The most valuable asset for any vehicle project is clarity of vision. Once you understand everything about the final product, it’s easier to figure out the steps required to achieve it. That’s why Terry Cook’s 1955 Chevy Bel Air looks so clean and distinct.
As soon as he was old enough to hold a wrench, Terry Cook was in the garage helping his father Carlos work on cars. Their previous project vehicles include a Pro Street 1971 Chevy truck, an R-code 1969 Ford Mustang, a 1963 Corvette, and a 1967 “Eleanor” Mustang.
The father-and-son partnership culminated in a pair of Tri-Fives. “My dad always wanted a classic 1957 Chevy Bel Air,” Terry says, “so I restored a two-door hardtop for him, complete with all the chrome trim. It was such a fun project that I decided to build one of my own, but I had to do it my way.”
“This car holds a special place in my heart,” Terry says, “because it ended up being the last car that my dad and I worked on together before he passed away.”
Before turning a single nut, Terry commissioned award-winning designer Murray Pfaff to help solidify his vision of a sleek and modernized 1955 Bel Air. Guided by the rendering, Terry and Carlos didn’t have to spend a lot of time with trial-and-error fitment.
Terry got the body from a friend of his, Kerry Wrinkle. After deleting all the emblems, he added a few openings for side vents, exhaust exits, air diffuser cutouts, and a distinctive air intake through the front emblem frame. He also flipped the rear bumper.
That customized body rides on a Tri-5 GT Sport chassis by Art Morrison. Coilovers from Strange Engineering help keep the ride sporty and smooth.
Under the hood is a Brodix 434 cubic inch block with 18 degree cylinder heads CNC-ported by Terry’s friends at Competition Marine. It’s fed by a custom-fabricated Hogan sheetmetal duct connected to the Bowtie-shaped opening in the nose, and the motor exhales through custom-built headers.
The engine also features Holley multi-port fuel injection, a nitrous oxide system, an Aeromotive Phantom fuel pump, and a Meziere starter, plus an MSD 6A ignition controller, crank trigger, and HVC-2 coil. A Griffin radiator and SPAL electric fans help keep everything cool. Terry estimates the engine makes about 630 horsepower.
“The trickiest part of this build was routing the exhaust through the floor pan in the rear,” Terry says. The Bel Air’s three inch stainless steel exhaust tubing connects to Quick Time cutouts and Borla mufflers.
Inside, Terry rides in style on custom-made, leather upholstered bucket seats. The customized fiberglass dash sports instruments from Dakota Digital and Holley.
This green machine has won lots of accolades, including a Street Rodder Top 100, Tri-Five Top 25 Best Engineered, and a Goodguys Top 10 finish in Fort Worth, Texas. Keep an eye out for Terry at a show near you!
Terry Cook’s 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Fast Specs
Body & Chassis
- Tri-5 GT Sport chassis by Art Morrison
- Strange Engineering coilover shocks
- Tubular steel control arms
- Triangular 4-link suspension
- Rack and pinion steering
- Wilwood 6-piston disc brakes
- Custom side vents, exhaust exits, flipped rear bumper with air diffuser cutouts, deleted emblems, air intake through front emblem frame
- PPG Synergy Green and Urban Titanium paint
Wheels & Tires
- Schott Mod 5 wheels (17″ x 8″ front, 19″ x 12″ rear)
- Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires (245/40ZR18 front, 345/302R19 rear)
Engine & Transmission
- Brodix 434 cu. in. V8, machining by Competition Marine
- Brodix 18˚ cylinder heads CNC-ported
- Crower crankshaft and connecting rods
- Clevite bearings
- COMP Cams mechanical roller camshaft
- Griffin radiator
- SPAL electric fans
- Aeroquip hoses and fittings
- GearStar Level 4 4L80E transmission
- TCI Outlaw shifter with paddles
Air & Fuel
- Fabricated sheetmetal intake manifold
- Holley multi-port fuel injection
- Induction Solutions nitrous oxide system
- Aeromotive Phantom fuel pump
Ignition & Electrical
- Custom-built headers and 3 inch stainless steel tubing
- Quick Time Performance exhaust cutouts
- Borla mufflers
- Modified fiberglass dash by Tony Curry
- Holley and Dakota Digital gauges
- Custom bucket seats covered in black leather with green stitching
- Upholstery by Oz Upholstery
Terry gives special thanks to his father, Carlos Cook, as well as Kerry Wrinkle, Murray Pfaff, and Connor Wilson