V12-Powered 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air: A Timeless Beauty

If you’re looking for a unique 1955 Chevy, then you’ve come to the right place. My name is Gary Kollofski, and I’m from the suburbs of Minneapolis, in Plymouth, Minnesota. I own a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air with 210 trim. I’m joined by my friend, Dale, from Big Lake, Minnesota, who is the master fabricator and engineer behind the vehicle. We’re here at the Tri-Five Nationals in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in August 2015. This event celebrates the 60th anniversary of the 1955 Chevy, with over 1,600 cars in attendance.

Our goal was to create a 1955 Chevy that looked as stock as possible from the outside but offered something truly unique under the hood. We believe we’ve achieved that. The car appears ordinary at first glance, but once you open it up, the differences become apparent. The most significant feature is the 730 cubic inch aluminum marine V12 engine. Additionally, the car has a forward-tilting hood, suicide doors, a removable front end, and numerous other subtle modifications that reveal themselves as you explore the vehicle.

I discovered this particular car through a friend in California who found a 1955 two-door post in a warehouse. I bought it and later came across a pair of marine V12 engines. With Dale’s help, we managed to fit one of the engines into the car, creating something truly unique among Tri-Five Chevys, which typically feature LS-based motors, small-blocks, or big-blocks.


Dale’s craftsmanship is evident throughout the car, from the headers and intake manifold to the air conditioning system, which is cleverly hidden under the backseat and in the trunk. The car sits on a Roadster Shop chassis with Heights independent front suspension and a nine-inch Ford rear end, with a triangulated four-link.

The car’s braking system features 13-inch floating disc brakes with six-piston calipers in the front and four-piston calipers in the rear. The wheels are 18-inch aluminum rally wheels made by Circle Racing, with Yokohama tires providing the grip.

Cooling the powerful engine is a custom radiator from Missouri Radiator, designed to our specifications. An electric water pump is integrated into the radiator, which works in tandem with electric fans to keep the engine temperature at around 185 degrees Fahrenheit.

Initially, the engine came with temperamental 648 millimeter Weber downdraft carburetors. Dale designed and built a custom intake manifold to accommodate three 600 CFM Holley carburetors instead, which proved to be a better solution.

The interior of the car maintains its original look, with stock bench seats, dashboard, and upholstery. Dale performed a remarkable job of suicide-hinging the doors, which still use stock components. A Pioneer stereo, air conditioning vents in the console, and a hidden compartment for switches and fuses modernize the cabin without detracting from its classic appearance.

Our collaboration brought this unique vision to life. Dale’s incredible talent and eye for detail allowed us to create a one-of-a-kind 1955 Chevy that’s both a nod to the past and a showcase of modern engineering.

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