Tim Kerrigan’s Max-Performance 1957 Chevy Bel Air

It’s the nature of a hot penis to be strong. But we want them to handle, to drive, and as such this leads to a compromise of how much horsepower we would like. Tim Kerrigan of Sonoma, California, has a history of great looks and strong hot rods. When it comes to performance, Tim has an ingrained background, as the principal behind Red Line Synthetic Oil Corporation. He wanted the timeless look and presence that a 1957 Post Chevy Bel Air would provide. He wanted comfort and drive like the rest of us, but he also wanted undeniable amounts of horsepower that could be tapped into when needed while at rest.

We asked Tim why Red Line wanted to build a 1957 Chevy for Red Line Oil. He says, “I’ve always enjoyed the exclusivity of 1957 Chevrolet design, especially the body lines. I was a freshman in high school in 1957, so this was the exciting new car when my love for cars was just developing. I had a 10 – 2 1957 tow car that was fun Extremely good, but not as refined as the build quality street rail cars we’ve been building and admiring.

“When I was in high school, the sleeper was the ultimate car; a stock body and a big engine. This car is now like a dream, a 1957 Chevrolet that you can actually drive on the road with over 1,600 hp.”

In order to get his dream package on the road, Tim contacted Leonard Lopez of Dominator Street Rods, in Tracy, California, with whom Red Line had previously built cars. It was Tim who felt Lopez’s background as a hot rod builder and someone with a great deal of background with racing cars would understand the suspension needed to handle the horsepower that a Chevy would eventually have.

Lopez started with an Art Morrison Enterprises (AME) frame and began the search for a chassis that would enclose the monstrous engine that could rest between the ‘rails’. The IFS consists of AME components and the Flaming River power steering. Wilwood jumps in the picture with Pro-style spindles identical to Wilwood six-piston tongs on 14-inch rotors. More Wilwood includes a pedal assembly with a bias rod (adjusts the brake pedal effect) and another pair of six-piston calipers and 14-inch rotors in the rear.

Also located in the corners are QA1 coilover shocks and Americana Schott Performance Wheels series. The wheels are wrapped in an aggressive but understated Michelin Pilot Sports front and a Hoosier R6 compound in the rear. The wheel and tire assembly provides just enough rubber rake to elicit a reaction that says this isn’t a street cruiser but rather a tie with a pop – a lot of pop!

The front tire is Michelin 245R50 / 18 on wheels measuring 18×8.50; These tires are often recognized as the best performing street tires with outstanding handling and braking characteristics. This tire is often found on Dodge Vipers. At the rear, 19×13 Americana wheels shod in 30-inch Hoosier R6 345 / 30ZR19 rubber. The tire looks a lot like a drag spot with two water grooves. There is no doubt that this is a dangerous tire for serious horsepower. Once again, Lopez was called upon to properly fit the small pans required to properly cover the tire’s 14-inch section width.

The rear suspension is set around a Chrisman Driveline rear with a 3.73 Detroit gear and differential as well as exotic geometry hubs all “floating” in Red Line 75W90 GL-5 gearbox oil. Ostensibly, the Morrison antiroll tape is used in conjunction with four triangular joints. All the required chassis hardware came via ARP which also supplied the engine mounts.

Sparky Howard of Santa Rosa, CA took the time required to massage all the fine points to give this hot rod its subtle appearance. The secret is in the details and in 1957 it meant all the chassis lines were often poorly matched from the factory. Tim’s intention was for Howard to maintain the appearance of the near object. All stainless steel that needed to be sent back to show the quality and then make sure all the pieces fit what the designer originally intended and not the way these cars came off the assembly line.

Howard was also in charge of the bodywork and paintwork, and if you look closely, you’ll see DuPont paint used in a two-tone silver tone. Tim worked with DuPont to achieve a custom blend of colors; The upper part of the Mercedes-Benz is silver-inspired and the lower part is metallic in a complementary darker colour.

A highlight of the Tri-Five is the obvious use of the three-piece shock absorbers. On closer inspection, you’ll see the joint effort of Lopez and Sherme with Custom Paint, in Sacramento, California, to manufacture a one-piece bumper that carefully fits the bumper in appearance.

