True confessions: I’ve been wanting a ’55 Chevy since…just about forever. I first fell for it on the streets of Innsbruck when a tourist or GI parked theirs in the Altstadt. And that passion grew exponentially after we moved to the US in 1960; it instantly became my favorite non-new car, even before I knew about its reputation and desirability. It was all-too obviously the best all-round American car, and it hadn’t yet gotten fat, low, and lazy.
Like a lot of older guys who lusted after a ’55 Chevy and acted on it, I passed. Why? I didn’t want just another typical ’55 Chevy look-alike. So I commissioned a unique one from CC’er Chris Cieslak, reflecting my vision of what Chevrolet sadly failed to build at the time: a 1955 Model 150 Business Coupe. If Chevy had built it, it would have been the most desirable body style with the go-fast crowd from day one, and become utterly iconic. This would be an all-too familiar sight.
Good thing they didn’t, ’cause now I have the only one in the world. And it means business.
This latest upwelling of desire started after my recent dive into utility sedans and business coupes, and was reminded that Chevrolet built the last one in 1953; what a colossal mistake they made by killing it two years early. Some 13,555 were sold, along with 6,993 Club Coupes, which had rear seats. Presumably that was not enough to warrant building more of them, even though the ’54s were essentially the same body. But if Chevrolet had any inkling of just how massively popular its ’55 was going to be, especially with the go-fast set, they might well have kept the body style for a few more years.
It’s not like I haven’t already shared my passion for the ’55; I had a full-on MM session here a couple of years ago. But I was still a bit uncertain about which body style it would be for that mental exercise if I were to buy one back in 1955 and keep it for years to come. But no longer. It’s my own body style now; the Niedermeyer Business Coupe.
I saw one of these brand new Opel Rekord P2 coupes in Innsbruck just before we left. Maybe that’s where some of the inspiration came from.
My Business Coupe is 100% stock; not a hot rod or retro-mod. I special ordered it with the 195 hp Corvette 265 V8 that featured the first appearance of the legendary Duntov cam. It was primarily intended for the Corvette in ’55, but Chevy was happy enough to oblige. Theses cams were also available over the parts counter for $28 back then. Cheap thrills.
And these are real horsepower, as certified by a Notary Public in Wayne County, MI. It’ll happily spin to 6,000 rpm.
Naturally it’s got the heavy-duty three-speed with overdrive that was teamed with the 4.11 rear axle ratio. That means wicked acceleration, but a mere 2160 rpm at 60 mph in OD. And at 100, it’s still only just purring along at 3600 rpm.
Of course I also ordered the heavy duty suspension, tires and brakes, and…no more. Just the way the ones that were tearing up the NASCAR circuits in 1955. Too bad these guys didn’t have business coupes. It knocks some hundred pounds off the weight of the sedan; my coupe’s curbside weight is a mere 2,945 lbs. It flies.
The Ford Deuce Coupe finally has a worthy successor. It was a long time coming, and I’m rather surprised no one’s built a ’55 Chevy Business Coupe until now.
Thanks, Chris, for realizing my vision so faithfully, and making my dream come true. It’s as good or better than I could have hoped for. I’ve finally got a ’55 Chevy, but the only one of its kind. That alone is worth its weight in pixels.