1955 chevy V12 - calls the big sleep car

As the turquoise machine rumbles past you, something in the car guy universe seems slightly out of place. It looks like a typical 1955 Chevy, and a glance at the interior reveals nothing unusual. The classic two-tone paint is right out of the Eisenhower era, yet your car guy senses are telling you the moon and stars are not quite aligned.

The exhaust note is distinctive—different. Owner Gary Kollofski parks the car, pulls the driver’s door handle to exit, and the door opens from the front—wow, didn’t see that coming. Then he releases the stock location hood latch, and the hood tilts forward. That’s a subtle hint of something we’ve seen before, but what is revealed is totally different. Your eye quickly counts six exhaust pipes on one side—wait, that’s a V12 .  

While the window and windshield glass is stock all the way around, the rear side windows will not roll down as the hinges for the custom suicide doors prevent mounting the window operating mechanism. The door handles are in the stock location, but the doors use all the stock components, hinges, strikers, etc. and open in the front. “When the car is completed, other than the 18″ rally wheels, the car should appear stock from the outside,”
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 In a field of me-too engines, Gary’s 1955 is powered by an Italian BPM V12 displacing 730 ci. The all-aluminum push rod engine sports a 4.33-/4.13-inch bore and stroke with 8.7:1 compression, making 713 lb-ft of torque and 620 hp using a custom-built tri-power of sorts with three 600-cfm Holley carburetors.  


Bendtsen’s Speed Gems adapted the GM 4L80E to the V12 engine using a Midwest 2,000-stall converter and controlling it with a Lokar shifter. The rearend is a 9-inch Ford with a Bendtsen-built 3.73:1 centersection with a limited slip, and 31-spline axles.

The 1955 sits on a Roadster Shop chassis with relocated crossmembers and front reinforcement struts that Dale built. Heidt’s supplied the front A-arms and sway bar that work with the power rack-and-pinion steering and the QA1 front coilover shocks and ididit steering column. The rear suspension consists of a triangulated four-link, QA1 coilovers, and a sway bar.

Brakes: Gary chose the same size Wilwood 13-inch rotors for all four corners, with Wilwood six-piston calipers up front and Wilwood four-piston calipers putting on the pinch in the rear.

Wheels/Tires: Keeping with the subtle exterior, Gary chose a set of 18×8 front and 18×91⁄2 rear Circle Racing Wheels billet Rally wheels with custom offsets mounted with 235/50R18 front and 285/50R18 rear Yokohama Advan ST tires.

Paint/Body: Here’s where the list becomes extensive. To start, Dale built the entire custom forward-tilting hood assembly that included inner tubing structure to support the freestanding hood and fenders. Gary and Dale removed all the switches and controls from the dash, made the dash removable, and built a custom console.  


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