The Ultimate Pro Street Conversion

Hot rodding enthusiasts understand the allure of modifying a vehicle to enhance its performance, aesthetic appeal, or personal taste. The process of transforming a car into a personalized masterpiece can be time-consuming, but the end result is undeniably worth the effort. However, there are instances where owners find themselves compelled to reinvent their cars after some time, either due to changing styles or evolving preferences. While purchasing a completed or ongoing project is an option, nothing compares to the satisfaction of creating a car that truly embodies one’s vision. Such a drastic change becomes necessary to truly make it one’s own.

In our pursuit of an exceptional project, we embarked on a mission to transform a ’57 Chevy into a unique masterpiece. Through a collaboration with Timber Wolf, we sought to breathe new life into a car that had been abandoned by its previous owner. Our objective was to create a Pro Street vehicle, a concept that hadn’t been explored by HOT ROD for quite some time. After an extensive search, we stumbled upon a ’57 Chevy that had undergone a partial back-half conversion in the past. Although it appeared promising, we soon discovered its imperfections upon closer inspection.

Steve Strope’s Pure Vision shop in Simi Valley, California became the hub for our project. The ’57 Chevy boasted the essential components of a Pro Street car, including a powerful big-block Chevy engine, wide rear tires, a ladder bar suspension system, and a robust six-point roll cage. Initially, we questioned our ability to transform a car that already seemed to be in good condition. However, upon closer scrutiny, we noticed several areas that required improvement. Strope shared his observations, stating, “I had mixed feelings. We acquired a decent car at a reasonable price. The tub job was satisfactory, and it provided a solid starting point. Yet, as we delved deeper, we discovered subpar craftsmanship and a lack of attention to detail. The brake lines and wiring were abysmal, and the mishmash of old and new parts clashed. Furthermore, the color choices were questionable, with orange suspension components and windshield wipers. The engine was a disaster, and the roll cage was less than impressive. Nonetheless, the changes we needed to make aligned with our original plans, so it worked out well.”

The Transformation Begins: A Vision Takes Shape

Having previously collaborated on two giveaway cars for HOT ROD, we entrusted Strope with our ’57 Chevy project, confident in his expertise. After brainstorming ideas and consulting with a Tavis Highlander rendering, Strope and his team embarked on the transformation. The clock was ticking, as we had set a demanding five-week deadline to ensure the car’s participation in this year’s Power Tour(r).

As the project progressed, Strope’s creativity continued to flow, leading to further enhancements that adhered to our drag race-inspired theme. Although these ideas pushed the limits of our deadline, the end result proved to be nothing short of extraordinary. Every detail was meticulously addressed to reflect the spirit of the ’60s and ’70s. The engine received a vintage touch, featuring Edelbrock finned valve covers, white-painted Patriot headers, modified velocity stacks, and a custom fuel block for the dual Edelbrock quad carburetors.

The interior underwent a stunning transformation, replacing the original black vinyl and cloth upholstery with a striking red interior from Year One. Flaming River contributed to the overhaul by replacing the cliché billet steering wheel with a three-spoke Corvette-style wheel. Electric Life’s aftermarket power window mechanisms replaced the sluggish originals, while Pacific Western Design’s RainGear wiper motor added a modern touch. Both systems were integrated with relays to emulate the performance of a new car. Strope’s unwavering commitment to excellence was evident in every aspect of the build, from meticulously installed brake lines and wiring to countless refined details.

A Stroke of Genius: Flames Ignite the Passion

The pinnacle of our project was the inclusion of hot rodding legend Scott Sullivan, whose flame painting skills would elevate the ’57 Chevy to unparalleled heights. Despite facing time constraints, we managed to secure Sullivan’s involvement. His extensive experience in the street machine and Pro Street world, including the iconic Cheez Whiz-orange ’55 Chevy, made him the perfect candidate to bring our vision to life. Sullivan’s timeless designs ensure that his cars never appear outdated. Even today, his ’70s Chevy II and ’80s ’55 Chevy would seamlessly blend into any contemporary car show. Sullivan’s artistry was further exemplified by his recent focus on motorcycles, demonstrating his continued mastery in the automotive industry.

With striping tape guiding the way, Sullivan meticulously drew out the flames, turning the ’57 Chevy into a flaming masterpiece. The car’s base color, which appears black in photos and under normal lighting conditions, actually possesses a deep, dark purple hue. In bright sunlight, this vehicle commands attention, especially when paired with the new GM H.O. 454 engine from Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center, capable of producing awe-inspiring burnouts.