Cars

My wheels: Dallas Astle's 1955 Bel Air (Feb. 20)

Except for the wheels and tires, your '55 looks like a nearly stock car. Was it in this shape when you found it?

No, it had been lowered and the engine was modified. I decided I was going to put it back to original. I had never done anything like this before, but my grandpa knows the ins and outs of cars, so he was a lot of help to me. Somebody had parked it at 29th and Ridge Road and put a "for sale" sign in it.

It looks like the drive train is back to factory stock.

Yes, it has the 265 V-8 with a 2-barrel carburetor, no oil filter and the old 3-on-the-tree manual transmission. Westlink Auto Service in Maize rebuilt the engine for me.

How about the body and chassis?

It's got all the original chrome and glass. The frame looked like it rolled out of the factory, although it's got just over 100,000 miles on it. It does have modern brakes and I liked the mag wheels and radial tires that were on it, so I kept those. Farrells Paint and Body Shop in Cheney did a great paint job on the car.

And the interior looks pretty much unmolested.

I found somebody selling the original design material for the interior and Mike's Custom Upholstery here in Wichita helped me out with getting that all together.

Any qualms about fixing up a 4-door as opposed to a 2-door?

Not really. A 2-door would be worth a lot more. But what I like about this car is how original it is. I feel like it's kind of a piece of history.

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