Bill Collopy’s 1955 Chevy Bel Air Convertible “Modern Nostalgia”

- in Cars

With body work completed, the car received its signature paint job. The color combination is a Dupont paint custom blend Red and Beige that brilliantly executes the “modern nostalgia” approach to the build. Stepping outside the OEM color combinations is always a risk on these cars. However, Bill and Nostalgic Auto Body hit the paint charts out of the park with the fashionable Red and Beige two-tone paint with beige fabric convertible top.

1955 Chevy Bel Air convertible Modern Nostalgia front left
The dynamic exterior color combination is carried through to the interior, making this Bel Air an outstanding unified package. Bill called on Dave and Sally Schober at Schober’s Custom Hot Rod Interiors in Sandwich, Illinois, to handle the interior design. Custom color-coordinated bench seats, carpeting, door panels, and trim were all perfectly matched to the exterior hues. Modern conveniences include ididit tilt column, hidden stereo system, and Classic Instruments analog gauges nestled perfectly in the factory-style dashboard.


The engine compartment sparkles like fine jewelry. Billet parts, polished components, expert paint work, smoothed firewall, and attention to detail make this area a standout. Cleverly blending show car detailing with serious performance, the 383 Chevy develops 485 horsepower.

1955 Chevy Bel Air convertible Modern Nostalgia 383 cu in engine
Chuck Barnes and Paul Crites at Barnes Automotive in Arlington Heights, Illinois, handled the mechanical work, including the installation of the Kinsler fuel injection system. The Ingelese induction system blends the old “stacks” look with contemporary performance and reliability benefits. The Billet Specialties Tru Trac accessory drive and a Be Cool Extreme Module cooling system signal the effort made to make this car a showcase for modern technology.


All of the 485 horsepower is sent to the tires via a 700R4 four-speed automatic transmission and a 2,500 rpm stall speed converter. The 12-bolt Posi rear spins 3.73 gears and is suspended by GM heavy-duty leaf springs. Front suspension features coilovers with Heidts tubular control arms and two-inch drop spindles. The stance is modern without taking anything away from the classic overall look of the ‘55.

1955 Chevy Bel Air convertible interior
Rolling stock consists of staggered 18-inch Nitto NT 555 Extreme ZR tires, complemented by Billet Specialties Turbine wheels. CPP provides the updated 14:1 ratio power steering box, while SSBC brightens up the smoothed firewall with a polished master cylinder and brake booster. Wilwood four-wheel disc brakes bring the package safely to a halt and inspire confidence. The entire drivetrain package provides the perfect compromise between acceleration, handling, and long-haul driving pleasure.




Building a car right is a matter of doing the entire package. In the case of Bill’s modern nostalgia ’55 Bel Air, the brush has been wielded with masterful results. With a heavy reliance on nostalgia, this ’55 Chevy convertible is an up-to-the-minute, rolling masterpiece of modern history.

1955 Chevy Bel Air convertible rear left


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