BP Racing Punches Through the Masses with a Nasty Tri-Five Pro Street Build

By Scotty Lachenauer   –   Photography by the Author

It’s been said that “power is the great aphrodisiac.” If that statement holds true, then I guess that’s the reason why we’re all head over heels in love with this radically charged up ’55 Chevy Bel Air, built by legendary Long Island fabricator Billy Pedus of BP Racing in Deer Park, New York. This colossal Tri-Five spreads joy by way of a nitrous-induced 632ci Pat Musi–built Chevy big-block underhood showering its admirers with a heart palpitating 1,800 hp.

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03 Side view of a grey classic car with chrome finishes and racing tires near a brick building

Read More: Gasser Style 1957 Chevy Bel Air

This needy Chevy first came to Pedus by way of one of his best clients, Wayne Moomjian out of Fort Myers, Florida. “Wayne has had this car for about 10 years now and it had been built into a restomod street cruiser. Now he wanted to take it to the next level, so he shipped it up here to Long Island for its transformation into a full chromoly chassis, big-block, big-tire, pavement scorcher,” Pedus states.

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05 Rear view of a drag ready classic car with parachute and detailed chrome accents

Once the ’55 hit BP Racing’s garage floor, the work started. “I basically cut out the whole underside of the Chevy and just used the body,” Pedus says. “Everything else was tossed away. A custom chassis was fabricated right here at the shop from scratch. What you see here is a vintage body on top of a brand-new, freshly engineered chassis and drivetrain.”

Pedus built the chassis the way he envisioned. For the front end, he used a first-generation Camaro round-tube Smith Racecraft front clip that he cut and modified. He then added it to the BP Racing 25.2 NHRA-certified chromoly tube chassis designed and built specifically for this ’55. Next, Pedus fabbed up a set of removable driveshaft and transmission tunnels to help make this Chevy quarter-mile compliant.

02 Grey vintage car with sleek body and modified engine parked beside a brick wall

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The front suspension consists of the BP Racing tube chassis along with a pair of Menscer drag shocks, TRZ upper and lower control arms, and a manual rack-and-pinion steering system. Out back, Pedus went with his BP Racing back-half tube chassis constructed with a four-link and a BP Racing wishbone locator, Menscer shocks, and a severe-duty antiroll bar. Racepak shock sensors are installed fore and aft. A BP Racing sheetmetal 9-inch rearend housing stuffed with 4.30 gears and 40-spline, gun-drilled axles gets the power to the pavement. Front and rear TBM disc brakes do their best to stop this behemoth on a dime.

07 Detailed view of a high performance car engine with multiple carburetors and complex plumbing

The big-block is set up with most of the goodies you’d expect from Musi. It starts with a Dart tall-deck block stuffed with a Callies crank and Diamond pistons. It’s topped with a set of Edelbrock CNC Big Victor 12-degree heads. The combination makes a hefty 14:1 compression. Next, a 1,600-cfm APD 4500 series billet carburetor bolted on top of an Edelbrock Big Victor CNC intake feeds this mill the go-juice it craves. Add in the Switzer wet fogger nitrous system and this ride turns into one straight-line menace. An M&M three-speed Turbo 400 gets this ride through the gears. Tuning was done by Dave Kogan at Kogan Motorsports in Island Park, New York.

08 Close up of a car engine featuring advanced fuel management systems and mechanical components

Read More: Tom Schauppner’s ’56 Chevy Bel Air

Pedus continued to make modifications, including smoothing the original firewall before transplanting the new drivetrain. He also added 40-inch custom carbon-fiber tubs out back in preparation for the monster meats. Knowing he’d want this ride to cut the air and look good doing it, Pedus fabricated custom belly pans for the entire length of the car. He also constructed and installed the wild 75-inch wheelie bars out back.

15 Close up of a modern racing wheel with detailed brake system and high performance tires

Mike Pollaro from Diamond Collision in nearby Amityville, New York, cleaned up the bodywork and laid down a combination of silver and gray hues. Pedus finished off the look with a set of RC Components wheels shod in Hoosier Drag tires up front and Hoosier 33x15x15 slicks out back.

10 Interior of a classic car modified for racing with roll cage and racing controls

The interior is all business, and that business is going fast. Carpet and carbon-fiber accents make up the majority of the cockpit, which is encased in a chromoly ’cage. An M&M billet shifter sits between the Kirkey seats and gets this beast through the gears. The factory dash was modified to match the contours of the Racepak gauge for an appropriate integration. Pedus followed up by fabricating a custom steering column to fit in the stock location, then custom wired the entire car, keeping all the necessities like lights, blinkers, and horn functional for street-driving purposes.

14 View of a manual racing shifter with detailed branding in a classic car
After completing the project, Pedus summarizes the construction as follows: “The car leans toward the radical side yet remains suitable for street driving to local shows and cruise spots. However, it possesses abundant power for those instances when it’s time to unleash the beast.”

TECH:
OWNER: Wayne Moomjian, Fort Meyers, Florida
VEHICLE: ’55 Chevy Bel Air

ENGINE
TYPE: Chevy big-block
BLOCK: Dart 10.2 tall deck
DISPLACEMENT: 632 ci
COMPRESSION RATIO: 14:1
BORE: 4.600 inches
STROKE: 4.750 inches
CYLINDER HEADS: Edelbrock CNC Big Victor 12 degree
ROTATING ASSEMBLY: Callies Billet Crank, Diamond Pistons
CAMSHAFT: 60mm Musi Spec nitrous grind billet
INDUCTION: 1,600-cfm APD 4500 series billet carb with Switzer wet fogger nitrous system
IGNITION: MSD grid with V300 Racepak data logger
EXHAUST: 2.5-inch primary tubes feeding 4.5-inch merge collectors into Burns 4.5 mufflers (side fender exit)
OUTPUT (at crank): 1,250 hp N/A, 1,800 hp on nitrous
TUNING: Dave Kogan at Kogan Motorsports (Island Park, NY)

DRIVETRAIN
TRANSMISSION: M&M Turbo 400 with dump valve and billet two-piece converter
REAR: BP Racing sheetmetal 9-inch with 4.30 gears

CHASSIS
FRONT SUSPENSION: BP Racing tube chassis, Menscer shocks, TRZ upper and lower A-arms, manual rack-and-pinion
REAR SUSPENSION: BP Racing tube back-half, four-link, BP Racing wishbone locator, antiroll bar, Menscer shocks
BRAKES: TBM disc front and rear

WHEELS & TIRES
WHEELS: RC Components 17×4 front 15×15 rear
TIRES: Hoosier 26×4.5 front, Hoosier 33x15X15 rear

INTERIOR
UPHOLSTERY: Carpet and carbon fiber
SEATS: Kirkey 17-inch race seats
STEERING: BP Racing column
SHIFTER: M&M billet shifter with Air Shift
ROLLCAGE: BP Racing 25.2 chromoly

EXTERIOR
BODYWORK: Diamond Collision
PAINT: Silver and Gray
PAINTER: Mike Pollaro, Diamond Collision
HOOD: 4-inch Glasstek
BUMPERS: Stock

Click on this issue’s cover to see the enhanced digital version of BP Racing Punches Through the Masses with a Nasty Tri-Five Pro Street Build.acp may 2024

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