custom 1956 chevy
572 big block engine in a custom 1956 chevy
wheel and exhaust outlet on a custom 1956 chevy
rear quarter shot of a custom 1956 chevy
interior view of a custom 1956 chevy

Amazing what you can do with a shoebox and a little imagination, isn't it? Denny Terzich Jr. and his father transformed this '56 Chevy into an award-winning ride-and won the 2002 Goodguys Street Machine of the Year title. Denny and his dad did the majority of the fabrication in his grandfather's one-stall home garage. "It was so small, we could not fit the rear tires between the car and the walls!" Denny said.

Evanuik Performance built the shoebox's 572-cubic-inch, 11.8:1 compression bullet. It features a World Products Merlin block, a Crower/JE bottom end, a .748-inch lift Comp Cams solid roller cam, and a pair of Trick Flow R-Series 340 aluminum heads. Up top is a Brodix single plane intake (cut two inches for hood clearance) and for extra fun, a 300-horse nitrous system. The reward was 894 horsepower at 6,800 rpm and 777 foot-pounds of torque at 5,400 rpm without the nitrous. "Put this thing in a dragster and you'll be going 6.90s!" Jim Evanuik Sr. said.

Denny's father purchased the '56 several years ago as a semi-finished Pro Street project--he and Denny Jr. literally had to un-tub the car. They then set the body up on a homemade jig, hacked out the floor, and channeled the body three inches over the frame. The frame itself consists of a Fatman Fabrications front subframe and a pair of S&W Race Cars rear rails Z-ed onto the existing frame rails. A pair of ladder bars holds up a Currie Enterprises Billet 9 inch rear axle, and tubular front A-arms hold up two inch drop spindles and a cool Winston Cup-style 1 1/4 inch adjustable sway bar. Air Ride Technologies Shockwaves, Wilwood disc brakes, and Colorado Custom Slotted Slater wheels on BFG rubber sit on all four corners.

Denny and his pals over at Dave Mathews Auto Body incorporated some tasteful body modifications, including steel belly pans and a through-the-hood air cleaner. Dave modified the inner front fenders for extra tire clearance, and built an air vent into the passenger side fenderwell to duct air to the transmission cooler. He covered his handiwork with PPG Concept Orange and Chevy Truck White paint. And dig those crazy clear taillights--they're custom pieces from Trimparts.

J.C Auto Trim went to town covering the interior with several hides' worth of white and orange leather. The junior roll bars are shamelessly copied from the bars in the Audi TT, and serve as anchor points for the R.J.S. harnesses. Other touches include a custom-whittled dash insert, a cool vintage-style tach, Lokar pedals, a B&M Street Bandit shifter and a laid-out audio/video system.

This story originally appeared in the Summit Racing catalog and also appeared on

It’s a minor miracle Denny Terzich Jr.’s head isn’t about 10 times larger than it is. After all of the ego-massaging he got over his 1956 Chevy—the one that won Goodguy’s 2002 Street Machine of the Year honors—we wouldn’t blame him for thinking he’s Master of the Street Machine Universe.

But we’ve known Denny and his dad Denny Sr. for a lot of years, and they’re the same regular guys they’ve always been. The boys are known for slick Pro Street-style rides; the roster includes three other shoebox Chevys, a ’33 Ford, and a ’62 Bel-Air bubbletop with a fuel-injected 409. The ’56 started out as a Pro Street ride too—this time for Denny Sr.—but his son convinced him to hand the car over for some major surgery.

The chassis was the first to fall under the scalpel. Denny cut out the body’s floor pan, then channeled it three inches over a home-fabbed jig. The frame was set up for Pro Street rubber, which meant it had to be redone to fit inside the body. The rear subframe was hacked off and replaced with a pair of rails from S&W Race Cars. To create a kickup in the rear, the rails were welded to the top of the remaining frame just before the rear tires. With the frame set up inside the body at actual ride height, the engine, transmission, and rear axle mounts were mocked up and pinion angles set correctly.

The ’56 gets its ground-scraping stance from a combination of S&W ladder bars, Fatman Fabrications A-arm front suspension, and AirRide Technologies Shockwave coil-overs on all four corners. Also sitting on those corners are Wilwood disc brakes and Colorado Custom Slotter Slater wheels (20 x 12 rear, 18 x 8 front) wrapped with BFGoodrich rubber.

With the chassis buttoned up, the Terziches turned their attention to the rest of the body. They fabbed a new floor pan, hung new rear quarter panels, and fitted the rest of the sheetmetal before hauling the shell over to Dave Mathews Auto Body for completion. Dave created a through-the-hood air cleaner and steel belly pans, modified the inner front fenders for extra tire clearance, and built an air vent into the passenger side fenderwell to duct air to the transmission cooler. When the bodywork was finished, Dave laid down the PPG Concept Orange and Chevy Truck White paint job.

