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1956 Chevrolet 210 Shorty Is So Weird It's Actually Cool, Rocks Blown V8

When it comes to modifying cars, shortening a vehicle by cutting out its midsection seems like a weird thing to do. But it used to be a thing back in the day.
1956 Chevrolet Tri-Five shorty 9 photos
Photo: Corner Classic Car Hunter/YouTube
1956 Chevrolet Tri-Five shorty1956 Chevrolet Tri-Five shorty1956 Chevrolet Tri-Five shorty1956 Chevrolet Tri-Five shorty1956 Chevrolet Tri-Five shorty1956 Chevrolet Tri-Five shorty1956 Chevrolet Tri-Five shorty1956 Chevrolet Tri-Five shorty
Why would anyone butcher an automobile to make it significantly shorter? Well, some were shortened for show car duty, while others were converted for weight-saving purposes. Some owners did it simply because a shorter wheelbase comes in handy at the drag strip.

And did you know that Ford also built a shorty version of the first-generation Ford Mustang? It was penned by Vince Gardner in 1964 and left Ford's special projects shop with a 16-inch (406-mm) shorter wheelbase.

Like most prototypes from the era, the shorty Mustang was scheduled to be scrapped after its promotional days ended. Gardner stole the vehicle to save it, and even though it was found by the police some six months later, it eventually went into private hands. In 2015, the one-off build went under the hammer for a whopping $511,500.

The Mustang isn't a popular choice when it comes to shorty conversions, though. That award would have to go to the Chevrolet Tri-Five. Not exactly surprising given that Chevy built about five million units from 1955 to 1957 and most of them are rotting away in junkyards. The Tri-Five is so common it's the vehicle of choice for just about any type of build, ranging from dragsters to monster trucks.

I've seen quite a few shorty Tri-Fives in recent years. Most of them were awful projects put together in a hurry, but some looked like nicely restored vehicles missing a few inches from the wheelbase. The one you see here courtesy of YouTube's "Corner Classic Car Hunter" is a fully-fledged hot rod.

The vehicle is flawless as far as fit and finish goes, and it's wearing a custom paint job that mimics decade-old patina. The latter was likely achieved by leaving the primer show through the blue paint, but the glossy finish is a nice touch. Most of the chrome trim was also shaved for a sleeker look.

But the really cool thing about this build is the massive mill hiding under the hood. Well, "hiding" might not be the best word here since the upper section of the engine is ostentatiously popping through the lid. But you still need to peek in the bay to notice that this big-block displaces a whopping 502 cubic inches (8.2 liters).

The lump spins the wheels through a 400 Turbo transmission, and even though there's no word on output, this Tri-Five likely hits the asphalt with more than 600 horsepower. And I bet it covers the quarter-mile quicker than a modern muscle car. It's arguably the coolest shorty I've seen in a very long time.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea profile photo

Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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