It’d be tough to find an engine compartment more sanitary than the one under the hood of Steve’s ’54. The custom firewall and inner fenders surround a well-detailed ’74 Chevy small-block. T A’s Automotive Machine near Gadsden, Alabama, did the machining on the engine, assembled by Jimmy Posey at Big Oak Garage. A Street Demon 650 carburetor feeds an Edelbrock manifold and is topped by a Big Oak Garage custom air cleaner. The exhaust system—from headers to mufflers—is stainless. Valve covers came from Clayton Machine Works. The 350 is matched to a TH350 automatic assembled by Frost Transmission in Rainbow City, Alabama.
The Chevy rolls low over a complete custom chassis, provided by Street Rod Garage in Grant, Alabama. Modifications done there include stretching the wheelbase 11⁄2 inches and fabricating an independent suspension for the frontend. A new Ford 9-inch, loaded with a 3.73:1 gear and equipped with limited slip, hangs on a triangulated four-link suspension. Both ends of the chassis were beefed up with QA1 coilovers and heavy-duty antiroll bars to enhance handling.
Upgraded wheels and tires go a long way to improving the ride too—not to mention the appearance. The aluminum five-spokes are 20x10s and 18x8s, and are from Schott Wheels’ Americana Series. They straddle the line between classic and contemporary and fill the wheelwells just right. The tires are low-profile 295/40R20 and 245/40R18 Yokohamas. With Wilwood 13-inch disc brakes added front and rear, Steve never has a problem stopping.
The Chevy came out of the Big Oak Garage paint booth finished in PPG Toreador Red, shot by Barry Alford. It wasn’t long after that Steve’s ’54 Chevy made its impression on Bobby Alloway and many other enthusiasts in Nashville—and not long after that the photos for this feature story were taken. Maybe the next goal should be to wear out the odometer gears—and there’s only one way to do that. … CCT