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Double Nickel Chevy Bel Air Named “Eye Candy”

Ira Horwitz from Upland, California, has owned many immaculate custom cars and trucks that have taken awards at shows and have been featured in a variety of automotive publications throughout the years. One vehicle Ira had always wanted to build, but hadn’t so far, was an iconic ’55 Bel Air.

Eye Candy 1955 Chevy Bel Air Hard Top

He began his search for a project and stumbled upon this specimen that had been languishing in a warehouse for 30 years. The body was rust free, straight and unmolested, so he bought it and trailered the beast home. His wife Sharon just rolled her eyes, she’s seen her fair share of Ira’s “treasures” throughout the years.

After a year of designing and redesigning, a cool, clean ’55 Chevy Bel Air with innovative performance and styling emerged.

To get there, Ira approached Mike Thieker of Thiekers Street Toys in Muscatine, Iowa, to transform his American steel into a showstopper. “He understands what I want, he treats me right and he does what he says he will do,” Horwitz said of his relationship with Thieker.

Mike Thieker

Horwitz had in mind a 1955 Chevy Bel Air with specialized clearances, door marks, a push-button starter and an out-of-this-world paint job. He shared all of his thoughts with Thieker, who over three years, perfected the two-door super custom coupe.

An Art Morrison GT Sports frame and chassis constitutes the foundation equipped with a pair of Wilwood 2-inch dropped spindles and Morrison adjustable gas-filled shocks and sway bar. A pair of Wilwood 14-inch cross-drilled, ballmilled and vented rotors and sixpiston calipers deliver incredible braking up front.

Out back a Ford 9-inch rearend housing was stabbed with 31-splined axles, while the third member is stuffed with 3.56 gears and a posi-unit. Wilwood 13-inch cross-drilled, ball-milled and vented rotors and four-piston calipers are responsible for halting the rear.

Eye Candy 1955 Chevy Bel Air rear end

The rearend housing was anchored with a Morrison triangulated 4-bar setup, sway bar and Morrison gas-filled coil-over shocks. Eye Candy’s rolling stock is a set of Raceline Explosion 5 polished aluminum wheels (18 x 8 front, 20 x 10 rear) wrapped in a set of Nitto 555 (245/40-18 front, 285/30-20 rear) rubber.

LS-3 engine in 1955 Chevy Bel Air

Ira wanted performance under the hood as well, so he had a GM Performance LS-3 376-ci 6.7L Hot Cam crate engine dropped between the frame rails that produces 500 hp and 475 lb-ft torque at 4,500 rpm. The LS-3 engine receives air from a unique Holley high-rise intake system that was merged with the GM EFI.

A pair of Doug’s long tube headers, merge into a 2 Ѕ-inch exhaust that flows into a pair Flowmaster 18-inch mufflers. The engine rpms are controlled by a 4L70-E four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, and gear selection is obtained by a unique Master Shift push button control panel conveniently mounted on the center console.

The ’55 Bel Air sheet metal features many mild body mods performed by the crew at Thieker Street Toys. The roof has been lowered a subtle 1-inch and the shaved drip rails receive numerous double takes from admirers at shows. To improve the overall bodylines of the driver’s side, the factory gas filler door was removed and shaved. A Rocky Hinge gas filler relocating kit was installed behind the driver’s side taillight, like the factory gas filler found on the ’56 Bel Air.

Eye Candy 1955 Chevy Bel Air fuel cap

A pair of Kindig-It Design flush door handles contribute to Eye Candy’s clean, smooth overall appearance. The front and rear bumpers were narrowed to fit snug to the body, and the carriage mounting bolt holes were filled and then shaved smooth. A very cool Tiarra grille insert is mounted behind the grille shell.

After covering the body with multiple coats of primer the sheet metal was block sanded to achieve a straight, smooth surface before Sikkens Cyber Gray Metallic basecoats buried in multiple coats of clear were layered on. After some time to cure, the clear was cut, buffed and polished to achieve the endless glistening depth of the Cyber Gray Metallic. Jeff Roberts used his steady hand to lay down the precise pinstripes.

1955 Chevy Bel Air Eye Candy left side

Mark Lopez at Elegance Auto Upholstery was responsible for the leather and stitch work on the peanut butter leather and reversed suede interior. A pair of 1988 Cadillac Eldorado bucket seat headrests was removed and cut down. A custom waterfall center console flows from under the dash between the front buckets and continues between the rear custom Caddy buckets. The leather and reverse suede treatment continues into the trunk.

Eye Candy 1955 Chevy Bel Air interior

Ira’s road tunes are orchestrated by an Alpine IVE W530 head unit powered by an Alpine power amp. For clarity and base, four Fosgate tweeters and one 10-inch Fosgate subwoofer were installed by Carlos Rodriguez at Art of Sound. The system delivers a powerful concert hall sound.Wherever Ira and Sharon cruise and show Eye Candy the Bel Air definitely receives a lot of thumbs up and award hardware. At its first two outings it received First in Class (Grand National Roadster Show) and the Innovation Award (Goodguys Del Mar Show).

In the video below you can hear Mr. Horwitz and gets a brief explanation of his gorgeous double nickel Chevy Bel Air. Check it out, it is a beauty!

Source: throttlextreme.com/

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