1955 Chevy Panel - Hamster Hauler - Custom Classic Truckin' Section
'55 Chevy Panel
Custom Harley-Davidson motorcycle builder, Keith Terry of Newbury, California, took time away from his busy Terry Components business to build one cool Pro Street '55 Chevy panel parts chaser. When it comes to high-performance aftermarket starter, carburetor, fuel-injection, and fuel-management systems for Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Terry is known as one of the leading authorities. He is also a member of the prestigious custom Harley-Davidson club, the Hamsters USA.
Terry has been building custom motorcycles and hot rods for the past 30 years. His previous four-wheel customs include a '55 Chevy Bel Air and a '65 Chevy Impala. His most recent effort is this gorgeous yellow '55 Chevy panel, which took one year to complete. The flawless '55 panel supports Terry Components' high-performance image.
Terry started with a custom-built boxed frame C-notched to accept the narrowed Ford 9-inch rearend stuffed with Richmond 4.11 gears. To achieve its aggressive stance, Terry used cut coils and 2-inch Chrysler drop spindles up front and flipped the rearend atop the rear leaf springs. A pair of Koni gas shocks helps stabilize the front suspension, while a pair of Koni air-adjustable shocks controls the rear's ride height and payload capabilities. The Chrysler spindles were teamed up with Cadillac disc brakes, located on each corner for equal stopping ability. The front 15x8-inch Weld Racing Pro Star aluminum wheels were wrapped in P245/55R15 Goodyears, and the rear 15x14-inch Welds were consumed in massive 29x15.50x15-inch Mickey Thompsons.
Lifting the hood exposes a healthy '75 Chevrolet 454ci big-block shoehorned between the framerails. The engine block and cylinder heads were coated in exterior-matching hamster yellow. The round port cylinder heads were massaged by Terry Components. The polished aluminum intake manifold supports four Weber 48mm IDF fine-tuned down-draft carburetors. You have to check out the wild black-flamed carburetor, velocity stacks, and black-flamed valve covers. A smooth, polished aluminum firewall, black inner fenders, and a brass radiator top tank add to the total underhood presentation. A covered MSD Blaster ignition coil delivers the initial spark to the MSD distributor which distributes the electrical pulse to each cylinder's spark plug through the yellow Taylor 8mm ignition wires, which ignite the air and gas mixture inside the engine's combustion chamber. The engine's spent gases are exhausted through the 2-1/2-inch outside diameter Hooker Headers, which flow into the two-chamber Flowmaster mufflers, developing that distinguished, throaty rumble.
The hamster hauler was then transported over to Terry's buddy, Bill Carter in Chatsworth, California, where all of the body was hammered out, straightened, filled, block-sanded baby-butt smooth, then sprayed with PPG DP 50 primer. It was then ready to receive multiple coats of hamster yellow. After some color sanding to eliminate blemishes and orange peel, the orange ghost flames were laid out and sprayed. After one final inspection, the flames and base color coats were buried in multiple coats of clear.
The timeless interior was done by Terry using early model bucket seats covered in soft gray leather. Massive Chevy Bow Ties were embossed in the leather inner side panels, and the headliner also received gray leather treatment. The dash was maintained with the refurbished original gauges, knobs, and radio. Billet aluminum door handles and window cranks were installed. The door panels were dressed up by adding a gray leather scuff pad at the bottom of each door, and the armrests were covered in gray leather with a matching custom-stitched stash pouch. The entertainment system was kept simple with an AutoSound head unit with a six-disc CD changer running through an equalizer and amp, into the two 6-inch round speakers located in the door panels and 6x7-inch in the rear.
For every show the yellow '55 panel has attended, it has earned a place in the top three spots. Needless to say, Terry's '55 Panel is definitely a distinctive hamster, and any hamster would be stoked to drive this too-cool panel.
We would like to thank Keith's brother Kent for allowing us the opportunity to use his picturesque location at his estate outside of Paso Robles, California, in the wine country. His property was located on top of a sizable knoll, with a 360-degree panoramic view of the valley's vineyards below. As we rolled up and drove through the automatic rod-iron gates, up the winding cobblestone driveway leading to the 5,000-square-foot multi-story house, we were in awe gazing at the rich green lawn covering the rolling landscape featuring colorful flower beds and planters located throughout the property. Kent's massive 6,000-square-foot six-bay garage Mahal was a definite hit with myself and the featured truck owners. Behind every industrial roll-up door was an individual room specifically designated as an engine shop, a machine shop, a motorcycle museum, a street-rod museum, an entertainment room, and a nostalgic dragster shop.