Super fine 409 1963 Chevrolet Bel Air

Super fine 409 1963 Chevrolet Bel Air

Jordan Walker’s dream of running his own American car business morphed out of his auto electrical business. With cars like this 1963 Bel Air promo vehicle, he’s certainly flying the flag for classic Americans in the UK with his business venture… Words and photography: Matt Woods.


When your business revolves around selling and looking after classic American cars, it’s always a clever idea to have a promotional vehicle that attracts attention. And few could argue that a stunning 1963 Chevrolet Bel Air low-rider such as this would easily attract a crowd at any given opportunity. First spotted languishing unused in a driveway, the unloved Chevy has been transformed by the team at Ace American Autos in Leeds, who have worked their magic to make it the imposing cruiser it is today.

Super fine 409 1963 Chevrolet Bel Air

Jordan Walker is the owner and managing director of Ace American Autos, a business he started back in 2015: “I’ve always had a keen interest in classic and modified vehicles, especially those from America,” Jordan tells us. “It seemed a great idea to turn my hobby into a business.” While much of Jordan and his team’s work is focused inside their spacious Leeds-based Ace showroom and workshop, these guys are genuine enthusiasts and like to attend as many shows and meets as they can. “We had plenty of nice cars to choose from in our showroom, but we preferred the idea of displaying one that had our own stamp on it,” Jordan tells us, “it really needed to stand out from the crowd too.”

Super fine 409 1963 Chevrolet Bel Air

The options for a suitable promotional vehicle were vast, but it was Jordan’s employee Jake who first spotted a suitable candidate just a few doors away from where he lives. “I’d noticed a huge car under a cover on a driveway, but had no idea what it was, “ Jake explains. “I assumed it must have been a Sixties or Seventies American saloon due to the silhouette, but as it never moved and was always covered up that’s as much as I knew.” In fact, it would take four years before the identity of this mystery machine was revealed! “It was frustrating not knowing, but then one day we had a bad storm, and the cover blew off,” Jake smiles. “There for all to see at last was a ’63 Chevy Bel Air.”Jake immediately told his boss he’d managed to identify the mystery car on his street and shortly after Jordan decided to take a closer look. “There was no one in at the address of the Bel Air, so I posted a business card through the letterbox, “ Jordan recalls. “By then I was pretty keen to make a bid on the car and waited anxiously for a phone call!” Two weeks passed with no sign of a response and Jordan decided to revisit the same address. “I knocked again and as before there was no answer, then just as I was about to leave, a neighbour appeared and asked if he could help,” Jordan continues. “I explained my predicament and was told the owner of the Bel Air lived in London and he was storing the car on his mother’s drive.” As luck would have it, the helpful neighbour happened to possess the phone number of the Bel Air’s owner – maybe he was fed up with car covers landing in his garden?

“Back in my office, I nervously phoned the number I’d been handed and after a lengthy phone call, the owner told me he’d be returning to the area in a few weeks if I wanted to view the car properly,” Jordan explains. “When that day arrived, I knew this was the right car for us, a deal was struck and at last I had the keys.” Just two days later, the ’63 was back in the Ace workshop in Leeds and already Jordan decided new wheels, air ride and a freshen up of the interior was the way to go. “The shell was in good condition despite all those years left standing,” he points out. “The car cover had obviously done its job.”

Super fine 409 1963 Chevrolet Bel Air - engine V8

The metallic sage green paintwork with white roof isn’t the Bel air’s original livery, but as it still looked fresh, Jordan had no plans to change it. “Our first concern was ensuring the 409 V8 was running correctly,” he recalls. “This is a matching numbers car so again we had no intention of slotting in another engine.” A full service, along with a full custom exhaust and headers, had the 6.7-litre Turbofire V8 roaring back to life and with 425bhp on tap, it’s little wonder those brakes are now power assisted with upgraded discs and pads. As we mentioned previously, Jordan was keen to swap out the Bel Air’s standard suspension in favour of an air ride set-up, as a mean stance on an already imposing car such as this is bound to turn heads. “We researched a few possible air ride systems and opted for a kit from EZ, based in California,“ Jordan tells us. “It was fairly straightforward to fit at the rear, but the front end was a little more difficult to do.”

After persevering with the air ride conversion and with eventual success, Jordan began looking at alternatives for new wheels. “We’d removed the 17-inch American racing rims that came with the car as these now looked a bit lost under the arches,” he tells us, “we opted for 18-inch American Torque Thrust 2 wheels in chrome which I reckoned would make all the difference.” These were supplied by North Hants tyres (www. and came with stock allblack tyres. “I really wanted whitewalls, but due to low stock and poor timing, I was unable to get hold of any,” Jordan explains. “I may swap to whitewalls in future though.” For now, the change of wheels and swap to air ride provide the desired stance Jordan was aiming for and the Bel Air creates a real stir when slammed into the weeds, which we should point out is quite often!

Super fine 409 1963 Chevrolet Bel Air

Fortunately, that period interior in matching green complete with bench seat and cool linear speedo came up well after a good clean. “The previous carpet was past saving, so we had to replace that,” Jordan says. “I’ve also fitted subtle extra gauges under the dash too.” There are plans to have the existing exhaust rerouted and maybe a full respray of the bodywork too, but for now Jordan has managed to achieve his goal of owning a real head-turning promotional vehicle for his business. “We’ve had drivers in other lanes slow down and even stop to let this car go by to take a closer look, “he smiles, “it also creates a stir at most shows and meets we attend.”

Sounds like mission accomplished, but Jordan already has plans for a second promotional vehicle based around his favourite car, a 1966 Mustang fastback. “I even know which colour and style it will have, but I’m keeping that to myself for now,” he smiles.

For sure he plans to build, restore and modify many more cars in the years to come, but whether there’ll be any more chance driveway finds like this one, time will tell.

Ace American Autos

When long-time American car enthusiast Jordan Walker had the opportunity to start his own business revolving around the cars he loves, in 2018 Leeds-based Ace American Autos was born. The company was created to follow in the footsteps of well-established sister company Ace Auto Electrics. Specialising in locating, importing and preparing the coolest and most desirable vehicles the team can find, you won’t be surprised to hear a walk around the sizeable showroom and workshop is a jaw-dropping experience in itself. “We import anything from a classic Mustang to a full custom pick-up truck,” Jordan says. “We also carry out full UK light conversions, IVA preparation, MoTs and everything you need to ensure an American car is legal to drive in the UK.”

Alongside this, Ace American Autos can also customise various vehicles with items such as exhaust systems, induction kits and suspension upgrades, including air suspension to mention just a few. Jordan enjoys the many aspects of the company, buying and selling being the most obvious of all. With that comes travel around the UK and American destinations such as Texas and surrounding states, all part of the process of sourcing stock vehicles as well as vehicles for its many clients. Their selection of cars in stock is varied and impressive to say the least! For fans of the later generation pony car, Ace American Autos also supplies anything from hood struts to Superchargers for Mustangs built after 2015. Located close to Leeds city centre and the M621 motorway, Jordan and his team can be contacted on 07732 354215 or visit their website at www.

Hard to believe the Bel Air was abandoned under a tarpaulin… Interior came up well after a good clean. Wheels are 18-inch American Torque Thrust 2s. Central gauge is rev counter. Slammed… but not completely! Two tail-lights only for Bel Airs. Air ride system gauges. Auxiliary gauges. 425bhp 409 V8 motor. 409 with a four-speed manual – now that really is fine!

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