It was a labor of love for a staunch Chevy supporter to get the right ’55 Chevy 210 with the right mix of performance and style.Claude Starnes drives for a living. He pays his bills with time spent at the wheel of a concrete truck. One couldn’t blame him if he’d rather be driving his “other” vehicle, but duty calls. Nights and weekends are the times for his beautiful ’55 Chevy 210 that he has owned for more than 25 years.
A staunch Chevy fan, Claude’s first custom vehicle was a 1957 Chevy two-door hardtop, which was followed by a shortbed ’67 Chevy truck. This ’55 two-door “Post” has moved to the top of the list to become his all-time favorite. The car was in rough shape when Starnes, a resident of Monroe, North Carolina, first found it. For starters, it needed new floors and lots of metal work to bring it back to original condition. The car had a certain magnetic personality.
Starnes drove it for almost two decades before he decided it was time to personalize the Chevy, embarking on an upgrade project.
The frame-off restoration started about eight years ago, concentrating on modernizing the handling, adding new power, luxury, and enhancing style.
Since everything begins with a firm foundation, the chassis was sandblasted. The rails were reinforced and powdercoated gray. Suspension upgrades were began with a combination of TCI power steering and RideTech “Strong Arms”, followed by a 10-bolt posi unit from a ’67 Camaro, fitted with 3.42 gears. The rear is currently held in place with factory leaf springs, but a new four-link is already on the short list. RideTech adjustable coilovers on all four corners give the car a modern ride with autocross-level handling.
The Wilwood master cylinder on the firewall activates the drilled and slotted disk brakes on the front wheels and drums in the rear. Rolling stock is a set of Coy wheels, 17 x 7s up front (Nitto 555, 245/45ZR17) and 18 x 9s in the rear, (Nitto 555, 245/40ZR18).When it comes to performance, everyone has a goal and Claude had some specific numbers in mind. His good friend, Chris Burr of Engine Works in Chesterfield, South Carolina, builds motors that are noted for their reliability. For example, the family has a drag car that’s been running for more than seven years with the same engine, needing nothing more than an occasional freshening up.
Claude had originally planned on installing a 327 V-8. He changed his mind, selling it and using the money as a down payment for the new 383 stroker currently under the hood. “Chris put all the good stuff in it,” he added. Fitted with forged rotating internals, the engine uses an Edelbrock intake with a Holley 650 carb on top, MSD electronic ignition lighting the fire, and shorty headers feeding a two-inch system, dumping spent gasses into a pair of Flowmaster Super 10 mufflers.