When we first picked up Bela, our ‘56 Bel Air from our friend Mr. Don Baskin, we may not have had in mind exactly what we were going to do with her, or where we were going to show her off. Bela is something special.
Often times you’ll see us refer to her as our princess, and like a princess, she only deserves the best. The best interior, the best drivetrain, the best frame, the best brakes and rear, the best suspension – well, you get the point.
As we began taking her apart, and getting deeper and deeper into the local hot rod and customizing scene, we met many great people that had great ideas that helped solidify what we wanted. We knew we wanted Bela low and fast, and rocking her original patina, but that was about the extent of her planned build.
Now, however, she has a full custom interior that is absolutely stunning, reflective of simpler American times – baseball, apple pie … traditional hot rodding. She has baseball glove stitching on her Relicate Leather thanks to The Custom Stitching Co.
She is powered by a Chevrolet Performance LS3 Connect & Cruise, but we didn’t stop at 430 horsepower, we also slapped on a Vortech Superchargers LS-Swap Kit supercharger system to hopefully get us to around 450 – 500 rear wheel horsepower. Bela has a 9” Spraker Racing rear end with 3.70 gears for excellent cruise-ability, as well as offering a fortified stronghold against breakage from all those horses.
She has Wilwood discs all around with multiple piston calipers ensuring she comes to a smooth and fast stop (oxymoron?) … every time. Muscle Rods helped us a ton with mounts, cooling and fuel setup. Woody’s Hot Rodz was there all the way through the build and helped introduce us to great people like: Danchuk, Golden Star, ididit and more.
NAPA Paint Supply worked super close with us on all of our coatings and paint needs, Classic Instruments was a huge help with customizing our gauge cluster to perfection, Mobil 1 has been key during this whole build with fluids and tech support. Restomod Air worked close with us on an incredible AC system setup. Also at each corner is ridetech’s Shockwave coilover system, which, thanks to Fatman Fabrication’s Stage V Frame Stub, Bela should be able to lay out nicely.
But NONE of this would be possible without the amazing team at Retro Designs Speed and Custom in Concord, NC. Daniel, Zach, “LS” Will, Coop, Kevin, Catfish, Josh and Fernando have spent countless hours working on this car and allowing us to get in their way each evening, as we tried to be a "help."