Dale Helpingstine paid $1,000 for his 1957 Chevy Bel Air.
That was 33 years ago, of course, but who’s counting?
“It was a piece of junk!” he said. “I brought it home on a trailer, backed it in the garage, and started taking it apart.”
Helpingstine removed the body, rebuilt the chassis, and started replacing bad floor pans.
And then something that always happens, happened: Life.
“Then child #3 came along and the car went into storage until 2006,” Helpingstine said.
Helpingstine’s Bel Air was voted by Summit Racing’s Facebook fans as the April Ride of the Month.
When he pulled it out of storage in ’06, he took it to a shop that agreed to restore it. Five years later, the car wasn’t finished. (We were too afraid to ask how much he spent.)
“After going over the work that had been done, I got mad and completely disassembled the car again for the third and final time,” he said. “This time, I took the body back off and sent it to a reputable body shop where it spent the next 11 months.”
While the body was undergoing its restoration, Helpingstine stripped down the chassis, had it blasted and powerdercoated and rebuilt it with Classic Performance Products (CPP) tubular A-arms, a front sway bar, front lowering springs and front power disc brakes. He also added all new stainless gas, brake and transmission lines.
This pretty Tri-Five is powered by a 4-bolt main 350 Chevy small block bored .030. It has a Comp Cams camshaft, roller rockers, an Edelbrock Performer EPS manifold and 650 cfm Performer carburetor.
The transmission is a TH200-4R running to a rebuilt stock 3.36:1 rear-end with an Eaton Posi.
It also features a PerTronix Flame Thrower distributor and coil with MSD wiring. The car has Patriot headers and Pypes 2 ½-inch stainless exhaust tubing.
The wheels are 17-inch American Racing Torque Thrust II wheels.
“This car is a longtime dream come true and I love it,” he said.
We do, too, Dale. Thank you for sharing.
Sorry, getting tired of old chevy’s, camaro’s etc. need something new. I’m 72 and seen it all.
Really nice. Now I know why red is my favorite color.
Thanks Summit and everyone who voted my car as the April Ride of the Month. I am honored to have my 57’s story featured in “On All Cylinders”.