It was hard to miss this car hauler and Chevy at the SEMA Show. It was sitting out front, naturally, and drew a good collection of onlookers. Between the gold paint job and some obvious patina, this combo was a natural magnet for car aficionados.
55 Chevy Drag Racer
The 55 Chevy is in drag race trim, sporting a front straight axle and a 327 with a Borg Warner four speed with 5.56 gears. Turns out it was bought by the driver, Van Heck, when he was fifteen in 1963. In 1967 it was set up for drag racing with a chrome straight axle.
The interior sports white metallic diamond pleats. Hilborn injection was used for more power and classic Hooker headers were also used. That’s a fiberglass front end to help cut the weight on the shoebox Chevy. The pictures show the extensive amount of chroming that Heck used on this racer’s rear end suspension parts.
The car raced intermittently until one fateful day in 1976. After breaking the drive shaft and done for the day, and loaded up the car on the hauler. On the way home, the hauler was involved in a crash wrecking the front end but still able to make it home. After that night the car and truck were put into storage.
Heck died in 2006 and his estate sold the hauler and racer to a gentleman Larry Frees who has gone to great lengths to restore this combination to its glory days. It’s nice to see someone recognize the historical relevance of an “average Joe “Saturday night racer and spend the effort and time to make it right. The parts and workmanship are period correct and Frees even went to the length of having the lettering done by the same gentleman who originally did it.
More background on this restoration can be found on Frees’ site.
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