One Radical ’57 Chevy..”Chezoom”
In all of automotive history, only a handful of cars have become loved both for their original appearance, and for the wealth of possibilities they offer for hot rod builders. The 1957 Chevrolet is a major example. Few other designs handled the tailfin concept as well, and perhaps no other car showed how subtly an essentially boxy profile could be transformed by a nip in the beltline, and a slight forward thrust to match the visual launch provided by the fins. When Thom Taylor sketched his idea for a this ’57 Chevy, he must have been thinking of how those basic design notes could be accentuated without crossing the line into out-and-out caricature, and he walked that fine line with remarkable success.
But it took Boyd Coddington, with prompting from his friend Joe Hrudka, to translate Taylor’s ideas into rolling art. Boyd started with a stock ’57 Bel-Air two -door hardtop, stripped and dropped onto a custom tubular chassis in order to accommodate a roofline that would be slung down and tapered to a near-fastback profile. Beginning at a windshield taken from a ’78 Chrysler Cordoba and ending with an upside-down rear window from a Ford EXP. Other body modifications include an upward rotation of the rear quarters, designed to lift the fins, and a re-forming of the front fenders that left only the headlight buckets and wheel openings intact. The hood is a custom fabrication, eliminating the dual “gun sights”. In all, only about 10 percent of the original body survived the transformation into a hot rod that looks ready to attack. Despite those Ford and Chrysler contributions to Chezoom, it’s still all Chevy via its heavy dependence on Corvette mechanicals. The engine is a fuel-injected 300 hp 1992 ‘Vette LTl, mated with a Chevy 700R4 automatic transmission. Corvette’s strong presence carries through in the brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, differential, and front and rear suspension. Jack Garrison put the gray leather upholstery on the Cerullo seats, along with the matching tweed carpeting. Keith Russell’s teal pearl paint job serves as an ideal foil for the silver fluting on the fins, and the whole package rides on a set of Boyd Coddington 17-inch custom wheels. Chezoom debuted to an awesome acclaim at the 1992 SEMA show in Las Vegas. Over the years, Chezoom has appeared on the cover of Hot Rod Magazine and hundreds of other enthusiast publications. Chezoom has been produced as a die cast car in several sizes and as a model kit.
- BODY: 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air, two-door hardtop
- CHASSIS: Custom
- ENGINE: 1992 Corvette LT I; 300 hp
- TRANSMISSION: GM 700R4; Hurst shifter
- WHEELS: Boyd Coddington custom aluminum 17″ front and rear; Goodyear
- Eagle SC tires
- REAR END: Corvette; 3:07: I differential
- REAR SUSPENSION: 1985 Corvette IRS
- FRONT SUSPENSION: Corvette rack-and pinion steering; Koni shocks
- BRAKES: Corvette 4-wheel disc