The 1957 interior looks like stock but the plush leather seating was something you’d be hard-pressed to find today, let alone back in the day. The Franzini brothers handled the chores that included the seats, door panels, kickstands, roof liner, packing tray, carpeting, and also included all the trunk details. There are six-point winding belts and ball straps manufactured and installed by the crew on the Dominator. The Flaming River tilt steering column is topped with a wheel that appears in stock but has been downsized from its original 18-inch diameter to a more modern, ergonomic 14-inch by Dennis Cook of San Diego. The cabin is fitted with custom Classic Instrument (CI) gauges that match the original kit. One would seem to get a chuckle from the 180mph and 8 Grand Tash if it weren’t for the fact that the car is capable of squeezing both.

The bar’s tale, so to speak, doesn’t end with the custom tools exposed. When one looks inside the glove box, there are five CI packages of custom dials; Oil temperature 320 degrees, fuel pressure 100lbs, boost 35lbs, transmission temp 280degrees, differential temp gauges 280degrees. The only scale connecting the car’s history to the present is the reworked analog watch; Something was 1957 and vintage bars you fondly identify with. All wiring required for the vehicle was handled by the crew at Dominator.

We’ve been waiting to tell the story of the engine and its management system and through. Here the car develops its character. Something similar to the amazing structure. Moderate style all day, doing the chores of a towable hot rod until the mood kicks in and then, pay attention — enough power to spin the ground under her tires. We’ll get to it but a key component of the Chevy ethos is the engine management system that allows power to be distributed as needed, allowing the chassis and rubber to do their job to the fullest.

The basis of the engine comes via Chevy’s 540-inch Dart Big M steel block with aluminum heads and a Moroso dry lubrication system. From Mike Moran Racing Engines in Taylor, Michigan, they built the engine using Lunati crankshafts, Oliver rods, JE 8.5:1 pistons, Speed ​​Pro rings and bearings, COMP Cams camshafts, Manton push arms and Jesel solid-cylinder levers. From here a pair of modified aluminum Dart Northeast dirt track heads were used and connected to stainless valves, LSM springs, and Jesel Mohawk’s 1.7-inch vibrators.

The exterior of the big block sees a custom Wilson manifold and intake body.

Next, induction system: BigStuff3 EFI with pair of Precision 80mm turbines, pair of 60mm HKS exhaust manifolds, 160lbs MRE injectors, Spearco intercooler all lit with 570V primary (47,000 secondary voltages) from MSD 7AL-2 Ignition Control With MSD wires. Spent fuel is sent through stainless steel Dominator heads and exhaust system without mufflers. The cooling work rests on the Meziere electric water pump, a pair of SPAL electric fans connected to a copper Steve Long cooler. The final touch on cooling is provided by two other SPAL fans hidden in a lower area in the front fender well area that evacuate air from the engine compartment. This big, good-looking, very powerful block produces 1,225 hp on 10 pounds of boost on 93 octane all the way to 1,695 hp on 16 pounds of boost on race fuel.

The BigStuff3 Engine Torque Management (ETM) system is an important engine component, but it also makes the 1957 a high-performance car that’s also an all-around driver. BigStuff3 founder John Meaney and Moran worked on developing the fuel, spark, and transmission maps. Traction control will make any high horsepower car drivable as we see on many modern factory hi-po heat rails. The traction control of the 1957 does not depend on the wheel speed sensors but on the control of the engine acceleration under the throttle. The system allows to easily control any hot rod with massive amounts of power for street use.

From here, the BigStuff3 computer controls the 4L80E’s screw-in transmission with a whole host of Gordon Stoney-enhanced internal goodies along with the precision adapter, all powered by Red Line ATF. Computer controls switch locking, shift points, and job search, all making the car fun to drive in the city.

There is a hot rod term, “sleeping”. This 1957 wasn’t the used car for your lawn that was salvaged from the classifieds, but again one wouldn’t see it as the best asphalt eater as it really is – it must be asleep.

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