West Virginia Monster

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
Article by Larry Crain
Photos supplied by Ronnie Mullens

It has taken 41 years for this 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air to become the monster it is, and owner Ronnie Mullens of Craigsville, West Virginia has been there throughout its creation. So what makes this almost calm looking car the monster that it really is?

This Chevy’s roots as a monster starts at the finish line where it tore up the asphalt of the local drag strips. Ronnie raced this Bel Air in West Virginia where it kicked butt for 7 years and won a statewide championship in 1978.

Ronnie parked the old racecar in the garage where it sat for many years while he and the wife raised a family. Years passed and Ronnie decided it was time to resurrect the old Chevy and attack the drag strips again, this time with the help of his son. Well somewhere along the way plans got changed and the decision was made to build the car for the street.   Little did the public know that a monster was on its way to a car show or cruise in near them.

Flash forward to 6 years ago when the car was getting ready for the strip. Ronnie placed the old Chevy in the hands of H & H Restoration who executed perfect body and paint work in the classic two-tone scheme. So when you first see this car you have to remember that the paint is 6 years old, this monster hides its secrets well.

The custom rolling chassis underneath the mild mannered looking body is a custom piece built by the Street Rod Garage. The front suspension is an IFS unit with coil over shocks and a rack while the rear is a custom 4-link. The custom 4-link packs a wallop with a very mean built-to-the-hilt Moser rear end running a 4:11 posi-trac spool. With so much horsepower going between the frame rails it takes brakes by Wilwood on all 4 corners and on the firewall to stop this monster. Rolling stock that gives the true race look and killer stance is a set of 18 and 20 inch custom wheels from Intro mounted with Mickey Thompson rubber.

Underneath the black and silver stock appearing ’55 Bel Air body lurks a monster of unimaginable proportions, and it isn’t green. Vinny Budano of Shafiroff Race Engines is the genius who put together the custom 540 cubic inch engine that runs a 10:71 TBS supercharger, which is topped off with 2 Holley Dominators. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This race engine, which is set up for the street, pumps out a whopping 1250 HP on the dyno! This monster lets the crowd know it’s coming with a full growl thanks to an awesome Kooks custom header and exhaust system that is guaranteed to set off alarms in businesses and vehicles all over town. The job of keeping this Bel Air running as cool as California is handled by a radiator from Be Cool. The only possible transmission strong enough and capable of handling this mega horsepower mission impossible is a Lenco 4-speed.

When you open the doors of the calm looking exterior you get a slap in the face by a full fledge race interior. But this race interior has some very nice creature comforts like a set of Dakota Digital gauges, an Ididit tilt column topped with a Billet Specialties custom steering wheel, a Vintage Air a/c system and Specialty Power Windows finish off the upgrades. A full roll cage and a custom interior by Pro Auto Custom Interiors dressed in nothing but shades of black and gray with carbon fiber touches. Recaro bucket seats heavily modified by Challenge Motor Werks and covered by Pro Auto Custom Interiors fit the proportions of the interior perfectly. It’s a little scary to think that just a single finger on a Ring Brothers touch start is what brings the monster to life.

First time throttle up outside of a shop on this awesome machine was done at Pro Auto Custom Interiors while ScottieDTV was filming it. Shortly after filming the video for ScottieDTV, Ronnie, with his grandson in the passenger seat, took the car around the block for its first drive. Ronnie is master of this monster and no harm will come to his family as long as he is in the driver’s seat.

Special thanks to Eric Brockmyer for use of his interior illustration that Steve Holcomb of Pro Auto Custom Interiors used as a design guide.

Thanks to these shops and manufacturers for their parts and services.

  • Be Cool Radiators
  • Billet Specialties
  • Challenge Motor Werks
  • Dakota Digital
  • H & H Restoration
  • Holley
  • Ididit
  • Intro Wheels
  • Kooks Headers Exhaust
  • Lenco Transmissions
  • Mickey Thompson
  • Specialty Power Windows
  • Pro Auto Custom Interiors
  • Recaro
  • Ring Brothers
  • Shafiroff Race Engines
  • Street Rod Garage
  • The Blower Shop
  • Vintage Air
  • Wilwood
ScottieDTV Watches