1955 Chevy Bel Air 2012 Great 8 Winner
We were at the Detroit Autorama last weekend and the one thing you can’t fail to notice is that there is a big difference between a backyard project and a purpose built show car. In today’s listings you’ll see a 1955 Chevy Bel Air ZL-55 just listed this week out of Athens, Tennessee. This incredible car was entered in the Ridler Award judging last year at the Detroit Autorama. It made it all the way to the Great 8, the top eight finalists for the Ridler Award. Johnny Edmundson, the car’s owner, says there are over 9,300 hours of labor invested in the build. The average show car at the Detroit Autorama this year took three to four years to build. Edmundson said it cost over $500,000 to restore his 1955 Chevy Bel Air ZL-55.
Edmundson researched a special engine for this car that became the theme of his memorable custom ride. He found the all aluminum ZL1 427 big block motor that was raced in a Camaro by Gene Felton in the early ’70s. Felton authenticated the legendary engine. He drove his 1969 Camaro #96 to victory in the Presidential 250 at Daytona in 1972 and in the Paul Revere 250 at Daytona in 1973. He has given Edmundson a letter of authenticity saying that this 427 RRP 0054 is the same motor that powered his Camaro to the two championship victories.
The chassis on the ZL-55 was made by the Roadster Shop and has been modified. It has six-piston Wilwood disc brakes on all four corners. The Currie rear end has been smoothed and triple plated.
“ZL-55” was a Great 8 finalist at the Detroit Autorama in 2012 and received a Builders Choice Award at Goodguys in Nationville, plus the Fab 5 Award at the Shades of the Past show, all in 2012. It comes complete with its own show display personalized to the ZL-55 theme. Edmundson dubbed his 1955 Chevy Bel Air custom the “ZL-55.” “It’s ZL1 of one,” he likes to quip. Click the video window below to view more on the 1955 Chevy Bel Air ZL-55.