Have you been to the Car Craft Summer Nationals lately? If not, you're missing great cars like Scott Kinney's '56 Chevy. We found it at the center of a giant group of gapers on the main drag at the Minnesota Fairgrounds in St. Paul. We were digging the well-worn paint and barn-fresh interior when someone popped the hood and showed us the LS swap.
"This car sat out in Sunnyvale, California, since the '60s and hadn't been licensed since 1978," Scott says. "It was an original body with no drivetrain." Scott had Tri-Fives before, along with LS1 Camaros, a GTO, and a '71 Nova with an LS swap, so he knew what he was looking for. The '56 sedan with the black-and-white color scheme was his favorite.
He shipped the car to his home in Iowa where it was prepped for the swap. The LS1 and six-speed came from a wrecked '01 WS6 Trans Am Scott found on the Internet. The original owners of the '56 had cleaned and painted the firewall, the frame, and the areas under the hood, but that is where they stopped. Scott picked up the ball and finished the job.
He drives the car 300 miles each summer to the CCSN in St. Paul and every time the sun is out. This summer he plans to attend the Hot Rod Power Tour(r) and make a return trip to Minnesota for the '10 CCSN show. If you see him there, say hello.
Who: Scott Kinney
'56 Chevy Bel Air
Where: Altoona, IA
Engine: The engine is a 5.7L from a crashed '01 WS6 Trans Am. It is stock except for a Texas Speed Magic Stick 3 cam with 237/242 duration at 0.050 and 0.603/0.609 lift and Patriot valvesprings.
Swap stuff: The motor mounts are the standard small-block side-mount style from Danchuk with a plate that moves the mounting holes from the LS position to the stock position. The oil pan is from an '03 GM truck that works with the stock '56 crossmember after the engine was raised an inch. The front accessory drive uses an alternator only and the stock F-body FEAD components. The fenderwell headers are designed for a traditional small-block. The flanges were cut off and rewelded along with a couple of new bends. The color is from a rattle can of VHT header paint.
Engine control: The MAF system is controlled by a stock harness modified by Blake at 417 Motorsports in Springfield, Missouri. The computer was sent to Texas Speed and dialed in using LS Edit software. The computer controls the SPAL electric fan mounted on the stock radiator.
Trans: The engine came with a Trans Am six-speed already attached. Scott uses the stock clutch. The driveshaft was made by Certified Powertrain out of Des Moines.
Rearend: Someone had already swapped in a Chevy 12-bolt with a 4.10:1 gearset and a limited slip, so Scott just left that alone.
Brakes: The master cylinder is from Strange and controls stock drum brakes that have been rebuilt with all-new parts, including the brake lines.
Interior: The seats are from a '64 Impala SS with the original upholstery. The steering wheel is from a '60 Impala, a trick guys used to perform in the '60s because the flow of the steering wheel matched the dash. When we shot this photo, Scott was using an Auto Meter tach because there were no old-style Sun Tachs that would work with the LS1 computer. Since then, Sun has come out with an old-style tach that works, so Scott swapped that in. The shifter is the stock Hurst from the WS6 Trans Am with a chrome shift handle added. The carpet is by Krylon.
Wheels/Tires: The front wheels are Rocket Racing 15x4s with Guardian bias-ply F78-15s, and the rears are 15x7 GM steelies with 28x8.5-15 Hurst Pie Crust cheater slicks supplied by Adams Hot Rod Rubber in Oregon.