Bob and Anne Donovan #10107849
Photography by Jim Knight
My love of '57 Chevrolets began when I was sixteen. My friend, Manny Congemmi, who lived on my street in Astoria (Queens/NYC) had two '57 Chevy's - one that he drove and one that he raced at a Long Island drag strip. In 1994 I purchased a turquoise '57 Chevy Bel Air; it was a restored original with a few minor problems. In 1995 my son Scott and I were looking in the flea market area of a swap meet for a used power steering pump for the turquoise '57. We were speaking with one of the venders, when this purple '57 Chevy drove up and parked close to us. The owner, Tom Hewett, put a for sale sign on the windshield. Fifteen minutes later I struck a deal with him: now I was the proud owner of two '57 Chevy’s: a Bel Air and a 210, both two-door hardtops.
This purple hardtop was driven several years before the 327ci engine was replaced with a 350ci ZZ4 block. I next had a custom dash installed by Kermit Shindledecker of Kerm’s Auto in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Then in 2003 I decided to install a 502 Ram Jet motor. That's when the changes started snowballing - one change led to another, my latest modification was completed in September 2005.
The engine was ordered through Street and Performance in Mena, Arkansas. While visiting there, the decision was made to have Street and Performance chrome all possible engine parts.
The chassis was built by Art Morrison in Fife, Washington. Here we reviewed the order for suspension, steering, brakes and exhaust systems.
We looked at many new designs at Cragar Wheels in Carlisle, California. However, I still preferred the look of their Cragar SS wheels.
The interior and trunk area was completed by Dan Dean of Dean Upholstery in Pipersville, Pennsylvania. My wife, Anne, suggested we use Volvo bucket seats since we knew they were comfortable. The front seats are 6-way power bucket seats with seat heaters.