"What big teeth you have, grandmother!"
Little Red Riding Hood had no idea what she was getting into. Sleepersare like the predatory wolf wearing grandma's duds, disguised as abenign being. What is it about sleepers that we really like? Is it theability to sneak around under the radar without raising eyebrows? Or isit the shock produced by whipping high-profile cars at their own game?Whatever the reason, sleepers are just plain cool. Drive one and you'llbe noticed by only the most observant. Even the cops ignore you--whichin itself should be good enough reason to build one. Ron Lynch's '65 BelAir fits neatly into the sleeper category, from its unmodified exteriorto its 500-plus-inch Rat motor. What big teeth grandma has indeed.
Ron purchased the '65 in the spring of 2001 after answering a classifiedad on the internet. The ad stated falsely that the Bel Air had 20,000original miles. Turns out it had 22,000 miles! The body and interiorwere so good that they required minimal attention to perfect. Aside fromthe body side moldings and sill plates, the trim, emblems, grille, andbumpers are as they left the factory. Ron simply polished the stainlessand cleaned everything else. He then had the body resprayed at a localbody shop in its original hue--black. The interior was bolstered withaftermarket gauges, and the Sony CD player was hidden out of view as theBel Air is an original radio-delete car. Ron fabricated a shifter towork with the aftermarket manual trans.
Originally equipped with a 230-inch six-banger and a three-speed manualtrans (on the tree), Ron gave his Bel Air the heart of a giant in theform of a Gen VI 502-cube big-block Chevy that he had taking up space inthe corner of his garage. The slightly used short-block was freshenedwith new rings, a new hydraulic roller cam, and GMPP aluminum heads andintake, and he topped it off with an 850 Holley. The three-speed justwouldn't cut it in this day and age where five- and six-speedtransmissions are the norm, not to mention the fact that it would havebeen reduced to shrapnel the first time the clutch was dropped, so Ronacquired a Tremec TKO II to back the potent big-block. The 0.83Overdrive makes cruising a sheer pleasure. A 12-bolt out of a '68 wagonwas modified by Currie Enterprises to complete the bulletproofdrivetrain, with 3.31 gears backing the grunt of the big Rat.
The Gen VI 502 short-block was sourced from GMPP. It was collecting dustin a corner of Ron
Ron made sure the exterior screamed stock by avoiding the temptation ofaftermarket wheels and other performance indicators. Now that it's done,Ron plans on some serious seat time. Not many will notice him, but helikes it like that.
So, if you're out prowling the streets, beware of this stock-appearingblack Bel Air and the hungry wolf hiding underneath.
Car Craft Q&A
Car Craft: Ron, were you out looking for a '65 Bel Air?
The all-original interior is impeccable. A radio-delete car from thefactory, Ron made sure
Ron Lynch: Actually I was looking for a '65 through '69fullsize sedan, but when there was talk about the state reinstating smogrequirements on '66-and-newer cars, it narrowed my search.
CC: Did you set out to build a sleeper?
RL: Yes, I did. It's amazing, but people don't payattention to it until I pull up to a stoplight. It looks stock, it sitsstock, and I only wish it had the original black license plates sopeople would think that I'm a leftover from the '60s! I planned theentire project out to the last detail before I even touched it. I builtthis car exactly as I envisioned it with the steel wheels and the stockride height. Visually, the only giveaway is the wider rear tire I used.
CC: What do you intend to do with it now that the BelAir is completed?
Ron promptly removed the 230ci six that occupied the space under thehood...
RL: Drive it and look for another car to build. Ireally enjoy building cars. It's my hobby. When I finish a car, I havenothing to do.
CC: What are you looking to build next?
RL: I don't really know. I guess whatever strikes myfancy. I'll probably build a midsize convertible like a Chevelle, ormaybe even a Cutlass or Skylark.
Car: '65 Chevy Bel Air
Engine: Chevy 502ci Gen VI
Heads: Aluminum, GMPP oval-port 2.25/1.88intake/exhaust valves
Induction: GMPP aluminum dual-plane intake, 850-cfmHolley carb
Camshaft: GMPP hydraulic roller, 224/234 degreesduration at 0.050-inch lift, 0.527/0.544-inch lift
..And replaced it with a built 502 big-block.
Power: 510 hp @ 5,200 rpm, 570 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm
Transmission: Tremec TKO II five-speed, Centerforce11-inch clutch
Rearend: Chevrolet 12-bolt, 3.31:1 gears, Currie C-clipeliminator kit, Eaton posi unit, Currie axles
Front suspension: '68 Impala lower control arms, '70Impala spindles, PST 11/8-inch sway bar, PST polygraphite bushings,Eaton springs, Delco gas shocks
Greg Coats of Gene's Muffler in Downey, California, fabricated thebeautiful exhaust system
Rear suspension: Stock, Eaton springs, vintage finnedtube shocks, Airlift airbags, GM sway bar, PST polygraphite bushings
Brakes: '69 Caprice discs, front; Ford Explorer discs,rear
Wheels and tires: 15x7 GM Rally wheels with BFGoodrichP225/70R15 Radial TAs fronts; 15x8 GM Rally wheels with BFGoodrichP275/60R15 Radial TAs, rear
Body mods: Stock with all factory trim
Paint: Black DuPont Croma One, by Hanson's Auto Craft,La Habra, CA
Best e.t.: Never raced
Cost to build: $26,578.28