Lest you think this shoebox is all face and no action, take a look under the hood. You’ll find 572 cubic inches of big block Chevy built by Evanuik Performance Engines. The 11.8:1 compression motor has a Merlin block filled with Crower and JE internals and a Comp Cams solid roller cam. The block is topped with a pair of prepped Trick Flow R-Series aluminum heads and a Brodix intake with a 1,145 cfm carburetor. Add an MSD ignition system and custom-built 2 1/8-inch primary headers, and you get an engine that makes 900 horsepower. Throw in a 300 shot of Nitrous Works giggle gas and you get—well, very, very scared.

We’re not sure why, but Denny has a thing for white interiors. The ’56 sports the glitziest one yet, complete with several cows’ worth of white and orange leather, Mini Me-sized roll bars on the front buckets to attach the RJS harnesses, a mondo audio/video system, and a custom dash insert. Everything is so nice, we felt guilty just looking at it.

Denny traditionally sells a completed car to finance the next project, but he’s not gonna do that with the ’56. “I usually don’t get the chance to enjoy my cars when they’re finished,” he said. “This one is special—I plan on enjoying it for awhile.” Can’t blame him a bit.



Chassis and Suspension
Frame: S&W Race Cars rear subframe Z-ed to stock frame rails, Fatman Fabrications front subframe
Front Suspension: Fatman Fabrications tubular A-arm with 2-inch drop spindles and Air Ride Technologies Shockwave coil-overs
Rear Suspension: S&W Race Cars ladder bars and Air Ride Technologies Shockwave airbag/coil-overs
Rear Axle: Currie Enterprises 9” Ford , Currie Enterprises 9-Plus third member, 4.56 gears and posi unit
Brakes: Four-wheel Wilwood disc brakes (13-inch front, 12.25-inch rear)
Wheels and Tires: Colorado Custom Slotted Slater wheels (18 x 8 front, 20 x 12 rear), BFGoodrich Comp T/A tires (225/40ZR-18 front, P295/40ZR-20 rear)
Chassis Work: Owner

Engine and Transmission
Type: Big block Chevy, 572 cubic inches
Block: World Products Merlin block, cast iron
Reciprocating Assembly: Crower stroker crank, 6.405-inch Crower connecting rods, 11.8:1 JE forged pistons
Camshaft: Comp Cams solid roller cam, 280-degree/287-degree advertised duration, .748-inch lift
Cylinder Heads: Trick Flow R-Series aluminum heads, 340cc intake ports
Valvetrain: Comp Cams valve springs, 1.7/1.6 ratio Comp Cams roller rocker arms
Induction: Brodix single plane intake (cut two inches for hood clearance), 1,145 cfm Dominator-style carburetor
Power Adder: 300-horsepower nitrous system
Ignition: MSD Pro Billet distributor, MSD Digital 6-Plus ignition , MSD Blaster coil, MSD 8.5mm ignition wires
Exhaust: Custom 2 1/8-inch primary headers with 4-inch collectors, 4-inch dual exhaust with Flowmaster mufflers
Transmission: Rossler Turbo 400 with Gear Vendors 6-speed over/underdrive unit, B&M 10-inch torque converter (3,500 rpm stall)
Other Items: Milodon oil pan, ARP fasteners, Meziere electric water pump, Powermaster starter, Powermaster 145 amp alternator, Be Cool aluminum radiator
Engine Work: Evanuik Racing Engines, North Versailles, PA

Paint and Body
Modifications: Body channeled 3 inches over frame, new quarter panels, steel belly pans and front roll pan, smoothed firewall, inner fenderwells modified for tire clearance, air vent in passenger fenderwell for transmission cooler
Trim: Trimparts reproduction trim, custom-made clear tail lights, Soffseal weatherstripping
Paint: PPG Concept Orange and Chevy Truck White
Bodywork and Paint: Dave Mathews Auto Body, White Oak, PA

Seats: Glide Engineering buckets with mini-roll bars on front for harnesses
Upholstery: White and orange leather, white carpet
Dash: Pete’s Fabrication dash insert
Other Items: Tilt steering column, Lokar pedals, B&M Street Bandit shifter, audio/video entertainment system by Audio Communications, Monroeville, PA
Upholstery: J.C. Auto Trim, Irwin, PA
Special Thanks To: Jennifer Terzich, Denny Terzich Sr., Dave Mathews Auto Body, Jimmy Varacalli

Share this Article