Outkast | 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Gasser [With Video]
Words Andy Colalillo & Luke Ray Photography Luke Ray.
LR: I’ve known the guys at the Outkasts Car Club for a while now. Whenever I make a road trip up to Sydney for content, I can always rely on these guys to offer up some fresh meat. You may remember that I dropped in during my Mustang drive and I also hung out with them at the Boogaloo Invitational.
I’m a big admirer of the passion and dedication that goes into not only the car builds themselves, but also the support and promotion of the whole culture surrounding them. Andy Colalillo and Sean Hagarty from the Outkasts recently showed how it’s done by putting on a sterling display of traditional 40s, 50s and 60s-era hot rods, drag cars, customs, bombs and lowriders in their ‘Nostalgia Lane’ section of last weekend's ‘Sydney Hot Rod and Custom Auto Expo’ that was a roaring success.
I caught up with Andy where he talked me through the basics of his latest build that’s near completion...
AC: This is a 1955 Chevy Bel Air two-door, built as a gasser. It's running what was a blown Chevy 348 motor which is being bored out to 434 c.i. with a supercharger, T10 four-speed a 9” rear end. It has four-wheel disc brakes, an original front end and a leaf spring rear setup.
I got this car just over two years ago. I'd wanted a gasser for a while and I had a ‘31 Tudor that I'd done a fair bit with for a few years and I was considering moving it on.
This car was for sale in Melbourne and I messaged the guy to see if he would be keen on a part trade because I didn't have the full cash. He was interested in the Tudor and we ended up doing a deal after I sold a bike to free up some funds.
After I picked it up, I had to put it into storage for a year or so, because I was in the middle of building a house. So, the car just sort of sat until the house was finished. Mechanically it was largely as you see it now but it was done as a ‘Two-Lane Blacktop’ movie car replica. It was grey and had Daisy wheels and a few other things to make it look like the movie car.
When I did eventually start back on it, I wanted to make it a bit more streetable. It had glass [fibre] doors which I replaced with steel doors. Partly for safety but also so I could get functioning windows and outside door handles, all the sort of stuff to make it more of a street car.
Other than that, I've changed the wheels and tyres. It had fat front tyres, I wanted to have the big fats on the back and the skinnies on the front for the proper gasser look. So, I sourced a set of period magnesiums, but I had to recut the rear guard to put a 30” tyre on it to get the stance that I wanted.
Roey from our Outkasts club did the metal work on the rear quarter and then over the last Christmas break I did a few repairs to the body that it needed and I tidied up other bits and pieces. Johnny Formosa from our club gave me a hand, taking it to his work where he sprayed it in black primer for me.
Victoria-based artist Ryan Ford came up recently to do all the signwriting around the body. I’ve always wanted to build a gasser called ‘Pure Massacre’. It was a Silverchair song I grew up with which is a full-on song that encapsulates the attitude of this car. So, I spoke to Ryan about what I wanted and he did the white gold leaf on it and some lettering.
I've changed the seats, tidied up the dash, added the red tints and a few other interior jobs. It's still a work-in-progress project, but it's pretty close to being finished..
The seller, Anthony, built a good mechanical car but I still just want to go through the mechanics, for peace of mind. So, later this year I'll take it down to a mate's workshop and we'll just go through everything and give it a once-over.
After that, there's just some cosmetic tidy up stuff it needs... some hoses and stuff like that that are perforated and just gone off over time. That’s about it.
I plan to do a few events when the car’s finished and I’d like to run it on an 1/8th mile. Other than that just drive it locally and enjoy it. We’ve done a few pizza shop runs already…
Follow Andy @andyoutkast.