1,096-HP Evel Knievel Themed 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Needs No Take-Off Ramp To Stunt

Hollywood stuntmen never get enough airplay for the daredevil, bone-shattering stunts they pull for our viewing pleasure. But one man did. He wore a now-iconic star-spangled white leather suit. His name was Robert Craig Knievel, or popularly – Evel Knievel. He was the Elvis of Motorcycle stunt performances, with over 350 jump stunts over his 30-year-old career. We hope he's smiling wherever he is because someone just did a 1955 Chevy Bel Air restomod in his honor – and it's... stunting!
1955 Chevrolet Bel Air 12 photos
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/AutotopiaLA
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The Chevrolet Tri-Five was the design icon of the 1950s – it's one of the most popular platforms for restomods. Builders have done all sorts of mods on these iconic classics, from pro touring rigs to nostalgic gassers. They are undoubtedly the darling of the restomod world.

Shawn of AutotopiaLA recently showcased one of the most awe-inspiring 1955 Chevy Bel Air restomods. It was done in honor of the world's greatest stuntman Evel Knievel by Tony Gomez of Lakeside Customs.

This restomod, like all ground-up builds we feature, has an interesting back story, and it all started with a dare.

After acquiring the '55 Chevy, Tony's kid dared him to do an Evel Knievel theme – and the rest, as you'll soon find out, was history. Like most people in his generation, Tony grew up watching the famous stuntman do the impossible on the screen. The dare was a challenge to bring back his childhood memories – something he's done with remarkable results.

"It belonged to a gentleman that I spoke to for the first time yesterday. His name is Ronald. He owned the car for 25 years. He started off with a hope and a dream and did some design work on the car, and they had to stop because of some medical issues," Tony revealed about the '55 Chevy Bel Air's history.

Failed to show up at this year's Goodguys event

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/AutotopiaLA
It was a work in progress when Tony and his team first got the '55 Bel Air. But since he had a different plan for the rig, they pulled it apart and re-engineered much of it to actualize his child's dare.

It's a freshly done project, and in the interview with Shawn, he admits it's only one week old. In fact, it had just missed a deadline for the annual Goodguys Show (marked its fortieth year in 2023), thanks to a faulty computer system.

That's not all. To add to the list of misses, the '55 Chevy Bel Air also missed an opportunity to meet Robbie Knievel, Evel Knievel's son, who also took up after his dad in the world of professional stunts. Robbie didn't make it to the show either due to health complications and has passed away since then.

Still, the legend lives on in this meticulously built 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. The red, blue, white, and gold theme was tastefully done – plus, it's got the magic stick (Evel Knievel's gold walking stick).

If you are going to build a car in memory of the biggest daredevil of all time, you might as well make it crazy enough to match up.

Makes 1,096 hp from a  712 cubic-inch Merlin block

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/AutotopiaLA
Adding the exterior aesthetics to resemble the icon is a good gesture, but the Lakeside Customs team gave it crazy power to match the stuntman's bravado.

Under the hood, this '55 Chevy restomod packs a tucked 712 cubic-inch Merlin block (zero wires exposed) suitable for a whopping 1,096 hp (1,111 ps). The Lakeside Customs crew installed Dart Big Chief cylinder heads (2 ¼ inches), a Kinsler fuel injection system, a 3-inch stainless steel exhaust, and other add-ons to make four-digit power on this build.

It runs a TCI Turbo 400 transmission with a gear vendor to handle all that power. For suspension, the crew set it up with a Kugel independent rear suspension (Kugel front components as well) with the Strange Engineering Ford 9-inch. It also has a Ridetech Shockwave Air Ride system.

Simply put. The entire build is sitting on a Morrison chassis with Kugel suspension components.

Tiny details with profound effects

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/AutotopiaLA
For an even neater engine bay, the team installed an unexposed custom radiator with recessed cooling fans that clear about an eighth of an inch on the radiator.

"It's right at about 1,096 horsepower without the nitrous. We actually removed the nitrous from the engine because we did not want it with all the problems that go with that. But then we pulled back from that a little bit," Tony confessed about their decision not to include nitrous.

Lakeside Customs did an impressive job on the engine bay. Everything looks exceptionally clean for a 68-year-old car, from the color matching to the metalwork. In case you hadn't noticed, the engine on this build has been pushed 4.5 inches back.

The '55 Chevy restomod runs Budnik wheels for the wheel setup, 19 inches at the front and 20 inches at the rear.

If you thought the exterior was the top element of this build, wait until you see the interior layout – it's all blue with red accents. The team even incorporated the Evel Knievel handlebar into the interior.

"The theme of the Evel Knievel I absolutely love. Yes, it's a bit on the over-the-top side, but it's done in a tasteful manner, I think. I think they pulled the reins at the right points. Just exceptional." Shawn confessed.

Are you curious what sounds this memorabilia classic '55 Chevy restomod makes cruising down the road? We recommend catching that action and more in the video below.

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About the author: Humphrey Bwayo
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Humphrey is a car enthusiast whose love and passion for automobiles extended into collecting, writing, driving, and working on cars. He got his passion for cars from his Dad, who spent thousands of hours working on his old junky 1970 E20 Toyota Corolla. Years later, he would end up doing the same with a series of lemons he’s owned throughout his adult life.
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