640bhp hot rod 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air Custom

640bhp hot rod 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air Custom

Retro Designs’ 1954 Chevy Bel Air modernises the best of Fifties Americana with 640bhp hot rod…

Words and photography: IBP Media

Chevrolet Bel Air

Led by Daniel Valjevac, one of North America’s most accomplished classic car specialists, North Carolina’s Retro Designs is renowned for reinventing America’s most iconic automobiles by bringing them roaring back to life with modern engineering and subtle styling touches. Retro Designs’ newest creation is a perfectly restored 1954 Chevy Bel Air made for cruising the modern road with the coupe’s quintessentially Fifties-era styling aesthetic. General manager Daniel explained: “Over the Bel-Air’s 25-year production run, the Chevy model had several different iterations. “Retro Designs wanted to reimagine a coupe from the first generation, so our production team focused on finding and restoring this 1954 model.

640bhp hot rod 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air Custom

“The Chevy Bel Air presented an interesting challenge. We wanted to preserve the integrity of the original design and not lean into anything outlandish. Our goal was a sharp, crisp restoration of the car while subtly re-engineering almost every facet of the automobile to make a hot rod suitable for today.”

640bhp hot rod 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air Custom

A powerful LT4 640 horsepower engine instantly gives this Retro Designs Bel Air hot rod status, with a custom cold air intake alongside an ATI 9.17 lower pulley and balancer. Further performance is provided by a Billet Specialties front drive system and Ultimate headers. Valjevac engineered the Bel Air to sit on a custom Scott’s Hotrods chassis with a special Ridetech Air Ride suspension for well-mannered driving.

640bhp hot rod 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air Custom

Featuring a restoration that took thousands of hours at the company’s brand-new 28,000sq ft Harrisburg shop (a suburb of Charlotte, North Carolina) Retro Designs channelled the rear of the 1954 hot rod exterior almost imperceptibly for a sharper silhouette. The Retro Designs Chevy Bel Air incorporates an 8L90 transmission with a silky-smooth Lokar shifter. For comfortable stopping, the Retro Designs Bel Air features stout Wilwood four-wheel disc brakes on a set of Boze custom billet wheels with specially fabricated wheel tubs. The front of the car sits on Michelin 245/35/20 Sport Cup tyres while Retro Designs included wider 345/30/20 Michelin Pilot Sport Cups on the rear for improved traction.

To provide ground clearance for the lowprofile ride, Retro Designs fabricated a specially made oval ss exhaust. The 1954 Bel Air includes a new TANKS fuel system and features an American Autowire harness for supporting all electrical systems.

Period-correct Dakota Digital gauges and entertainment, provided via a Rockford Fosgate controlled by a 400-watt four-channel AMP, make sure every part of the Bel Air remains classically inspired.

The Bel Air custom features a cool blue two-tone paint job via Axalta. Retro Designs employed multiple artisans to restore and upgrade the cabin interior, a task which took hundreds of hours of painstaking work.

The 1954 Retro Designs Chevy Bel Air is priced at $350,000. For more information on Retro Designs, visit retrodesignsnc.com or call (001) 704-721-0835.


8L90 transmission with Lokar shifter. Door integrated speakers. Dakota Digital gauges really look the business. You better like white! Tilt steering too! Boze custom billet wheels hide Wilwood four wheel disc brakes.

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