BBT Fabrications Does The Unexpected With This Incredible Bare-Metal Cruiser
By Brian Brennan – Photography By Author
It’s the 2024 Barrett-Jackson Auction and while we have come to expect the unexpected this year’s event has once again delivered. Each day of this week we have revealed a new Top Five finalist for the BJ Cup. This is the fifth of the five finalists, and it truly sets a standard. The bare-metal finish ’59 Chevy Impala is owned by Eugene Bothello and was skillfully constructed at BBT Fabrications (Mahomet, IL) under the perceptive eye of Troy Gudgel.
There is no doubt many spectators have walked by and asked, “Why isn’t it painted.” Fair question but Troy intended to show the hot rod world just how many great ideas, how much workmanship, and attention to detail lies under the “skin.”
We are sure many of us have thought to ourselves or have heard a buddy say, “I sure would like to have seen this car before it was painted and upholstered.” Why? Because that’s where all the countless hours and effort are wrapped up and then covered over.
Even the judges (Bobby Alloway of Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop and Troy Trepanier of Rad Rides by Troy) were at first taken back. But then it all made sense as the two of them had the proverbial “mile-wide” smile on their faces. They saw and understood and realized what a great teaching moment for those of us who don’t normally get to see what lies beneath paint and upholstery. Looking at the exposed craftsmanship these two judges, and foremost builders, can truly appreciate the effort put forth building this ’59 Chevy Impala. Now, we don’t know who will win the Barrett-Jackson Cup, which takes place this Saturday on the main stage in front of thousands and a large television audience, but we will find out simultaneously.
The ’59 Chevy Impala is part of the “Castrol: Path to Performance” YouTube series allowing all to see just went into building this Chevy. It is powered by an LT1 combined with an eight-speed transmission with both functioning as one through a Speartech wiring harness.
From here the all-metal masterpiece rests on a Roadster Shop Revo chassis with LS Manufacturing six-piston calipers coupled with 16-inch rotors (wow). This is something we would expect to find on a performance-minded full-size pickup. The wheels are one-of-a-kind Forgeline.
Specifically for the Barrett-Jackson Cup showing the ’59 Chevy Impala while without a formal interior does feature a minimalist approach by Catos Custom Upholstery. Maroon leather seat inserts and center console pad provide contrast through a splash of color to the otherwise all-metal finish. After looking at the spartan use of upholstery one is almost overcome with sensory overload through the abundance of both interior and exterior custom-machined parts. Included among the hand-fabricated components are the custom-built windshield and side trim along with the front and rear bumpers that are tucked in tightly to the body.
Time will tell and we will soon see who takes home the 2024 Barret-Jackson Cup. Be ready for Saturday afternoon. MR