We've known about Paul's love for American classic cars for a while, from seeing him and his cars at events such as Cars & Coffee and once we found out he was undergoing another awesome project with his 1964 Chevy Bel Air we knew we had to bring him in for a Build Talk. His Bel Air has the perfect Low Rider look with a killer two-tone paint job, period correct chrome Cragger wheels, full air ride and an all-original blue interior.
The interior is just as impressive; everything you could want or expect from an old American cruiser and the leather has aged beautifully.
Under the hood is a V8 lump pushing 300bhp from the factory.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU INTO THE AMERICAN CAR SCENE AND HOW DID YOU GET THE CAR?
"I've loved trucks ever since seeing them in the A-Team, Night Rider and stuff like that. I was lucky enough to be in a good position to get the right truck for the right price. A guy I know had a truck, it was his dream truck but in the end he had to sell it. He bought the Bel Air for family outings, but it didn't suit him and it wasn't something he wanted to hold on to. Luckily enough, he loved my truck and we set about doing a swap deal with the truck and the car. I wasn't sure at first but the more I saw, drove and thought about it I couldn't resist getting the car, so we swapped."
WHAT'S THE FACTORY SPEC AND WHAT'S THE HISTORY OF THE CAR?
"The car has only had 1 or 2 owners in the states, and it had the original numbers matching engine and gearbox, it was upgraded to 300bhp from the factory which at the time was an extra $337, the aqua interior was an optional extra and when it came over here it was pure white with no two-tone.
"It came to England on air ride, and the guy who originally built it completely stripped it down, cut out the rust, painted it and completely rebuilt the engine. Basically, that car is as original, apart from the paint, as you can get!"
SINCE YOU'VE OWNED IT WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO IT?
"So far I've started the boot build for the air ride, put the Crager wheels on it and cut off the side pipe exhaust and tucked them under the car because once I put the wheels on when I aired out I was sitting in the exhaust."
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS?
"Well, if it stays, I want to go electronic fuel injection, add 2-inch drop spindles to the font so I can lay frame, raise the engine, re-route the exhaust, notch the rear to get the rear down another 2-inches to match the front and then paint the interior, but keep the original seat covers and door panels. Finally, I want to metal-flake the roof, to add a cool little touch."
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM CAR?
"My dream car, if I could get one, would be a Porsche 356 coupe and it would have to be steel body."
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 5 AF PRODUCTS WHEN PREPARING FOR A CAR SHOW?
"Lather, because it's a great shampoo and it doesn't dry out, which really helps when washing a large car." "Tripple, because I use it in conjunction with Ultra Glaze when I'm prepping for a show." "Finale, to freshen the car up when I get to a show." "Glisten, because it's a great go-to spray wax." "Lastly, Satin because I have to make the tyres look as good as the rest of the car."
Thanks again Paul for bringing in your beautiful 1964 Chevy Bel Air and sharing your story and its history!
Words & Images:
Auto Finesse Media Team