the rules of the game. A few days later the owner called Chris because the winner never contacted him after the auction ended, and he wanted to see if Chris was still interested. The rust-free, all-original pickup was his.

A year and half later, he's made a lot of progress. He's got a '60s vintage 396-inch big-block between the fenders, and the entire thing is primed and ready for paint. He's already got the undercarriage firewall painted with Corvette Atomic Orange, so the engine and suspension could go in for good. Next on his list is to build a replica of the Deuce Coupe from American Graffiti.

By The Numbers
1955 Chevy Stepside
Chris Verbeke, 46 • Colona, IL

Type: 396-inch big-block Chevy
Block: '67 GM iron block bored .030-inch
Rotating assembly: cast crank, forged pistons
Cylinder heads: oval-port iron heads
Camshaft: COMP .485-inch lift, 218 degrees
Induction: Holley 750-cfm carb, K&N air cleaner
Ignition: ACCEL HEI
Cooling: Walker Z-series heavy-duty radiator
Exhaust: 3-inch tubing with Flowmaster
40-series mufflers
Fasteners: ARP
Transmission/shifter: TH400, B&M shift kit,
3,500-rpm stall converter
Driveshaft: custom steel
Rear axle: '68 Chevelle 12-bolt,
posi, and 3.73 gears
Front suspension: '78 Nova front stub,
2-inch drop spindles,
coilover shocks
Rear suspension: CCP 4-inch lowering
leaf-spring kit
Brakes: disc front, drum rear
Body: all original steel
Paint: PPG Corvette Atomic Orange
Wheels: 15x7 and 15x8 Rally
Tires: Cooper